TECH

New Pound Coin's iSIS Security System Explained (Partially)

It's all to do with iSIS (not that one).

01/11/2016 16:09 | Updated 02 November 2016

The new £1 coin is not only a pretty little (not everyone agrees, see below) thing but it’s also incredibly hi-tech.

Three years and £2 million in the the making, it uses technology already used in banknotes that allow its authenticity to be established incredibly quickly with a simple scan.

At the heart of the new design is the catchily titled Integrated Secure Identification Systems (iSIS, not that one), embedded into the heart of the coin.

Royal int Archive
The new pound coin.

For obvious reasons the full details of iSIS are unavailable as are the exact make-up of the materials used to make it.

In May 2015, a survey by the Royal Mint found that one in 40 (2.55%) of all pound coins were actually fake.

The coin’s 12-sided shape is its first line of defence as to replicate this is much harder that a simple circle.

Additionally, the Royal Mint, who developed the coin, use a process called aRMour full-plate technology in their production process.

This process applies a single layer that is electroplated directly onto a steel core which results in a very strong bond between the plated material and the steel core.

What the coin’s makers will tell us is the myriad of benefits the system can achieve...

  • It will reduce costs by replacing expensive clad and homogeneous coins with a more affordable full-plated option.
  • It will generate lifetime cost savings through unmatched durability, lasting up to 30 times longer than an equivalent value banknote.
  • It will have considerably lower replacement frequency than other plated coin types.
  • Both robust and secure, its issuance protects the reputation of a country, projecting a positive image of the nation and its economy.

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