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Types of Money: Fiat, Commodity & Commercial Bank Money

paper currency

example of commodity money also limits money as a unit of account because prices are continually increasing so it is difficult to compare prices that are constantly changing. Because money is standardized into specific values, it can be used to price goods and services, and allows the easy comparison of prices. Because the value of money is determined by general agreement, the condition of the money is irrelevant to its value. When money is offered, only the amount matters, not its condition. Inflation measures the rate at which the average price levels in an economy increase over time.

fiat money fiat

In a money-based economy, I can sell my services as a bassoon player in an orchestra to those who are willing to pay for orchestra concerts with money. Then, I can take the money I earn and pay for a variety of goods and services. In short, each major type of money has some advantages and disadvantages.

Where have you heard of commodity-backed money?

Rather than keeping an inflating, people spend it as fast as possible before it loses value, which, in turn, causes prices to rise even more. However, the problem with representative money is that its acceptance depended on the reputation of the issuer. This is why the people in early America accepted banknotes, because the bank stood ready to redeem their notes in specie, which were gold or silver coins.

As Adam Smith noted, having money gives one the ability to « command » others’ labor, so purchasing power to some extent is power over other people, to the extent that they are willing to trade their labor or goods for money or currency. In 1971, the U.S. stopped offering foreign governments gold in exchange for U.S. currency. Most modern paper currencies are fiat currencies, including the U.S. dollar, the euro, and other major global currencies.


Commodity money is a medium exchange with intrinsic value due to its use for purposes other than money. Examples of this include gold like the one in Figure 1 and silver. There will always be a demand for gold as it can be used in jewelry, making computers, Olympic medals, etc. In contrast to a currency backed by gold, which has inherent value due to the need for gold in jewelry and ornamentation, fiat money can decline in value and can even become worthless.

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For convenience and to avoid these price changes, many governments issue fiat currency. Fiat money is a government-issued currency that is not backed by a physical commodity, such as gold or silver, but rather by the government that issued it. The value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between supply and demand and the stability of the issuing government, rather than the worth of a commodity backing it as is the case for commodity money. Commodity-based money, on BNB the other hand, is a kind of money that is tied to a tangible item that has some intrinsic value. Some historical examples of commodities on which money is based include precious metals such as gold, silver and copper, or foodstuffs for trading, such as tea, cocoa beans, tobacco and salt – or even large stones. Fiat money is money that does not have intrinsic value and does not represent an asset in a vault somewhere.

Indeed, Bitcoin is the perfect scam, the perfect penny stock, the perfect pump-and-dump scheme. Bitcoin was not created as a scam, but the fact that its price depends on demand for Bitcoin and only on that demand, means that the price will only rise if people invested in Bitcoin can convince others that it has value. No regulatory authorities are currently restricting this type of activity, and indeed, it would be difficult to prevent. The only purpose for buying Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency is simply to sell it later, hopefully for a higher price. Such regulation of the economy is completely impossible if the money supply cannot be regulated. This is why the United States and every other country of the world has left the gold standard and why cryptocurrencies will never be a major currency for any major economy.

Hence, many of these hold their store of value as United States dollars, mostly in the form of 100-dollar bills. Finally, if inflation is too high, then people stop using it as a medium of exchange, and start using barter or the currency of another country or maybe even a cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. Although commodity money is usable in some form other than as money, it also must satisfy the other characteristics of money.

Debasement means that money, typically metal coins, is devalued because there is less precious metal in the coin than the value stamped on its face. Governments may debase coins by adding copper, tin, or other less valuable alloys to coins as they are minted, while still saying they are worth (e.g., $1 in exchange). M1 – This category of money includes all physical denominations of coins and currency; demand deposits, which are checking accounts and NOW accounts; and travelers’ checks. This category of money is the narrowest of the three, and is essentially the money used to buy things and make payments (see the « active money » section below). This meant that it was now possible to create more paper money than there was gold to back it; the health of the U.S. economy backed the dollar’s value.

fiat money fiat

Since payment by commodity generally provides a useful good, commodity money is similar to barter, but is distinguishable from it in having a single recognized unit of exchange. Radford described the establishment of commodity money in P.O.W camps. Commodity Backed Money is where the quantity of money is backed with a commodity, which it can be traded in with at request.

Representative Money

Paper currency is convenient because it weighs little and much larger denominations can be printed that weigh no more than single units of currency. For instance, in 1715, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia issued tobacco notes which could be converted to a specified amount of tobacco on demand, but were much easier to carry and to make large payments. Inflation refers to the tendency for prices to rise in an economy over time, making the money in hand less valuable as it requires more dollars to buy DOGE the same amount of goods. This reduction in purchasing power is seen as a monetarist cause of inflation. While other theories and causes of inflation exist, the idea that changes to the money supply influence price levels has bearing on commodity vs. fiat monies. AssetsLiabilities+ $1000 deposit + $1000 checkable deposits – $900 excess reserves+ $900 loan + $900 deposit + $900 checkable deposits All in all, $1900 is traveling around in circulation, having started with only $1000 in fiat money.


Real estate has traditionally been a good store of value since it tends to increase in value over time. Shoes are not a particularly good store of value, because they wear out as you wear them, and even if you don’t, styles change over time making what used to be a stylish pair of shoes, nothing special and thus worth less today. Money doesn’t have to be a perfect store of value to be acceptable. In an economy with inflation, money loses some buying power each year, but it remains money.

What are three examples of commodity money?

Gold coins, tobacco, and soybeans can all be used as commodity money. They are all characterized as having intrinsic value, which is found in their utility beyond means of exchange.

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