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Metamaterials Co. Works To Safeguard Cash From Counterfeiters

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This nanotech company has been awarded US$4.3 million to develop anti-counterfeiting measures on currency for a confidential G10 central bank customer.

Nova Scotia-based nanotech company Meta Materials Inc. (MMAT:NASDAQ; MMAX:CSE; MMAT:FSE) has been awarded US$4.3 million in purchase orders to develop anti-counterfeiting measures for a confidential G10 central bank customer.

It's part of an agreement with the bank for a maximum of US$41.5 million in orders over up to five years. The customer can increase the scope of the award.

The total value of imported fake goods worldwide was about US$509 billion in 2016, or about 3.3% of global trade, according to a 2019 OECD report. META said the security printing market is valued at US$29.8 billion and is growing.

“The proliferation of fraudulent operations around the world and the usage of counterfeit money in industries like banking, gaming, and retail are the main drivers of this market's expansion,” Adroit Market Research said about the counterfeit money detection market that has sprang up to defend against the threat of fake currency. “This market is finding new growth opportunities thanks to the rise of new retail automated devices such as portable point-of-sale terminals. Governments around the world are making an effort to minimize the use of fake cash.”

In addition to the US$4.3 million just announced, the bank had already awarded the company a total of US$9.2 million, US$1 million of it for development services, and about US$1.2 million for creating samples.

Developed first in the 1960s, metamaterials came into their own when design and manufacturing capabilities caught up to the technology in the 2000s.

META is using them to develop nanotechnology products like self-deicing and defogging car and truck headlights and windows, see-through antennas, augmented reality glasses that look like regular glasses, and special eyewear that protects pilots’ eyes from laser strikes.

META is applying futuristic technology to the communications, health and wellness, aerospace, automotive, and clean energy sectors.

The company could not describe the security measures it will use for the bank in detail — for obvious reasons. It doesn’t want the competition to know what they are. And who’s the competition? The counterfeiters, of course.

“Central banks are conservative by nature,” said Rob Stone, META’s vice president for corporate development and communications. “There may be as many as 10 different security features on any given banknote. Some of them are visible, overt features. Some of them are covert and only readable with the right equipment or sensors. It’s this combination of all that banks use to try and make it hard to fake currency.”

The Catalyst


The award is part of an ongoing contract with the bank, which META could not identify for security reasons. But Stone did say it was to work on the currency.

In addition to the US$4.3 million just announced, the bank had already awarded the company a total of US$9.2 million, US$1 million of it for development services, and about US$1.2 million for creating samples.

Meta Materials is a “technology leader,” ROTH Capital Partners analyst Gerry Sweeney wrote in a May research report, when ROTH initiated coverage on the company with a Buy rating and a target of US$2.25.

“We’re doing something that’s never been done before,” Stone said. “When we do secure a production contract, we believe it will very likely lead to additional business with that same central bank and additional business opportunities with other central banks.”

A blog on META’s site describes some of the security measures available through their technology, including images with omnidirectional movement, 3D depth, or holographic security patterns.

Those effects are “the exact visual triggers that millions of years of evolution have optimized human visual receptors to detect and respond to,” the company said. “Our toolkit of innovative nano-optic based visual effects to combat counterfeiting is available to brands and designers that are looking to build . . . extremely secure, custom solutions that (work) well with their brand.”

And it’s not just currency. META also offers the technology for use on documents, smart packaging, and gift cards. The technology can also help prevent loss of life due to counterfeit medication.

Meta Materials Is More Than Money, Document Security


META is also developing components for lithium-ion batteries needed for expanding the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) industry. It was recently granted two U.S. patents for its second-generation NPORE® nanoporous ceramic separator and its third-generation NPORE® ECS (electrode-coated separator) for lithium-ion batteries.

The global market for lithium-ion battery separators was estimated at US$5.1 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach US$9 billion by 2025, Yano Research Institute Ltd. said.

Meta Materials is a “technology leader,” ROTH Capital Partners analyst Gerry Sweeney wrote in a May research report when ROTH initiated coverage on the company with a Buy rating and a target of US$2.25.

“We believe MMAT is a leader in metamaterials, and we anticipate the company to aggressively fund R&D to develop new opportunities, enhance existing products and improve manufacturing procedures to lower production costs,” Sweeney wrote.

The company has 450 active patent documents, of which 288 patents have been granted across all its technologies, Stone said.

Ownership and Share Structure


Major META shareholders include Thomas Gordon Welch, with 6.45% or 23.28 million shares; Lamda Guard Technologies Ltd., with 6.37% or 22.98 million shares; Anne Barber Lambert, with 6.36% or 22.97 million shares; and State Street Global Advisors, with 3.55% or 12.82 million shares, according to Reuters. About 14% of Meta is held institutionally held.

The company has a market cap of $240.28 million with 361 million shares outstanding, 270.6 million of them free-floating. It trades in a 52-week range of US$5.78 and US$0.63.

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1) Steve Sobek wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC. He or members of his household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. He or members of his household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None. His/her company has a financial relationship with the following companies referred to in this article: None.

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