The Evolution of Currency

Nov 1, 2004·James Turk

Until the formation of the Bank of England in 1694, money and currency were one and the same. Money was a tangible asset and this asset itself circulated as currency.

Money most often took the form of gold or silver coins, though history shows that many assets have from time to time served as money. But regardless of what 'thing' served as money, each shared one characteristic; they were all a tangible asset. Consequently, money had value in transactions because the asset being used to represent it was perceived to possess some inherent usefulness and was therefore valuable. What is more is that it was this tangible asset that circulated as currency. In other words, though money often took different forms, with coins of precious metals being the most common, the asset serving as money passed current from hand-to hand.

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