For many years, the 100 peso was the highest denomination in Argentina. With inflation rising, the situation was becoming unmanageable when the banks and people’s wallets were overloaded with 100 peso bills. By launching a new banknote series – including the 1,000 peso note with RAPID® security thread from Crane Currency – the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) solved a key problem and realized many other benefits such as operational improvements, ease of transactions, cost reduction and higher quality of banknotes in circulation.

Today, the economic situation in Argentina is strengthening and continues in an expansion phase. The growth is widely distributed and accompanied by increases in productivity in most sectors. But for many years, the $ 100 banknote remained the highest denomination in Argentina despite a constant increase in the cost of living. These banknotes represented approximately 70% of the notes in circulation at the end of 2015, and both the BCRA vaults and the commercial treasuries were saturated with these notes. The BCRA was helped with vaults of official banks, but commercial banks had to resort to the use of cash in transit companies to store them. Additionally, the ATMs emptied quickly.

Increasing demand for high denomination banknotes
Like many other countries in the world, Argentina also experiences growth in currency in circulation that exceeds GDP growth. That is reflected in a higher demand for high denomination banknotes.
In 2016, the BCRA Board of Directors decided to create a complete new family of peso-denominated banknotes called “Native Animals of Argentina”, including three new high denominations: $ 200, $ 500 and $ 1,000.

The new banknote family represents the country, its inhabitants, its peculiarities and its land. During the launching ceremony, the BCRA President, Federico Sturzenegger, summarized the objectives:
“The new family of banknotes intends to celebrate the generosity of nature towards Argentina. That generosity forces us to emphasize the importance of preserving and promoting biodiversity. Therefore, with the choice of the fauna and the Argentine regions, the BCRA also seeks a meeting point in which all Argentines can feel represented in their currency.”

Extensive evaluation process for banknote security features
In the process of evaluating the security features for the new banknotes, BCRA took into account information from various sources. Among them, a broad survey answered by a significant number of central banks regarding the materials and security measures used in their banknotes.

A key consideration was to provide better security features to the higher value banknotes, especially the $ 1,000 denomination. These features had to be difficult to counterfeit, easily recognizable by the public and must not suffer significant deterioration with use. For the $ 1,000, $ 500 and $ 200 banknotes, in addition to the features detectable by machine, special characteristics of Level 1 were taken into account given their high value and potential for forgery.

RAPID has the most dynamic effect
The RAPID security thread was chosen as one of the safeguards based on its feature’s special characteristics and customized effects. Among all the evaluated alternatives, the RAPID security thread was one of the security features presenting the most evident dynamic effect and therefore most identifiable by the general public. Crane Currency’s technical and design teams were deeply involved in the development of the new security thread. Crane’s support and suggestions for the final choice of the RAPID characteristics were highly appreciated by BCRA.

Public engagement with native animals
The appearance of native animals on the banknotes helped generate closeness with the public, accustomed to the fact that previously there were only national heroes on the banknotes. The reactions were positive and generated attention. Using banknotes of denominations higher than 100 pesos was also contributing positively to the daily life of people.

Continued discussions after a successful project
The degree of commitment and responsibility of everyone involved in the project were fundamental to the success. Only six months after the original idea in June 2016, the first banknote of the new family was launched – the $ 500 with the image of the Yaguareté. It was followed by the $ 200 Ballena Franca Austral, and in 2017 the $ 20 Guanaco and the $ 1,000, depicting the Homer, the national bird of Argentina.

After an intense project, the creative and technical teams of both the BCRA and the Argentine Mint are very happy with the final products. Some of the new denominations of the “Native Animals of the Argentine Republic” family are yet to be issued to the public. But the discussions are already continuing with banknote paper suppliers about the latest in banknote security features.