Currency bill tracking
Currency bill tracking is the process (usually facilitated by any one of a number of websites set up for the purpose) of tracking the movements of banknotes, similar to how ornithologists track migrations of birds by ringing them. Currency bill tracking sites can track currency among the users of that website. A user may register a bill by entering its serial number, and if someone else has already registered the bill, then the "route" of the bill can be displayed.
Some bill tracking sites encourage marking before spending, whereas others do not. This usually depends on the laws of the country issuing the currency.
Originally beginning in the United States in the mid-1990s, the phenomenon or hobby of currency tracking quickly spread first to Canada and then beyond. Especially with the Euro bill tracking, trackers have taken on a much more competitive nature and have formed communities within their respective sites. Many successful sites incorporate some sort of social media, either through site specific unique techniques, or through outside popular social media sites. In the Eurozone because multiple countries having adopted the Euro, this easily leads to competition between trackers in different countries; in the United States competition plays out at the state or county level; and in Canada, at the provincial level.
Canada, once a thriving bill tracking country, has been hit hard by the introduction of cotton bills and later polymer bills, making currency tracking through marking bills nearly impossible. This trend is causing growing concern throughout currency tracking sites around the world, already having decimated New Zealand and Vietnam. In Australia, the country with the longest exposure to polymer, attempts were made in 2006 to form The Money Tracker which tracks Australian Dollars without marking of any kind. If successful, it could be huge breakthrough to the polymer problem, meaning adjustment could be made to existing tracking sites to allow the tracking of polymer banknotes. If a breakthrough is not made, it could mean the collapse of currency tracking as a result of the polymer problem.
Marking bills in Canada with ink or rubber stamp is legal. In the United States, marking is illegal if there is intent to render the bill "unfit to be re-issued"; however, this is rarely enforced and only a fine is faced, if convicted. Marking is widespread in both countries. In the Eurozone marking is not universal, and varies by region. The European Central Bank considers the marking of bills (as well as the destruction of them) to be legal and not exclusive to governments.
Popular currency bill tracking websites
Some of the most popular websites for bill tracking include the following:
United States and Canada
- Where's George?, started in December 1998, was the first site to start a currency bill tracking project and remains the most popular of the sites, with the number of bills entered reaching 223,659,535. This is a total of $1,204,046,174 as of May 24, 2013. The site was created by Hank Eskin to track US Dollars and has led to the creation of many other bill tracking sites.
- Where's Willy? for CAD (Canada). Despite the website starting up two years after Canadian Money Tracker, it is the most popular of the Canadian currency tracking sites.
- EuroBillTracker was started on January 1, 2002 to track euro banknotes. It is the largest of the euro tracking sites.
- EuroTracer, the second-largest euro-tracking site, also studies the systems of serial numbers and printer codes of euro banknotes and the distribution of euro coins with their different national faces.
- myEurobill, tracking euro banknotes using Google maps interface. Developed with Ruby on Rails.
- Find Lizzy? and DoshTracker track banknotes of the Bank of England.
- Where's NT? for New Taiwan Dollar - http://wheresnt.com/
- SEK-Tracker tracks Swedish kronor since 2004
- Moja-Lova tracking Croatian kunas using Google maps interface. Developed with Google Web Toolkit and PHP.
- The Money Tracker started in 2006 for tracking Australian Dollars, and uniquely tracks banknotes using an interactive map of Australia
- Where's my Moola is a tracking site for the South African rand.
- Currency Path (www.currencypath.com) – Track all international currency notes
In popular culture
The act of tracking a $20 bill was the binding theme between various stories in the film Twenty Bucks.
A similar scheme to currency bill tracking – and said to be inspired by it – is BookCrossing, which tracks the movement of secondhand books which are marked and then "released into the wild".
- The Where's George Website
- The Where's Willy Website
- trackdollar.com. "trackdollar.com". trackdollar.com. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- "eurobilltracker.com". eurobilltracker.com. 2002-01-01. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- "eurotracer.net". eurotracer.net. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- "Aftonbladet it: nätguiden". .aftonbladet.se. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- "penzkoveto.hu". penzkoveto.hu. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- "moja-lova.com". moja-lova.com. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- ontabenito.com, Rastreo de Billetes Mexicanos Por Internet
- "cupura.ru". cupura.ru. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- "currencypath.com". currencypath.com. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- Where's George? – Tracking US dollar bills
- Where's Willy? – Tracking Canadian dollar bills
- Currency Path – Tracking all currency bills
- EuroBillTracker – Tracking Euro bills
- Find Lizzy and Where's Lizzy? – Tracking British bank notes.
- Where's My Moola - Tracking South African rand notes
- Cupura – Tracking Russian rubles