There’s plastic, bitcoins and a host of other currencies that people use these days. The evolution of currency, however, shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it has been going on for ages. Buying and selling may have started through barter, but when people started putting value on things, a clearer and more accurate currency is needed.
In 1,300 BCE, cowry shells were used to pay just about anything in most parts of Africa, Ocean and Asia. The practice was also adopted in some areas in Europe.
In 1,000 BCE, metal coins were used in China, during the Zhou Dynasty. But it wasn’t until 687 BCE that the coins were minted.
In 806 CE, the first known paper banknotes were issued, as mandated by the Emperor Hien Tsung. This is following a shortage of copper, which was the predominant metal used to make coins. But Europe won’t know about the banknotes until 1275, when Marco Polo traveled to the Far East.
In 1816, gold became England’s official standard value. Minted £1 gold coin was called the “sovereign”. 63 years later the United States followed suit, but promptly abandoned the gold standard in 1933.
The years between 1860 and 2009 saw the rise of credit cards, e-money and digital currency. This also paved the way for a better and more improved banking system. It was in 1967 when the world’s first ATM was launched in England, which revolutionized the way people withdraw money. This was later followed by mobile banking and now, the highly controversial bitcoin system. It was launched in 2009, with the first transaction made a year after. Money makes the world go round. While some would disagree, you have to admit it did change the way the world do business. Can you imagine what you’re your financial life would be like if everyone was stuck with bartering?