Types of Currency

The article on Rai Stones over on Sea of Stars for the 2015 A to Z Challenge, got me to thinking about various forms of currency. The aforementioned article, talks about them as involving magic, which is cool.

There are many different types of money:

Commodity money – Something that has a value and is used in trade for other things. It is a “step up” from the barter system.

Fiat money is money that has value because everyone agrees it has value, like most modern currencies, such as the American dollar.

If money is tied to the value of something else, it is representative money. Strangely, this can include both commodity and fiat money.

Types of Currency

  • Paper/cloth – Fiat money if it has a specified value, representative money if it is used in lieu of something else, or commodity money if bundles of paper or cloth are used in exchange.
  • Coins – Originally the coins were a commodity of precious metals, that in the modern world have become mostly base metals and fiat money.
  • Rai Stones – The linked article is on the actual rai stones used in Yap.
  • Beaver and other pelts
  • Salt
  • Tobbacco
  • Gold bars (or bars of other precious metals.)
  • Gold Dust
  • Iron Bars
  • Gems
  • Jewelry
  • Barter/Trade
  • Shells
  • Cows/other herd animals
  • Favors – Back in November, 2014, I wrote about how favors can be used as currency.

Nearly anything can be used as a currency, like this article about some ancient forms of currency.

In areas where coin is in short supply, barter or another commodities will become money. In areas where the wealth of the adventurers inflates prices, other things with a more stable value might rise to the level of money.

What kinds of unique or interesting things have you used or encountered as money/currency/barter in the RPG’s you have played?

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