The History of Currency From Bartering To The Credit Card, Part 2

806 AD: The Appearance of Paper Currency

A by-product of Chinese block printing was paper currency. It began as “flying cash” during the Tang Dynasty. These “flying cash” were actually money certificates made because of the inconvenience of shipping cash to distant areas. Since it was made of paper, it had a tendency to blow away. These certificates had different amounts of monet that could be converted into hard cash. They were mostly exchanged among merchants.

However, the “flying cash” was not official. The real paper currency was introduced several years later during the Song Dynasty. It was used in Szechuan by a group of rich financiers and merchants. The advantage of paper money was that it was easier to carry around and precious metals like iron and copper could be save for use in making essential objects.

1500s: Gift Giving through Potlach

The term “potlatch” means gift giving. It was a popular Chinook Indian custom for wealthy Native Americans. Not only gifts were exchanged but also feasts and other public rituals. Exchanging gifts were very important that some tribal leaders outdo each other with giving one lavish gift after another. There were also instances that potlach were used as an initiation to a secret society.

1535: Wampum Beads as Adopted Money

Wampum is a string of beads made from clam shells. It is an Indian word meaning white. Native Americans used it to call a council, speak at a council, elect or depose a chief and other important ceremonies. However, wampum was soon adopted as money when Europeans came to trade.

1816: The Gold Standard Money Era

England made gold as their standard of value in 1816. There were guidelines that permitted non-inflationary production of standard banknotes that represented a certain amount of gold. The countries of Australia, Canada, France, Germany and US soon followed suit in linking their currencies to gold. Inflation rates at that time were 0.1 percent. The Gold Standard Act that was enacted on 1900 in the US made it possible to establish a central bank.

1930: End of the Gold Standard

Gold standard began to fall downwards because of the Great Depression. Treasury notes replaced gold sovereigns and even the British government had to suspend convertibility to fund military operations. Gold mining companies were also not pleased with the situation as they suffered from the low price. In the US, there was a revision of the gold standard and its price was devalued. Soon after that, international gold standards ended.

Money at Present Time

Nowadays, credit cards made it possible to buy things without the use of cash. It is very convenient for online transactions. Also, the physical appearance of coins and bills are changing. An example of it is the new $100 US bill that features noted inventor Benjamin Franklin.

The Future of Money

With the advent of new technology, almost anything can be possible. New technologies are often introduced worldwide which has made life easier. Some future concepts may be digital cash in the form of bits and bytes or even though mobile phones. There can even be human chips embedded in the body where one can scan and pay. The human mind is very creative and in no time, there will be another kind of money that citizens will look out for.

History of Currency, Part 1

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