What Is Fiat Money? Definition And Examples

A broader measure of the money supply than M1 that includes M1 and other deposits. In order to maintain its value, money must have a limited supply. While the supply of cows is fairly limited, if they were used as money, you can bet ranchers would do their best to increase the supply of cows, which would decrease their value. The supply, and therefore the value, of 20-dollar bills—and money in general—are regulated by the Federal Reserve so that the money retains its value over time. First, one objection to fiat money is the lack of intrinsic value, and opponents of fiat money often claim that a system using fiat money is inherently fragile because fiat money doesn’t have a non-money value. The use of money as a medium of exchange has removed the major difficulty of double coincidence of wants in the barter system. It separates the act of sale and purchase of goods and services and helps both parties in obtaining maximum satisfaction and profits independently.

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.

What Is Money?

Even though most people could use cash, most people choose to use credit cards and bank transfers because they are convenient, and they work well. If not useful as money, what causes demand for Bitcoins or for other cryptocurrencies? People in countries with unstable governments or distrusted governments may also turn to cryptocurrency, since it is better than using a hyperinflated currency issued by a corrupt government. Another source of demand comes from people hearing about the cryptocurrency and who want a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that: to try it. Although most of these people purchase only a small fraction of a Bitcoin, the demand created by many people around the world trying out Bitcoin may lead to a big demand overall, causing its price to increase. Most of the U.S. currency circulating today is in the form of Federal Reserve notes with the green Treasury seal. Commodity money can also be perishable items such as farm animals or crop, and in these cases, their value can change because of weather, soil conditions and other factors.

a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that:

With the fiat money, people can buy and sell goods and services without any exchange of goods and services, as it was happened in barter system. When the State declares what kind of asset it accepts in payment of taxes, it assumes a liability equal to the outstanding stock of those assets. At the same time, the declaration creates financial claims on the State by the holders of the assets. The tokens may have a material value as in precious metal coins, or may simply be paper certificates with no intrinsic value. The former is referred to as commodity money, and the latter as fiat money.

Dutch Bank Finance, 1600

In this lesson, you’ll learn about how money can store value, as well as learn of other commodities that act as stores of value as well. In this lesson, you’ll learn about commodity money and related concepts. You’ll also have a chance to reinforce your knowledge with a short quiz after the lesson. Legal tender describes any official medium of payment recognized by law that can be used to extinguish a public or private debt or meet a financial obligation. In 1971, the U.S. stopped offering foreign governments gold in exchange for U.S. currency. Fiat money is backed only by the faith of the government and its ability to levy taxes. Since it does not have an intrinsic value per se, it can be more prone to this kind of inflation as more can be printed at will. Commodity money, however, retains value based on the metal or other material content it has. Fiat money is therefore more at risk of inflation because its value is not intrinsic.

a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that:

This will cause people to hoard the money as it increases in value, which will severely damage the economy. One of the reasons why there is more United States currency outside of the United States than within is because many people in certain countries do not trust their governments. They are afraid that their government will print too much money as an easy way to solve fiscal problems, which would reduce the value of the native currency held by the people. This happened in Argentina in the 1980’s and in Russia in the 1990’s. Hence, many of these people 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. To maintain value, the supply of Bitcoins is limited to 21 million. This is why Bitcoin continuously varies widely against government-issued currencies, such as the United States dollar. For this reason, Bitcoin, or any other type of money with a strictly limited supply, will not be useful as money.

What Is The Difference Between Commodity Money And Fiat Money? 2 What Are The Three Functions Of…

Third, two centuries of disequilibrium in global markets for silver and gold must be seen as co-equal causes of bimetallic flows, rather than as reactions to nonprecious-metals flows. Just as silks, ceramics and other Chinese exports were attracted to profitable markets worldwide, so too precious metals were attracted to favorable global markets. Fourth, there is no evidence to suggest that long-distance trade was unbalanced, in the sense that capital account imbalances were required to offset trade imbalances. Trade was balanced during the time period discussed in this chapter; the kinds of global debt-based capital flows that exist today did not exist during centuries discussed in this chapter. In short, the canonical ‘real’ versus ‘monetary’ dichotomy is inapplicable to a world of commodity monies, namely throughout millennia of human history . National current account deficits/surpluses do exist today, of course, since current account deficits/surpluses today are financed through capital account surpluses/deficits (international borrowing/lending). Net imports into one nation can be positive when financed by borrowing from abroad, but again these recent circumstances do not correspond to most of global history over the past 440 years. Almost all major economies have central banks that regulate the supply of money. A central bank can increase or decrease the money supply according to the needs of the economy.

a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that:

They placed ridges around the edge of each coin to indicate that none of the gold had been shaved off. This allowed trade to occur more freely, as everyone understood the value of the currency. Once upon a time, money was an IOU that could be collected at a later date. For example, a farmer might trade a dozen eggs today for 10 ears of corn at harvest. Fiat money are Items that are used as a medium of exchange but does a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that: not have its own intrinsic value. A central repository for questions about economic theory, research, and policy. Therefore, the mackerel money in the Federal Prison system would qualify as commodity money. When you buy something with fiat currency, you need to rely on a trustworthy authority such as the European Central Bank or governmental institution to serve as an intermediary that vouches for the currency’s worth.

The Theory Of Money And Credit

After the gold standard collapsed, paper money was no longer supported by any commodity. Thus, fiat money has no intrinsic value because the paper to make it is worth much less than the nominal stated on the banknote. We consider it valuable because the government guarantees it as legal tender. So, everyone is willing to accept and use it in economic transactions. Extraordinary profits existed in the former case, while normal profits prevailed in the latter. There is no evidence to suggest that credit played a more prominent role in determining end-market locations for coins than credit played in determining end-market locations for other products. First, precious metals flowed throughout global markets – via all oceans/seas, as well as the landmasses connected to them – so casting the issue in Europe-Asia terms is inappropriate. Second, silver flowed overwhelmingly into specific Chinese markets, not into abstract ‘Asia,’ and Japanese silver cannot be excluded from the conversation.

What is a difference between fiat and commodity money?

Commodity money has some intrinsic value due to the content of precious metal it is made up of or backed by, but debasement or increases in precious metal supply can cause inflation. Fiat money is backed only by the faith of the government and its ability to levy taxes.

Despite the long list of limitations, the barter system has some advantages. It can replace money as the method of exchange in times of monetary crisis, such as when a the currency is either unstable (e.g. hyperinflation or deflationary spiral) or simply unavailable for conducting commerce. It can also be useful when there is little information about the credit worthiness of trade partners or when there is a lack of trust. That is to say, farmers would produce large quantitates of tobacco, but the population would consume in equal size. Nevertheless, there was a fundamental issue in the fact that the supply would eventually outstrip the demand; meaning there was a large supply of tobacco and/or salt. That means it has value in and of itself, with people trading it freely in the knowledge that someone will accept it. Adding to this, there is greater opportunity for bubbles with fiat currency – an economic cycle in which there is a rapid increase in price before an equally rapid decline in price. China has a long history with paper money, beginning in the 7th century. During the 11th century, the government established a monopoly on its issuance, and about the end of the 12th century, convertibility was suspended.

Case In Point: Fiat

The use of such money became widespread during the subsequent Yuan and Ming dynasties. U.S. President Richard Nixon introduced a law that canceled, the direct convertibility of the U.S. dollar into gold. Currently, most nations use paper-based fiat currencies that only serve as a mode of payment. However, unlike the proponents of Bitcoin and Gold, I believe in the value of receiving cash flows as an investor.

It was first introduced as a convenient form of money so that people could carry paper backed by the government instead of carrying around gold or silver. However, with the passage of time, governments are less willing to back up their fiat money with gold or other forms of commodities, and it has lost its original value. Fiat money is intrinsically useless and so it cannot be redeemed for any other commodity. It is only valued as money because governments decreed that it has value for that purpose. Fiat Money is introduced by China, and after that the concept of fiat money was adopted by other countries. The fiat money is an alternative of commodity money and used as representative money. Commodity money is generated from precious metals includes silver and gold and fiat money, include US dollar, euro, pound, and yen and so on, issued by their respective government of the countries. The government has authority to issue the fiat money and make them legal by giving value.


If people were to begin accepting basketballs as payment for most goods and services, basketballs would be money. We will learn in this chapter that changes in the way people use money have created new types of money and changed the way money is measured in recent decades. Distinguish between commodity money and fiat money, giving examples of each. Both fiat money and commodity money can be used to make payments, but of the two fiat money is much more popular and widely used in the modern economy. Commodity money is quite risky to use, as it may face unexpected appreciation or depreciation. For example, country A’s currency is made of a precious metal silver, and the demand for silver in the world market falls, then the currency of currency A would experience an unexpected depreciation. Whenever a bank gives out a loan in a fractional-reserve banking system, a new sum of money is created, which makes up the non-M0 components in the M1 -M3 statistics. M1 captures the most liquid components of the money supply, including currency held by the public and checkable deposits in banks. Part of the trust in commodity money also comes from its rarity, or at least how people perceive its rarity. Commodities such as gold are naturally rare, and it is because of this rareness that makes it more valuable and increases its intrinsic value.

a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that:

While fiat money seems to get a major part of its value from debt, this is not the case with Bitcoin. Bitcoin has intrinsic value beyond the trust of its community. Bitcoin doesn’t lean on a system of debts, its value boils down to how effective it is as a medium of exchange. Commodity money gets its value from its own worth, like with precious metals (e.g. gold and silver), salt, or even shells.


For fiat currencies to be successful, the nations must control both counterfeiting and management of monetary supply. Fiat currencies rose to prominence in the early 20th century as governments sought to insulate our economies from the booms and busts of the economic cycles. By allowing the central banks to control the printing of money, it allowed countries to avoid society crushing depressions like the ones experienced in the early 1920s, or so the theory believes. Eventually, many governments no longer backed fiat currency, and the money increasingly took on a value based on public confidence. As of 1933, U.S. citizens could no longer exchange currency with the U.S. government for gold. Backing a fiat currency with a commodity provides more stability and encourages confidence in the financial system. Anyone could take backed fiat currency to the issuing government and exchange it for a certain amount of the commodity. 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.

However, that would require a central authority who can control the supply of stablecoins while standing ready to exchange the stablecoins for a fiat currency. The problem with this proposed solution is that stablecoins do not have fiat value, so they have no real value; few people accept it as a means of payment. All Bitcoins are stored in the blockchain, the distributed ledger that records all Bitcoin transactions. Users of Bitcoins have private and public cryptographic keys that allow them to transfer their Bitcoins to others. Passwords are used to store the keys securely on various devices.

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