A few hours ago the European Union unveiled it’s new €50 banknote which will come in circulation in a few days, including throughout the Maltese islands.

The new 50 euro banknote has been dubbed as ‘Super-Secure’ due to the advanced counterfeiting technology, such as a secret window on the note’s left hand side which, when held against the light, reveals a portrait depicting Europa, the Greek mythology figure.

The new bill’s technology has other new features such as some items which, when held against ultraviolet light, disappear, which are much more difficult to imitate and therefore allows shop owners to put their mind at rest that the cash being handled is actually authentic.

The 50 euro banknote accounts for 45% of all euro notes circulation. According to the European Central Bank there are more 50 euro notes than any other note in circulation.

338 million people across 19 countries in the euro zone use the euro as their main currency.

The European Central Bank has in the meantime announced that the 500 euro note will not be produced anymore mostly due to the fact that it has been associated with money laundering and terrorism financing.

The euro 500 note, in the past, made it far easier for anyone to move huge amounts of cash around without the hassle of having lots of bank notes and therefore presented a security risk for illicit trading.

Banknotes of the euro, the currency of the Eurozone, have been in circulation since the first series was issued in 2002. They are issued by the national central banks of the Eurosystem or the European Central Bank. In 1999 the euro was introduced virtually, and in 2002 notes and coins began to circulate. The euro rapidly took over from the former national currencies and slowly expanded around the European Union.

Denominations of the notes range from €5 to €500 and, unlike euro coins, the design is identical across the whole of the Eurozone, although they are issued and printed in various member states. The euro banknotes are pure cotton fibre, which improves their durability as well as giving the banknotes a distinctive feel. They measure from 120 by 62 millimetres to 160 by 82 millimetres and have a variety of colour schemes. The euro notes contain many complex security features such as watermarks, invisible ink, holograms and microprinting that document their authenticity. While euro coins have a national side indicating the country of issue (although not necessarily of minting), euro notes lack this. Instead, this information is shown by the first character of each note’s serial number.

According to European Central Bank estimates, in August 2016, there were approximately 19,417,000,000 banknotes in circulation around the Eurozone, worth approximately €1.1 trillion.