What is the difference between Fiat money and Commodity money? One paragraph will suffice for your answer


We can define Commodity money as a physical good that consumers universally use to trade for other goods. In other words, it is like the money we use today, but has an actual value. For example, gold was used as money, but also in the manufacturing of jewellery.

  • However, the return of the gold standard led to a recession, unemployment, and deflation in these economies.
  • State-issued money which is neither convertible through a central bank to anything else nor fixed in value in terms of any objective standard.
  • Unlike fiat currency, a cryptocurrency is more volatile and brings a higher level of information security compared to fiat money.

Therefore, if we want both difference between fiat money and commodity money trade and credit in the same model, we need something between perfect monitoring and no monitoring. As in other areas of economics — for example, transport costs in international-trade theory — extreme versions are both easy to describe and easy to analyze. The challenge is to specify and analyze intermediate situations. They consider a model with cash goods and credit goods, monopolistically competitive firms and nominal, non-state-contingent debt. The fiscal authority optimally sets separate tax rates on labor income, dividends, and consumption. They show that the Ramsey allocation for an economy with sticky prices and a monopoly distortion is identical to that for an economy with flexible prices and perfect competition.

Treatment in economics

Assumed that the government issues only nominal debt that is not state contingent. This has important implications for monetary policy in their model. In other words, unexpected inflation can be used to make the nominal debt state contingent in real terms.

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This fiat currency depreciated so rapidly that by 1776 it was returned to a silver standard. Fiat money also has other beginnings in 17th-century Europe, having been introduced by the Bank of Amsterdam in 1683. The most important feature of fiat currency remains its stability, unlike commodity monies such as gold, silver, and copper. As mentioned earlier, the rise of fiat currencies came about as countries attempted to smooth out the business cycles and avoid the busts of credit cycles.

Are cryptocurrencies and fiat money the same?

The logical way to reconcile the accounting then is to credit the material value of the token to the State’s balance sheet, even though the bearer has physical possession of the token. The State retains title to its material value as long as the token exists as a liability of the State. Keynes once defined the rupee, the Indian currency, as a “note printed on silver” implying that the holder of the rupee could either use it as money or as silver, but not both. In economic terms, commodity money has what is known as an ‘intrinsic value’. Therefore, anything that has an alternate use could be considered a commodity form of money.

Fiat money is a type of currency that is not backed by a commodity, such as gold or silver. It is typically designated by the issuing government to be legal tender. Throughout history, fiat money was sometimes issued by local banks and other institutions. In modern times, fiat money is generally authorized by government regulation. The increased prevalence of bubbles is because fiat currencies have a virtually unlimited supply, which means that quantitative easing is an option for governments. While possibly providing stimulus to an economy, quantitative easing can also cause greater inflation rates.

Overview of Commodity Money

In a transactional economy, money is an economic unit that acts as a commonly acknowledged method of exchange. Money is used to reduce transaction costs, specifically the desire for two things to happen at the same time. Money begins as a physical commodity with a physical property that enables market participants to utilize it as a medium of exchange.

Which currency is fiat money?

Well-known examples of fiat currencies include the pound sterling, the euro and the US dollar. In fact, very few world currencies are true commodity currencies and most are, in one way or another, a form of fiat money.

From the history we have discussed, we can see that fiat currency is not appearing suddenly but how we gradually transitioned into this system. The introduction of banknotes marked the transition from commodity money to representative money, since it only represents a peg to metal coins, but in itself has no intrinsic value. After the abandonment of the gold standard, banknotes became fiat money, which is neither pegged nor possess intrinsic value. With no inherent worth, the value of the fiat money systemis obtained from the supply and demand relationship. Furthermore, it substitutes commodity money and representative money . While it results in economic stability, it can lead to hyperinflation.

Pros of Commodity Money

Its role as a medium of exchange makes it a convenient store of value. Define what is meant by the money supply and tell what is included in the Federal Reserve System’s two definitions of it . The physical characteristics of the good should be durable enough to be reused several times and retain their usefulness in future exchanges. A perishable item or one that degrades rapidly after being used in exchanges will be less usable in future transactions. Using a non-durable item as money is incompatible with money’s fundamentally future-oriented nature.

What are examples of commodity money?

Examples of commodity money are gold and silver coins. Gold coins were valuable because they could be used in exchange for other goods or services, but also because the gold itself was valued and had other uses. Commodity money gave way to the next stage-representative money.

The money that is easily accepted and convenient to carry anywhere and everywhere is known as fiat money. It is convenient to carry because it has comparatively low-risk factors or takes less space to carry. And it depends upon each country for the usage and accessibility of their respective fiat money. The government of each country is responsible for the system of manufacturing fiat money. The government is also responsible for the value of fiat money and this value is decided based on various factors affecting the fiat money in each country. U.S. President Richard Nixon introduced a law that canceled, the direct convertibility of the U.S. dollar into gold.

Some advantages of commodity money are like the raw form of the commodity can be redesigned into commodity money, the government never controls the commodity money, etc. Century as governments and banks moved in to protect their economies from the frequent busts of the business cycle. Due to its ability to store purchasing power, people can make plans with ease and create specialized economic activities.

The fact that fiat money is not connected to tangible assets, such as a national stockpile of gold or silver, means that it is susceptible to depreciation due to inflation. During some of the most severe occurrences of hyperinflation, such as the period after World War II in Hungary, the inflation rate might more than quadruple in a single day. One main reason for that is the transportation of these goods that will serve as a medium of exchange. Imagine how hard it is to move gold worth millions of dollars around the world. It is pretty costly to arrange the logistics and transportation of large bars of gold.

disadvantages of commodity

Even those who didn’t smoke were using cigarettes as a means to conduct trade. The gold standard is a system in which a country’s government allows its currency to be freely converted into fixed amounts of gold. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate.

  • We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate.
  • Money declared by a person, institution or government to be legal tender, meaning that it must be accepted in payment of a debt in specific circumstances.
  • Since President Richard Nixon’s decision to suspend US dollar convertibility to gold in 1971, a system of national fiat currencies has been used globally.
  • Governments may debase coins by adding copper, tin, or other less valuable alloys to coins as they are minted, while still saying they are worth (e.g., $1 in exchange).

It allows people to buy products and services as they need without having to trade product for product, as was the case with barter trade. The Bretton Woods Agreement fixed the value of one troy ounce of gold to 35 United States Dollars. However, in 1971, United States President, Richard Nixon, introduced a series of economic measures including canceling the direct convertibility of dollars into gold due to declining gold reserves. Since then, most countries have adopted fiat monies that are exchangeable between major currencies.

As a result, we are able to purchase different goods at different https://www.beaxy.com/s. 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 the United States, the final arbiter of what is and what is not measured as money is the Federal Reserve System. Because it is difficult to determine what to measure as money, the Fed reports several different measures of money, including M1 and M2. We saw in the chapter that introduced the concept of inflation that inflation reduces the value of money. In periods of rapid inflation, people may not want to rely on money as a store of value, and they may turn to commodities such as land or gold instead.


There is no evidence to suggest that played a more prominent role in determining end-market locations for coins than credit played in determining end-market locations for other products. First, precious metals flowed throughout global markets – via all oceans/seas, as well as the landmasses connected to them – so casting the issue in Europe-Asia terms is inappropriate. Second, silver flowed overwhelmingly into specific Chinese markets, not into abstract ‘Asia,’ and Japanese silver cannot be excluded from the conversation. Third, two centuries of disequilibrium in global markets for silver and gold must be seen as co-equal causes of bimetallic flows, rather than as reactions to nonprecious-metals flows. Just as silks, ceramics and other Chinese exports were attracted to profitable markets worldwide, so too precious metals were attracted to favorable global markets. Fourth, there is no evidence to suggest that long-distance trade was unbalanced, in the sense that capital account imbalances were required to offset trade imbalances.

Long after gold coins became rare in commerce, the Fort Knox gold repository of the United States functioned as a theoretical backing for Federal Reserve. Between 1933 and 1970 (when the U.S. MATIC officially left the gold standard), one U.S. dollar was technically worth exactly 1/35 of a troy ounce of gold. Fiat money refers to the currency of an economy that has the backing of the government. Fiat money is issued by the authority of the government and does not have any backing of any physical asset .


Colonial powers consciously introduced fiat currencies backed by taxes (e.g., hut taxes or poll taxes) to mobilise economic resources in their new XRP possessions, at least as a transitional arrangement. The purpose of such taxes was later served by property taxes. The repeated cycle of deflationary hard money, followed by inflationary paper money continued through much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Often nations would have dual currencies, with paper trading at some discount to money which represented specie.

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