Welcome to this week’s Craft Post. For those who are new or haven’t been around, we are in massive series on Worldbuilding. The series is made up of sub-series. Last week we started our seventh sub-series on Economics. You can read all the posts by clicking the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. To find all the posts so far in the Economics sub-series you can find them here. Let’s dive right in.


1. something that is used as a medium of exchange; money.
2. general acceptance; prevalence; vogue.
3. a time or period during which something is widely accepted and circulated.
4. the fact or quality of being widely accepted and circulated from person to person.
5. circulation, as of coin.
When you go to Dictionary.com and type in Currency those are for five definitions you get. Currency is basically, the accepted payment for goods and services. They can be simple or vastly complex. While this post is only focusing on Currency, if you are hoping to learn more about how to create your own. Well, that is next week’s post. Before we can talk about building a currency system, we need to look at what kinds of currency have existed.
Go to Google and type in “Different kinds of Currency Throughout History”. Wait, I already did it for you. Google History Currency. You will not believe what has been used for Currency throughout history.
Here is a list of different things that have been used as Currency:
  • Rai Stones (Weight of about 8 Tons)
  • Knives
  • Rings
  • Jewelry
  • Squirrel Pelts
  • Katanga Crosses
  • Edible Currency (Salt, Coca bean, tea bricks)
  • Poisonous Seeds
  • Beer
  • Rum
  • Fruit (UK Youth Prisons)
  • Parmigiano Cheese

Those are just a few I found in a five-minute search. My point is that currency can literally be anything as long as it has value to the people who are using it. Currency doesn’t always have to be gold, silver, and copper.

Let’s look back on the history of money. First interesting you will find is that standardize coinage didn’t come in place to about 1000 BCE. Before that, there were different kinds of Currency systems in place.

The first would be a trade, you need something and I have it and you have something I want. Let’s trade. In my opinion, there is no better example of this than in game Settlers of Catan. In that game, you have resources that you put your settlements on. On your turn, you draw from those resources. You use those resources to build roads new settlements and evolve your settlements. If you don’t have a resource you need, you can trade with other players. Usually, in the beginning of the game trades are fair a sheep for wheat. However, as the game goes on and people are getting close to winning. Someone who needs wood may need to trade three or four brick or a sheep, and two brick to get wood.

That brings me to the Barter system. I am guessing trade and barter were about the same time. I am not trying to be completely accurate about placing. The difference between bartering and trading is simple. Trade regardless of what you the two parties want from the other it is an item for item. In Settlers, one wood for one wheat, are equal in value. Barter, I need a wood, but I have no way of getting wood since my settlement isn’t on those resources. I need to trade. One player gets triple wood each turn, needs wheat, but she can get wheat but with more wheat this time, on her next turn she can do something. Now for one wood, she asks for four wheat. The value of what is needed is taken into consideration.

The Gift Economy is another early form of currency. To make this simple, I do something for you, like bring you food when you have none. You now owe me. In other words, you are indebted to me. You don’t have to pay me back in food, but if I need something and you can do it, I could call upon you for that.

Animals were another form of currency. Especially, when it came to getting a young ladies hand in marriage. Men would pay the girls father with cattle or other items that were believed the girl is worth. When you get to precious metals, you can do coins or bars. Check out the King Killer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. He created a whole economic system for his world and uses it through the two books in the trilogy.

Bill Exchange, is something that is used to help port large amounts of money. Given a note that has been endorsed by a credible guarantor can be used to cashed in for money in a different town to keep thieves from coming for your money. This leads to Banknotes that are backed on how much gold is in the bank. Take it another step and remove banking altogether and you get our current system. Yes, the twenty dollar bill in your wallet or purse is worth twenty dollars because the United States Federal Reserve says so. There is no gold backing that.

The question you have to ask yourself is how thought out of an economic system do you want in your world. Taking that a little further, how much of a currency system do you want. That is your homework this week. Do some research on this and all the types of systems I mentioned here. Think of the kind of system you want in your World. Maybe, there a few I mentioned or you find on your own, that you would like to mix together.

That is all for this week. Next week, we are going to look at how to actually make a currency system. Check back on Monday for this week’s Weekly Writing Wrap-up. For all those who are part taking in NaNoWriMo, I hope you got your novel ready to start.




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