Who Invented Money?

Who Invented Money?

Since the history of money extends to thousands of years into world history we can never really tell who invented money. By tracing the origin and history of trade we can deduce how money came into use according to the form we are familiar with today. When we say money, most of us would either think of coins or paper money. However, delving into its origins, we will see that money wasn’t always made of paper or metal.

Defining Money

When people talk about who invented money and its use they are basically talking about what essentially is a token. Money is actually an abstraction of a thing’s value. Paper currency is the most common form of physical money we all know. However, this wasn’t always the case essentially in the earlier centuries when money was already in existence.

Origin and Emergence

Money wasn’t always made of paper or coins, which is what is common today. During the earliest days of its use, money was usually a commodity or what we otherwise would call commodity money. People used to barter goods one for another carrying them around or transporting them on ships. The Phoenicians were known to take their commodities on ships making it easy to transport them and take back whatever goods they got in exchange.

Scale economies were also developed as time went on. For example, the Sumer civilization based their economy on a scale system using commodity money. However, neither the Sumer civilization nor the Phoenicians can be said to be the ones who invented money. Other system of weights included the use of the shekel which has reference to a particular mass of barley. This can be correlated to system that is metric using copper, bronze, and silver.


Gold and other precious metals weren’t always the materials used to manufacture money. The emergence of proto-money can be traced to 100,000 years back. Other materials were used in places where metal working was virtually unheard of. Such societies had to use things like ivory jewelry and shells that were scarce and easily transportable. A certain characteristic these types of money had was that they were hard to counterfeit. We can trace the history of money here but never the one who invented money.

Metals were only used as some form of money where they were available. These have been more favored in stead of salt, cattle, or even shells. Metal is observably portable, more durable, and a lot easily divisible. Coinage has been known to have been used in Greece as early as the sixth century. This gives us an idea as to who invented money in the form of coins

Representative Money and Onwards

The system then evolved from commodity and proto-money into representative money. Banks issue receipts that are good as the goods that can were deposited. These were traded eventually being a precursor of our paper money today. Nowadays money has further evolved as credits are now in use as well as forms of electronic money. We may never really tell who invented money but we can trace how it evolved through time along with various methods of trading.

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