The $100 bill – also known as the Benjamin or the C-note – now enjoys a higher circulation than even the $1 bill, the CNBC reports.

Per Federal Reserve data there are now over 12 billion $100 bills in circulation around the globe.

Value of $100 bills in circulation | Source: Federal Reserve

According to Torsten Slok, the chief international economist at Deutsche Bank, this number has doubled in the last decade. Slok believes that the demand for the C-note could be driven by demand in the underground economy. Additionally, the demand could be occasioned by its utility as a savings vehicle and a haven from negative interest rates:

It could be driven by a global fear of negative interest rates in Europe and Japan, or it could be a savings vehicle for U.S. households worried about another financial crisis, or it could be driven by more demand from the global underground economy.

The Elephant in the Room – Cash not Crypto

There are currently no figures on exactly the amount of cryptocurrencies being used in the underground economy. But it doesn’t take a genius to see that cash poses a bigger danger. With regards to the $100 bill alone, the value that is currently in circulation is more than $1.2 trillion. While that is just one denomination note of the U.S. dollar, one among the 180 currencies spread across the globe, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies is just slightly over $130 billion.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that 2 to 5% of the global GDP is laundered yearly. Roughly, this amounts to between $800 billion to $2 trillion of the global GDP.

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