Satellite hologram feature on the high denomination euro banknotes

Product owners: European Central Bank with the company Sectago as R&D partner

Description of new feature or product

The Satellite hologram is placed at the top of the hologram stripe on the new €100 and €200 banknotes. When the banknote is tilted, a unique dynamic effect of € symbols moving elliptically around the number 100 or 200 becomes visible. Such effect, visible to the naked eye, is particularly striking under a direct source of light.

Issuer and Denominations

European Central Bank, €100 and €200 banknotes of the Europa series.

Date of Issue or Release

Start of circulation for both denominations was on 28 May 2019.

Countr(ies) where implemented

The euro area (i.e. the monetary union of 19 EU member states which have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency).


The Satellite hologram is the outcome of a research project between the ECB and the small sized enterprise Sectago. Sectago brought the initial idea and the ECB provided its knowledge of the feature requirements and access to test-centres for industrial trials.
Also, the feature was tested by the Eurosystem’s Counterfeit Resilience Test Team (CRTT), together with a number of other candidate features for the high denominations of the Europa series banknotes. Imitations of different features at varying levels of deception were produced, including replications by dot-matrix. The counterfeits were then applied to test banknotes and submitted to the public for discriminability testing between genuine and counterfeit notes. The satellite hologram clearly ranked best.
While the Satellite hologram requires specific origination techniques and know-how, it was produced on normal foiI manufacturing equipment. This shows that new and substantially improved features do not necessarily require new production technologies.

Improved security

The effect of euro symbols circling around the number when the note is tilted can hardly be counterfeited by casual or semi-professional means. Also professional dot-matrix imitations using conventional hard- and software were unable to recreate the same effect. Only specific know-how and the use of custom made software tools to recreate the effect resulted in counterfeits which bore a significant resemblance to the original effect, but could still be discriminated by the public to a high degree.

Feedback from Stakeholders, Including the General Public

The feature was extensively tested by the Eurosystem’s Counterfeit Resilience Test Team (CRTT) and tested by more than 200 participants in the different perception trials. While the feature performed outstandingly well as the public was easily able to discriminate between genuine and counterfeit notes, participants also authenticated the satellite hologram feature more quickly than other features.
The participants were also asked to rank the feature for the criteria ease of use, attractiveness and speed of authentication and the satellite hologram outperformed its competitors in all of the proposed aspects.

Awards | Technical Awards 2020


Best New Currency Feature or Product