The Different Types of Money in an Economy

supply and demand

Commercial bank money refers to money in an economy that is created through debts issued by commercial banks. Banks take client deposits and then loan a portion to other clients. Examples of fiduciary money include instruments such as checks, banknotes, and drafts. They are a type of money as holders of fiduciary money can convert them into fiat or other types of money. Fiduciary money is a type of money that gets its value from both parties accepting it as a medium of exchange in a transaction. Whether fiduciary money is worth anything is decided by the anticipation that it will be widely recognized as a future means of trade.

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This fiat currency depreciated so rapidly that by 1776 it was returned to a silver standard. Fiat money also has other beginnings in 17th-century Europe, having been introduced by the Bank of Amsterdam in 1683. The Song Dynasty in China was the first to issue paper money, jiaozi, about the 10th century CE. Although the notes were valued at a certain exchange rate for gold, silver, or silk, conversion was never allowed in practice. The notes were initially to be redeemed after three years’ service, to be replaced by new notes for a 3% service charge, but, as more of them were printed without notes being retired, inflation became evident.

Treatment in economics

It is a mistake to deal with economic problems according to legal criteria. The juristic phraseology, like the results of juristic research into monetary problems, must be regarded by economics as one of the objects of its investigations. It is not the task of economics to criticize it, although it is entitled to exploit it for its own purposes. There is nothing to be said against using juristic technical terms in economic argument where this leads to no undesirable consequences. But for its own special purposes, economics must construct its own special terminology. We can define Commodity money as a physical good that consumers universally use to trade for other goods.


Furthermore, gold is durable, which adds even more value to it. It is hard for gold to lose its function or decay with time. 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. You also have M0, which is the monetary base in an economy, which covers the entire currency that is either at the hands of the public or in bank reserves. The Federal Reserve uses monetary aggregates to measure the money supply in the economy.

Fiat Money Explained

Their aim was to help improve the efficiency of trading between countries. It was a useful store of value, it was durable, and it was widely accepted between nations. Later, in 550 B.C., under the order of King Croesus of Lydia, it went into full circulation. A single authority or organization does not control cryptocurrencies, giving users control over their financial transactions and making the system more resistant to censorship and interference. He can put a few coins aside each season to save for his barn. He might even be able to borrow some gold coins to build his barn today and pay the lender back with a bit of interest.

However, allowing the government to print new money creates another problem, inflation tax. Suppose you are holding one dollar, and one dollar can buy you an apple. If the government is printing out one more dollar, the total dollar supply in the market becomes two, and now you can only buy half an apple. Issuing new currency is considered a tax on holders of existing currency. However, not every country that joined the gold standard enjoyed it. The benefits were often less noticeable than the costs, particularly in times of deflation or in recessions.

Accordingly, the value of fiat money is greater than the value of its metal or paper content. Gold or other metals are sometimes used in a price system as a durable, easily warehoused store of value . While trust vested in fiat currencies is ensured through the money supply issued by a central authority, the trust vested in cryptocurrencies is founded on the underlying technology -blockchain technology.

In economic terms, commodity money has what is known as an ‘intrinsic value’. Therefore, anything that has an alternate use could be considered a commodity form of money. It is far more convenient to use gold coins that are much lighter and easier to carry. The commodities that have historically taken off are all easy to trade and convenient. During this period, Lydian merchants produced a gold coin mixed with silver; otherwise known as electrum.

Fiat Currency and Inflation

We can see, touch, and feel commodity money – it is physical. That means it has value in and of itself, with people trading it freely in the knowledge that someone will accept it. In a barter system, people negotiate directly with each other to determine the value of the goods or services they are trading. For example, if a fruit farmer has too much produce, he may offer to exchange it for a carpenter’s help to build a new barn.

Example of fiat money includes the Indian rupee, US dollars, British pound, etc. Lower inflation – because commodity money is based on a physical product, i.e., gold, it is less prone to inflation from the devaluation of the money. Gold is fairly finite money, and the government cannot create more whenever they want to, thus lessening inflation. Throughout history, there remain many examples of a devaluation of money due to hyperinflation, such as Germany in the 1930s, Zimbabwe in 2016, and Argentina more recently.

Learn to trade

John then uses the $900 to purchase an iPhone from another customer, Betty. Furthermore, if individuals lose confidence in a country’s currency, the money will no longer have any purchasing power. You can think of commodity money as a good that can be used as money.


People’s perceived value of an item in terms of other goods for which they are ready to exchange should remain roughly constant or increase over time. A good whose value fluctuates dramatically over time or continually loses value is less acceptable. The physical characteristics of the good should be durable enough to be reused several times and retain their usefulness in future exchanges. A perishable item or one that degrades rapidly after being used in exchanges will be less usable in future transactions.

  • In monetary economics, fiat money is an intrinsically valueless object or record that is accepted widely as a means of payment.
  • It is important to know how the concept of commodity money came into existence and also about the usage of commodity money in ancient and medieval times.
  • Plus, there’s no store of value—the farmer’s wealth is locked into his fruit, which will quickly rot.
  • Commodity money is created from precious metals such as gold and silver, while representative money represents a claim on a commodity that can be redeemed.

Commodity money’s value, on the other hand, is based on the material it was manufactured with, such as gold or silver. Fiat money, therefore, does not have intrinsic value, while commodity money often does. Changes in public confidence in a government issuing fiat money may be enough to make the fiat currency worthless. Centralization gives governments and central banks total control over monetary policy. If monetary policy is ineffective or misguided, there can be significant economic damage, including inflation that destroys the value of citizens’ savings. Fiat money is an alternative to commodity money, which is a currency that has intrinsic value because it contains, for example, a precious metal such as gold or silver which is embedded in the coin.

  • Jacques de Meulles, the Intendant of Finance, conceived an ingenious ad hoc solution – the temporary issuance of paper money to pay the soldiers, in the form of playing cards.
  • Please ensure you understand how this product works and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing money.
  • The U.S. based its monetary system on the gold standard until the 1970s; some say that was the beginning of the end.
  • It is a form of synchronized economic downfall encountered by the various interrelated economies throughout the world.
  • Fiat money is a widely accepted and easy-to-carry form of currency.

difference between fiat and commodity money currency, also known as fiat money, is the opposite of commodity money. The difference between fiat money and commodity money relates to their intrinsic value. Historically, commodity money has an intrinsic value that is derived from the materials it is made of, such as gold and silver coins.

She teaches at Harvard and serves as a subject-matter expert for media outlets including Reuters, BBC, and Slate. Vertical integration is where two businesses at different stages of the supply chain join together. Even though traders may not accept it; the population was left reassured that it had alternate uses. The creation of units of measurements such as ounces and pounds paved the way for such. As a result, we are able to purchase different goods at different prices. If we cannot measure money, we cannot measure how much we are willing to pay.

What are 5 commodities?

  • WTI Crude Oil.
  • Natural Gas. Natural Gas is an energy commodity used as fuel across the world.
  • Gold. Gold is primarily used in monetary exchange and as an investment vehicle.
  • Silver. Silver is another metal with higher electrical and thermal conductivity, higher than copper even.

Centralization refers to the fact that a central authority, such as a government or central bank, has the sole power to issue and regulate the supply of currency. This central authority is responsible for setting monetary policy and deciding how much currency to produce and distribute via the financial system. With no inherent worth, the value of the fiat money systemis obtained from the supply and demand relationship. Furthermore, it substitutes commodity money and representative money .


Nevertheless, the amount is used to fund wars, monopoly banksters, and government parasites. He also firmly mentioned how fiat currency helps broaden the economic divide. What makes something money is really found in its acceptability, not in whether or not it has intrinsic value or whether or not a government has declared it as such. For example, fiat money tends to be accepted so long as too much of it is not printed too quickly. When that happens, as it did in Russia in the 1990s, people tend to look for other items to serve as money. In the case of Russia, the U.S. dollar became a popular form of money, even though the Russian government still declared the ruble to be its fiat money.

And we know that things like gold, silver, copper, etc are extracted from the earth, and after polishing it to a finished XLM product it is sold in the market. But, here comes the major limitation of commodity money and that is they are not easily accepted or accessible everywhere. There are some specific places where we can find commodity money for selling and purchasing.

IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. Find out more about forex difference between fiat and commodity money, including what currency pairs are. Which of the following are money in the United States today and which are not? Please note that the availability of the products and services on the App is subject to jurisdictional limitations.

What is fiat money?

Fiat money is a medium of exchange that is only backed by the government. Its value is derived from its official recognition as a medium of exchange from government legislation.

Governments and central banks controlled the reserve but could not manufacture new reserves at will. Fiat currencies, in contrast, are wholly under the control of governments and central banks, which can make as much new money as they see fit. The gold standard, used by the U.S., Britain, and many other countries until the early 20th century, was a commodity-backed currency system. The U.S. dollar and the pound sterling could be exchanged for gold held by Fort Knox and the Bank of England. Economists thought the gold standard was the best way to manage a currency because it prevented governments from attempting excessive economic intervention. They could not, for example, print money on a whim and thereby cause excess inflation.






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