Currency [Currency] what? From bartering to cryptocurrencies

What is currency?

Currency is a means of exchanging goods and services. Exists in the form of banknotes or coins. Usually issued by the government and functioning as a means of payment.coins and banknotes

In the modern world, money is now the main means of exchange. It is accepted at face value.

As everyone knows, a new form of currency is virtual currency and Bitcoin is an example. No physical entities and government support. It is stored in electronic form.

Historical development of currencies


You can refer to the following history through Infographic:

History of currency formation and development
Infographic History of Currency (Currency)

In the commodity economy, development can be summarized through the form of currency exchange from time to time: First currency exchange system, Exchange shells and the birth of coins, The birth of paper money. Details you follow the item below dentist.

The first currency exchange system in history

Taking place around 9,000 BC. The direct exchange system is not effective. Restricting people from development throughout thousands of years of history.

The exchange is very simple: For example, you have rice, your rice and your neighbors have cows. Then there are times when you want to eat beef, and your neighbor wants to eat rice. You will then get 4 or 5 bags of your rice in exchange for a cow from a neighbor.

First commodity exchange system

This system encounters a problem related to the nature of the currency that we will discuss in the next section. So it needs something that mediates, can convert the value of goods.

Exchange shells until the birth of coins

Taking place about 1200 BC. Goods gradually become more diverse with many items such as weapons, food, ...

From here the intermediary system of exchange between goods is formed. Europeans traveled around the world to exchange handicrafts and furs in exchange for silk and perfume.

They use all kinds of things that can be exchanged for goods such as: shells, nuts, etc. However, these items are also not durable. Moreover there is no store value or not easy to transport.

Snails used to make money have more than 150 types. Each region has its own type. In Vietnam, for example, the trace of the first original coin found was also the shell. Like many other places in Asia, snails used to make money in Vietnam are also Cypraea species.

Exchange shells

The birth of coins

The first official currency was minted by King Alyattes of Lydia, in present-day Turkey. Over the next several years, the coin evolved and changed into a more rounded, nicer design.

Lydia's currency has helped the country grow both internal and foreign trade. Make it one of the richest empires in Asia Minor.

The popularity of coins is widespread. Gold and silver were the most popular forms of currency during that time. Although money is also minted by some other metals, it cannot be compared with gold and silver.

Precious metals like gold and silver had a standard that set them apart from other metals. That standard is extended to this day.

Paper money was born

For coins made from precious metals like gold and silver. The circulation will occur problem. At the same time, growth and supply are limited by the availability of these metals.

Moreover, they take up a lot of space and space, making storage and carrying inconvenient. This was a major problem and was solved until paper money appeared.

In China the first issue of banknotes. And it was recognized as a currency in the 10th century. However, its early forms, dating back to ancient times in many parts of the world.

In 1290, Marco Polo, a Venetian-born businessman and explorer, was the first European to come to China on the Silk Road that brought paper money back to Europe.

The first European banknote issued by Palmstruch Bank, Sweden in 1666:

The first banknote in Europe

In 1694 the British Government gave the legal printing rights to the private Bank of England owned by William Paterson. And Bank of England became the first central bank in the world.

In the United States, the US Federal Reserve has the same rights after its inception in 1913. Governments are authorized and represent the printing of money legally. They are partly supported by gold or silver and theoretically. Can be converted into gold or silver anywhere

By the early 20th century, most countries had adopted this gold standard. And support their legal tender with a fixed amount of gold.

Central banks issue banknotes guaranteed by the amount of gold they have in the treasury, because people are increasingly in need of banknotes. So banks started to issue more banknotes so they could lend and circulate at the same time.

Needle position mode (Gold Standard System)

This is a monetary system that took place from 1871 to 1971. In which paper money can be freely converted into a fixed amount of gold. In such a monetary system, gold is a support, guaranteeing the value of money.

The international gold standard appeared in 1871 after being adopted by Germany, and by 1900, developed countries were associated with the gold standard.

In the US, the $ 20 coin is backed by $ 20 gold, with 100% of the reserves equivalent. This note is a legal gold certificate with the treasury.

You can use this money anywhere, give the treasurer they will give you the corresponding amount of gold or silver.

gold money

This time gold is at the peak. Governments worked very well to make the system work, but the First World War in 1914 changed the gold standard forever.

Bretton Woods system

Also known as political ideology. At the time of the war the countries were in debt. The financial ability was seriously affected and worse.

Countries began to advance to the gold exchange standard. In which the money is guaranteed by a part of gold, no longer 100%.

The introduction of the system

As in the US, allowing printing of $ 50 notes is exchanged and circulated corresponding to $ 20 gold. That is reduced to 40% of the gold.

Institutional gold team exchange rate

If you had $ 20 now you could print a $ 50 bill instead of the $ 20 bill it used to.

During the two American wars, the country benefited the most. Because of not taking part in the fighting plus selling weapons, the actual amount for all factions. The war brought America into a golden age.

By the end of World War II, the United States owned two-thirds of the world's gold. The United States lent to Europe in dollars. This helped Europe rebuild everything after the war.

In 1944, World War II was about to end. Western powers met in (New Hamshire, USA) to come to an agreement for the new monetary system. The Bretton Woods system was born.

Bretton Woods is born
1944 bretton woods conference in the USA

How it works Bretton Woods

Bretton Woods simply understands that all currencies in the world will be supported by the US dollar, and the US dollar is backed by gold at $ 35 per ounce of gold (ounce is the unit of measurement. mass). This is understandable because the United States owns two-thirds of the gold worldwide.

How Bretton woods works

Bretton Woods has given security for all currencies. Helping the monetary system to be stable as they are valued together through the dollar through gold.

Under that system, central banks of countries other than the United States have a duty to maintain a fixed exchange rate between their currencies and the dollar.

Bretton Woods collapses

The United States printed money without any gold reserve ratio being set. When the US government suffered a serious budget deficit because of printing and spending too much money on the war.

In 1965, the dollar fell into crisis. At that time, the 18th President of France, Charles de Gaulle, realized the problem. America doesn't have enough gold to guarantee dollar printing.

At this time, France intended to withdraw its dollar assets to get gold. Other countries have also noticed and jumped in. This caused the US to lose 50% of its gold from 1959 to 1971.

At the same time, the amount of dollars returned to the United States is 12 times the amount of gold they have. The United Kingdom also requested to exchange $ 750 million for gold in the summer of 1971.

In this situation, in August 1971. US President Nixon announced on television to abolish the gold standard from the dollar. Finally, the United States removed the fixed value of the Dollar.

The dollar was soon devalued. World leaders sought to restore the Bretton Woods system but this attempt failed. The system collapsed from here.

Legal tender (Fiat)

Since August 1971, all other currencies of every country in the world have become Fiat Money. This is because every monetary value link with gold has been removed.

The fact that all countries' currencies are based on the dollar will lead to the risk of losing value due to inflation or even becoming worthless in the case of inflation.

Therefore, the predestination is guaranteed by Faith. If people lose faith in a nation's currency, that money will no longer hold its value.

Mobile payment and electronic money

The 21st century has created two breakthrough forms of currency: mobile payment and virtual money.

Mobile payment

Mobile payment is money paid for a product or service through a handheld electronic device such as a smartphone or tablet.

Mobile payment technology can also be used to send money to friends or family members. Increasingly, services like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are competing for retailers to accept their platform for payment at the point of sale.

mobile payment


Cryptocurrencies (also known as cryptocurrencies). It is a currency with no physical entity.

The most prominent is Bitcoin, released in 2009 by the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Unlike the government issued currency. It is not issued by any government or organization.

Virtual money completely decentralized. This is also the reason why many people think this is the future currency will replace the legal currency.

Overview of properties and monetary value


The function of currency with present and future time is immeasurable. Let's list some properties:

  • Circulate: This is the most important nature of money. People must be willing to accept money in circulation. Otherwise it would not be considered money anymore.
  • Recognizable: To be accepted easily, the currency must be easily identifiable. Banknotes issued by the central bank are printed. It does not look like any other high quality paper.
  • Can be broken down: Currency must have different denominations so that the seller receives the correct amount of sales. And buyers who pay in a large denomination must receive payment.
  • Forever: Currency must be durable in order to perform its function of store value as well as be useful in exchange.
  • Easy to transport: For human convenience in storing, carrying. Currency must be easy to transport. That's why banknotes and coins are sized.
  • Rare: Currency must be scarce because if it can be easily earned. Then it will no longer matter in store value and is no longer accepted in circulation. That has always been proven throughout history
  • Homogeneous: Currency must have the same value. If so, the currency will function as a unit of calculation.

Monetary value

  • Money is valuable not because it is self-generated, but based on the amount of service.
  • To promote the intrinsic value of the legal currency. The government often forces people to trade and pay taxes in local currencies. Thereby criminally handle those who do not comply. The intrinsic value of money is primarily in the strength of the military and law enforcement.

Currencies in circulation

There are currently 180 official currencies in the world. It belongs to 193 countries that are members of the United Nations. Two UN observer states. Nine practically independent territories and 33 overseas territories.

Some countries have multiple currencies simultaneously. Inside there is an official currency and some currencies are pegged and recognized. Some might include: VND (Vietnam Dong), USD (USD), EUR (Euro), ...

Some concepts related to money

  • National currency: A national currency issued by a central bank or monetary authority that we use to exchange goods and services.
  • Paper money: The physical or monetary notes of a country in use.
  • Monetary reserve: For example, bank, treasury, maybe through metals like gold, silver, ...
  • Monetary union: Example European Union (EU). The EUR (Euro) is used by 19 member countries.
  • ...


The formation process looks like the process of human evolution haha. Everyone read together to accumulate yourself an additional knowledge offline. Thanks and wish for success.

About My name is Nguyen Manh Cuong. I was born in a poor village in Ba Vi district, HA NOI province - windy and sunny land. Currently. Mr Cuong.
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