example of commodity money solves the problem by acting as a common denominator, an accounting method that simplifies thinking about trade-offs. To understand the usefulness of money, we must consider what the world would be like without money. Economies without money typically use the barter system.Barter—literally trading one good or service for another—is highly inefficient for conducting transactions.

We saw in the chapter that introduced the concept of inflation that inflation reduces the value of money. In periods of rapid inflation, people may not want to rely on money as a store of value, and they may turn to commodities such as land or gold instead. The question is, what will replace fiat money when that collapse occurs? Much of the current policy development in the United States and other western countries appears to be focused on the introduction of a Central Bank Digital Currency . The stable supply of gold means that it cannot be expanded fast enough to keep up with new growth in the economy. The implication is that we would have to accept ongoing deflation and that this would suppress economic growth rates.

The Functions of Money

By contrast, we also have monies such as salt and tobacco, which relies on its consumption and creation. Fiat Money is where the quantity of money that can be printed is unlimited, as it is not attached to a fairly fixed commodity. Despite being legal tender, the country need not hold it’s worth in commodity. One additional function of money is that it must serve as a standard of deferred payment. This means that if money is usable today to make purchases, it must also be acceptable for contracts signed today that will be paid in the future.

  • CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.
  • The need to collect taxes requires that the government know people’s income and spending; otherwise, governments cannot survive.
  • Law-abiding citizens use checks or electronic transfers for large payments, while organized crime and terrorist networks use cash.
  • The best known form is gold or silver coins, though any commodity can fulfill this role.
  • For example, if it was possible to produce bows in 1.5 hours instead of 2, the price of bows would drop to 15 clamshells .

People would use them to trade with each other as they were commonly used goods. Even if nobody would accept it, the owner could use it for their purposes. So if someone went to market with a pound of tobacco and nobody would accept it, they would be able to smoke it instead. 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.

What is commodity-backed money?

Usually, United States currency is adopted because it is considered one of the safest currencies in the world, and because many United States immigrants send U.S. currency to their relatives abroad. Most recently, in 2000, Ecuador and El Salvador adopted dollarization as a policy. However, Bitcoin can hedge against the inflation of a currency issued by a corrupt government, such as Russia.


Another way for the central bank to increase the money supply is to buy government fixed-income securities in the market. When the central bank buys these government securities, it puts money into the marketplace, and effectively into the hands of the public. As strange as it sounds, the central bank simply creates the money and transfers it to those selling the securities.

On this page I will focus on the earliest evolution of money from the barter system to various types of commodities that have been used ADA as money. I’ll also ponder some of the frailties of our current monetary system and the possible return to a representative money if the ravages of inflation and debasement irreparably undermine our confidence in fiat money. The value of fiat money is determined by supply and demand, and it was created as a substitute for commodity money and representational money in the early 20th century.

Is Bitcoin a commodity money?

In 2015, the U.S. Commodities Trading Future Commission (CFTC) defined bitcoin and other virtual currencies as commodities under the U.S. Commodity Exchange Act.

Due to the difficulty of finding new veins of gold, however, changes in the price level were often prolonged. Anyone, who clearly understands the disadvantages of Bitcoin as a unit of money and that it would eliminate a powerful monetary tool for regulating the economy, will realize that, at some point, it will begin to die! Many people are probably borrowing money by mortgaging their homes or taking cash advances on their credit cards to bet on this speculative bubble.

Types of money and monetary aggregates

But how much those 105 Bitcoins will be worth 1 year from now is anybody’s guess. People cannot use it with confidence, without knowing what its value will be one year from now, one month from now, one week from now, or even tomorrow. Businesses need to calculate the present and future value of money to plan projects, yet without a stable value, present value and future value can never be calculated. There is simply no way to predict what the future value will be. It’s intrinsic value will always be 0; cryptocurrencies do not even have fiat value, so they cannot be used to pay for government liabilities, like taxes. Representative money is paper currency that can be exchanged for a fixed amount of a valuable commodity, usually gold or silver.


To facilitate these example of commodity moneys, people settle on something that will serve as a medium of exchange—they select something to be money. Without repeating myself I think that it should be clear to the reader that the major western economies are, in the first half of 2022, in deep trouble. The idea is rooted in the fact that we only ever experience deflation, across the entire economy, at times when consumer spending collapses for one reason or another. The lack of spending during these periods is bad for business as it implies unsold goods, which leads to reductions in production and increased unemployment due to redundancies. That in turn leads to even less money being spent and a downward spiral of economic output reminiscent of what occurred during the Great Depression.

One Response to Fiat and Commodity Backed Money

Commercial bank money helps create liquidity and funds in an economy. Another important concept to know is that fiat currency is legal tender. Being a legal tender means that it BNB is recognized by law to be used as a payment method.

What are the 7 commodities?

Estimating the Role of Seven Commodities in Agriculture-Linked Deforestation: Oil Palm, Soy, Cattle, Wood Fiber, Cocoa, Coffee, and Rubber.

Gold is universally accepted by most cultures as a means of payment because it is relatively scarce, and new supplies are difficult to find and mine. Being the most malleable and ductile of metals, it can also be easily cut into different sizes to correspond to specific values. Hence, it can be kept for a long time and still retain its value. Commodity money has intrinsic value but risks large price fluctuations based on changing commodity prices. If silver coins are used, for instance, a large discovery of silver may cause the value of the silver currency to plunge, resulting in inflation.

Volatility will be increased not only because of its limited supply, but because cryptocurrencies do not have fiat value, so they must be converted back to fiat currency to be spent, which will further exacerbate its volatility. Although some businesses, like Tesla, are advertising they will accept Bitcoin as payment, few businesses would be able to withstand the extreme risk of a sharp decline in prices, so paying in Bitcoin will always be extremely limited. Because fiat money is not linked to physical reserves, such as a national stockpile of gold or silver, it risks losing value due to inflation or even becoming worthless in the event ofhyperinflation. If people lose faith in a nation’s currency, the money will no longer hold value.

measures of money

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