Types of Money: Fiat, Commodity & Commercial Bank Money

Crypto News   January 06, 2023


In contrast, the value of representative money depends on the value of the asset that it is backed by. Perfect examples of commodity money include a struck coin made of gold, a bushel of corn, and a pack of cigarettes in prison. Money is a type of asset in an economy that is used to buy goods and services from other people. A commodity is a physical item that is readily interchangeable with another item of the same type. Intrinsic value means that the commodity has value even if it is not used as money. In times of economic turmoil, such as severe economic depressions or hyperinflation, people sometimes turn to commodity money instead of the money authorized by their governments.

  • Any type of commodity is able to fulfill the role of commodity money.
  • As a result, we are able to purchase different goods at different prices.
  • Additionally, transacting in gold comes with logistical problems.
  • In order to appreciate the conveniences that money brings to an economy, think about life without it.
  • In this situation, both sugar and coffee are commodities that have intrinsic values of their own and when exchanged for each other play the role of money.

Commodity money is a medium of exchange with intrinsic value due to its use for purposes other than money. 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.

Commodity Money Definition

Unless everyone agrees to https://www.beaxy.com/ the commodity as payment, that commodity will not survive as money in the system, which makes the study of modern fiat money interesting. Since the US dollar (the world’s reserve currency) is not backed by gold anymore, it essentially has no intrinsic value, which calls for a different approach to be taken when studying money as a commodity that holds value. The question has to be examined as to why people attribute value to modern fiat money while it holds no value in itself. Considering a variety of economic theories, the answer to this lies in the system as a whole.

However, the virus has brought to the surface these deeper issues and will remain a source of economic anxiety in its own right until decisive medical measures are available. Fiat money is issued and maintained by the government, whereas commodity money acquires its value from the material it is made of or its usefulness to the holder. Commodity money requires no recognition or approval from the government. The value of commodities used in commodity money remains constant.

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Consider a $20 bill that you accidentally left in a coat pocket a year ago. Value has, in effect, been “stored” in that little piece of paper. We can understand the significance of a medium of exchange by considering its absence. There are two types of monetary aggregates used by the Fed, M1 and M2 monetary aggregates. Furthermore, if individuals lose confidence in a country’s currency, the money will no longer have any purchasing power.


Money is an asset that people use to purchase goods and services. Together with goods and services, it is the backbone of trade. The concept of money speaks to the significant evolution of economic exchange. Prior to the inception of money, bartering was the prime means of exchange. It is defined by the exchange of one good or service for another good or service. Fundamentally, this captured the true value of the trade NEAR since a jar of milk could be considered equal to a dozen eggs.

In India, for example fiat Rupees disappeared from the market after 2007 when their content of stainless steel became larger than the fiat or face value of the coins. In the US, the metal in pennies (97.5% zinc since 1982, 95% copper in 1982 and before) and nickels (75% copper, 25% nickel) has a value close to, and sometimes exceeding, the fiat face value of the coin. Commodity money is money whose value comes from a commodity of which it is made. The introduction of fractional reserve banking, in which banks lend out many times their money reserves, reduces both the inconvenience and the stability of commodity money. Combined with fiat money, it tends to create a financial system based largely on mutual confidence and prone to sudden, catastrophic collapses.

comodity money money has been used throughout history and is even used today in certain circumstances. Even though traders may not accept it; the population was left reassured that it had alternate uses. As seen in Figure 3, as the demand for a commodity shifts in the quantity decreases to q’.

A Unit of Account

Commodity money was in use for thousands of years, in times when the barter system still prevailed before any other form of money or currency came into circulation. Goods perceived to be of equal value were exchanged between the buyer and seller. For example, a pound of sugar was exchanged for an amount of coffee. In this situation, both sugar and coffee are commodities that have intrinsic values of their own and when exchanged for each other play the role of money. Commodity money is comprised of physical goods that are used as money because they have intrinsic value, which means that commodity money is useful or valuable to the holder.

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He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Currency itself is perfectly liquid; you can always change two $5 bills for a $10 bill. Checkable deposits are almost perfectly liquid; you can easily cash a check or visit an ATM. It can be converted to money only by selling it, a time-consuming and costly process. Furs and agricultural commodities such as maize were employed in trade transactions throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries.

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. If there was only a $50 note in circulation; it makes it incredibly difficult to buy something at $1.

In times of economic turmoil, more people would rather accept commodity money instead of government-issued money. Commercial bank money refers to money in an economy that is created through debt issued by commercial banks. Banks take client deposits into savings accounts and then loan a portion to other clients.


After all, if gold is more stable, its very lack of extrinsic value guarantors means it’s a much better target for theft. Cash a stolen check and the system will catch up with you; hack a bank account or rob a bank and note numbers and digital forensics give law enforcement a chance. The benefits of fiat and commodity monies, as well as of intermediate forms, can be seen by examining history. When more money is required, there is none to be had, since the principal benefit of commodity money is its scarcity and stability. After the second world war, this began to break down and was replaced by the Bretton Woods Agreement, which substituted the US dollar for gold worldwide.

All three have their pros and cons, yet the arguments about commodities being safe and trusted keep them alive despite their critics colorfully referring to them as barbaric relics of ancient history. Representative money is a certificate or token that can be exchanged for the underlying commodity. For example, instead of carrying the gold commodity money with you, the gold might have been kept in a bank vault and you might carry a paper certificate that represents-or was “backed”-by the gold in the vault. It was understood that the certificate could be redeemed for gold at any time. Also, the certificate was easier and safer to carry than the actual gold.

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.

Banks take client deposits and then loan a portion to other clients. Examples of fiat money include any currency that only the government backs and is not linked to any real tangible asset. Examples include all the major currencies that are in circulation today such as the US dollar, the Euro, and the Canadian Dollar. The difference between fiat money and representative money is that fiat money’s value depends on its demand and supply.


Commodities often come into being in situations where other forms of money are not available or not trusted, and these are social norms. Various commodities were used in pre-Revolutionary America including wampum , maize , iron nails, beaver pelts, and tobacco. One sign that we have stumbled a step closer to it will be sharp declines in the value of money, especially in previously highly-reliable currencies such as the Euro and dollar. We can expect to see this partly as confidence in these currencies falls in the wake of stimulus packages designed to pump money into the economy. Fiat money and Commodity money are in complete contrast with each other.

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However, nothing prevents such arrangements from being made if both parties agree on a value for the . Fiat money is money that does not have intrinsic value and does not represent an asset in a vault somewhere. Its value comes from being declared “legal tender”-an acceptable form of payment-by the government of the issuing country. In this case, we accept the value of the money because the government says it has value and other people value it enough to accept it as payment.

What are three examples of commodity money?

Gold coins, tobacco, and soybeans can all be used as commodity money. They are all characterized as having intrinsic value, which is found in their utility beyond means of exchange.

Coins are usually circulated at a face value that is greater than the costs of the underlying metal materials. There are some cases, as with runaway inflation, where coins can have greater metal value than face value. This is especially the case with coins made mostly or entirely from gold or silver. When this is a persistent problem, governments often attack the problem by taking that currency unit out of circulation. Individuals may also debase gold or silver coins by clipping the edges or filing off shavings from coins, melting those small amounts down, and selling them.