Difference Between Commodity Money And Fiat Money

The monetary system kept evolving over the years and new forms of money were introduced from time to time, but in a broader perspective, this system can be divided into two major categories. One is fiat money, which is also known as forced paper money, debt money, irredeemable paper money or managed money. The other category is commodity money, which is also known as metallic money, full-bodied money, precious metal money or hard money. But fiat money has no intrinsic value, government and central bank are the authorities that give value to Fiat money. The value of fiat currency is based on public faith in the government or central bank who establish the fiat currency as legal tender or money representative. Fiat money is the currency issued by the government of a country. It is the national currency, which is backed by the government that issued it.

a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that:

Perishability – commodity monies can devalue over time, such as oil, barley, or olive oil. They have a shelf life, and once they extend past that shelf life, they devalue. Fiat money has no shelf life, other than the degrading of the real money as it is used through the system. The number one advantage of commodity money is the ability to serve more than one purpose. For example, gold can become jewelry, and is used as wiring in computers. The rise of fiat currencies over the last fifty years is also tied to the creation of more credit in our system, but not historically so, which I find interesting. And the list could go on and on, think back to when you were a kid, and you used to swap toys, books, games, or baseball cards. All of that was a form of commodity money because you placed a value on that item and used it to trade with your friends. Debasement refers to lowering the value of a currency, particularly of one based on a precious metal, by adding metal of inferior value. Monetarist theory suggests that inflation is alternatively the reduction in the purchasing power of a unit of currency in an economy.

Which Of The Following Best Explains The Difference Between Commodity Money And Fiat Money? A …

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 a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that: 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.

The Royal Canadian Mint still issues Playing Card Money in commemoration of its history, but now in 92.5% silver form with gold plate on the edge. It therefore has an intrinsic value which considerably exceeds its fiat value. The Bank of Canada and Canadian economists often use this early form of paper currency to illustrate the true nature of money for Canadians. The succeeding Yuan Dynasty was the first dynasty of China to use paper currency as the predominant circulating medium. The founder of the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan, issued paper money known as Jiaochao during his reign. The original notes during the Yuan Dynasty were restricted in area and duration as in the Song Dynasty. Because fiat money doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, investors are forced to deal with depreciating fiat currencies and their inflationary effects on monetary value. Value Tied to Government – one of the cons of fiat money is that the money will only have value for as long as the people believe and accept that it has value. It is only backed by the full faith of the government, not a physical asset. Gold, for example, has an intrinsic value that almost everyone on the face of the Earth recognizes.

Electronic Money

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 act of buying and selling money using other types of money?

In general, there are three primary ways that governments can raise money: Taxation–they legally require their citizens to hand it to them under the threat of coercion. Borrowing–they request an amount of money and issue bonds to those who give it to them, promising to repay the money with some amount of interest.

What makes something money is really found in its acceptability, not in whether or not it has intrinsic value or whether or not a government has declared it as such. For example, fiat money tends to be accepted so long as too much of it is not printed too quickly. When that happens, as it did in Russia in the 1990s, people tend to look for other items to serve as money. In the case of Russia, the U.S. dollar became a popular form of money, even though the Russian government still declared the ruble to be its fiat money. 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.

Treatment In Economics

In an application of Gresham’s Law – bad money drives out good – people hoarded gold and silver, and used paper money instead. The costs of the Seven Years’ War resulted in rapid inflation in New France. After the British conquest in 1760, the paper money became almost worthless, but business did not end because gold and silver that had been hoarded came back into circulation. By the Treaty of Paris , the French government agreed to convert the outstanding card money into debentures, but with the French government essentially bankrupt, these bonds were defaulted and by 1771 they were worthless.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the flaws in our current fiat monetary system by forcing the Federal Reserve to open its piggy bank and pour out all the money it can to keep the country and economy afloat. Fiat money is the monetary system of today, but it is not set in stone. Any sort of changes in the value of the faith in our monetary system could send us back to commodity money, or the rise of a different currency such as Bitcoin. Fiat money gives central banks more control over the amount and frequency of credit that is extended, because of the control it allows the banks to “print” more money.

Are Cryptocurrencies And Fiat Money The Same?

For instance, a $100 bill in American currency weighs no more than a $1 bill. In 1980, the Fed decided that changes in the ways people were managing their money made M1 useless for policy choices. It has largely given up tracking a particular measure of the money supply. The choice of what to measure as money remains the subject of continuing research and considerable debate. As financial assets other than checkable deposits have become more liquid, economists have had to develop broader measures of money that would correspond to economic activity.

Which does the level of volatility in a market measure?

“Buy low, sell high” is the mantra of the stock market. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is arbitrage, the act of buying and selling goods simultaneously in different markets to gain an immediate profit.

Inflation measures the rate at which the average price levels in an economy increase over time. By how much, in theory, can the entire system potentially increase the money supply? In a FRBS, by how much can a SINGLE bank increase the money supply? On the other side, cryptocurrencies have digital presence only and act as a medium of trade and not regulated by any government. It is a virtual currency used for trade without any interference of government. History says that all fiat currencies fall, returning to their intrinsic value of zero. President Nixon had to untie the US dollar from gold to prevent the international financial system, along with the US economy, from collapsing. When experiencing economic and political instability, a country may see the confidence in its currency weaken. For example, when hyperinflation is high, people will no longer trust the domestic currency. For example, when a company issues debt securities with a principal of $1,000 and a tenor of 5 years.

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.

a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that:

It is useful for dealing with those aspects of the monetary system that are of importance from the legal point of view; but for purposes of economic investigation it is practically valueless. It is a mistake to deal with economic problems according to legal criteria. The juristic phraseology, like the results of juristic research into monetary problems, must be regarded by economics as one of the objects of its investigations. It is not the task of economics to criticize it, although it is entitled to exploit it for its own purposes. There is nothing to be said against using juristic technical terms in economic argument where this leads to no undesirable consequences. But for its own special purposes, economics must construct its own special terminology. When a central bank issues banknotes, it is simultaneously issuing you, the consumer, a percentage of your government’s debt.


Governments control fiat money supply and issue policies from time to time that affects their value. In 1900, the US officially adopted the gold standard, which required that all printed money be redeemable for a specific amount of gold. That meant that the amount of trade that could occur in the US was limited by the amount of gold owned by the government. The Great Depression led people to hoard gold, making it difficult for the government to acquire enough to implement monetary policy . By 1933, most developed countries had decided that the amount of gold in a vault was a silly limitation on the economy. If the economy needed more money to allow transactions to occur, the government could simply print it. The gold standard was abandoned, and fiat money became the new normal. Fiat currency, also known as fiat money, is the opposite of commodity money. The difference between fiat money and commodity money relates to their intrinsic value.

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. Commodity money refers to currency that has been created out of a metal or substance that is of value, and therefore carries a value from what it is made out of. Fiat money can be used for any payment within the country or region in which it is used. Fiat money is also very flexible and can be used in the payment of a variety of amounts, large and small. For example, a gold coin is much more valuable than a mere $1 bill since the gold itself as a commodity carries a higher value, as opposed to a $1bill which is worth $1 because of the value that is printed on its face . Well, it seems “udderly” clear at this point that—based on the characteristics of money—U.S. Cows come in many sizes and shapes and each has a different value; cows are not a very uniform form of money. Twenty-dollar bills are all the same size and shape and value; they are very uniform.


This results again in coins in circulation that contain less precious metal than indicated. Under a fiat monetary system, the governments are in a position to attain monopoly over money and by using their monopolistic control over money; they can inflate until the money is completely worthless. With commodity money, the value of commodity money is determined by the production of commodities. Fiat money is a paper money and it represents nothing but a promise or an obligation. Under a fiat monetary system, final payment a difference between commodity money and fiat money is that: never occurs because a transaction is executed with a promise, a representation, or an obligation that something else is owed. It is not tangible and does not have any defined unit of measure. Unfortunately, the complaints against State fiat money can be imprecise at times, leading libertarians to form a faulty understanding of how money works. Neither does the State have the power to force its citizens to use something as money. The fiat currency system lets central banks print money out of thin air as they see fit.

The manufacturing of new physical money is usually the responsibility of the national bank, or sometimes, the government’s treasury. During the American Civil War, the Federal Government issued United States Notes, a form of paper fiat currency known popularly as ‘greenbacks’. Their issue was limited by Congress at slightly more than $340 million. During the 1870s, withdrawal of the notes from circulation was opposed by the United States Greenback Party. As the finances of the French government deteriorated because of European wars, it reduced its financial assistance to its colonies, so the colonial authorities in Canada relied more and more on card money. By 1757, the government had discontinued all payments in coin and payments were made in paper instead.


The best example of money that illustrates its properties is gold. 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. Because money is standardized into specific values, it can be used to price goods and services, and allows the easy comparison of prices. Because the value of money is determined by general agreement, the condition of the money is irrelevant to its value. When money is offered, only the amount matters, not its condition. Money that some authority, generally a government, has ordered to be accepted as a medium of exchange.

  • Some cryptocurrency enthusiasts argue that crypto-transactions will be cheaper.
  • The Bank of Stockholm in Sweden issued the first regular paper money in the West in 1661.
  • 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.
  • In 1980, the Fed decided that changes in the ways people were managing their money made M1 useless for policy choices.

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 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.

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