Is fiat money more prone to inflation than commodity money?


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. One justification for fiat money comes from a micro-founded model. In most economic models, agents are intrinsically happier when they have more money. In a model by Lagos and Wright, fiat money doesn’t have an intrinsic worth but agents get more of the goods they want when they trade assuming fiat money is valuable. Fiat money’s value is created internally by the community and, at equilibrium, makes otherwise infeasible trades possible.

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The end of the dollar peg

Commodity money has some intrinsic value due to the content of precious metal it is made up of or backed by, but debasement or increases in precious metal supply can cause inflation. Monetarist theory suggests that inflation is alternatively the reduction in the purchasing power of a unit of currency in an economy. Commodity money, however, retains value based on the metal or other material content it has. Fiat money is therefore more at risk of inflation because its value is not intrinsic. If you’re holding several fiat currencies, it can be difficult to move your money around.

  • This differs from the commodity-backed currencies because of the asset’s constrictive nature causing ineffective economic yield.
  • 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).
  • The Subprime Mortgage Crisis of 2007 showed that the central bank can’t always control everything needed to fully protect the economy.
  • However, the shortages of coinage reoccurred and more issues of card money were made during subsequent years.

Currency, some argue, remains physical such as coins, notes, and credit cards. And money equals an intangible concept denoting the value we place in a currency as having a value. Money communicates no worth; there remains no difference; the value is symbolic, whether gold, paper, or electronic. Money actually derives its value from the functions it allows, such as a medium of exchange, storehouses of wealth, or a unit of measurement. The gold standard is a system in which a country’s government allows its currency to be freely converted into fixed amounts of gold. Many governments no longer think commodity money is in the best interests of the public.

Fiat Money Meaning

The forex marketplace is a global market that runs 24 hours a day. Anyone can exchange one currency for another at the current rate between two different fiat currencies. Representative money is a government-produced instrument backed by a commodity or fiat currency. Typically, representative money is a placeholder when the user intends to pay at a later date.


Likewise, fractional reserve banking places enormous power in the hands of individual bankers, power to jeopardize the stability of the banking system in the pursuit of personal gain. Fiat money has a fixed value in most cases, but it does change sometimes, if at all. The value of fiat money fluctuates due to factors such as government policy and the economy of the country. Fiat money has several advantages, including the fact that it is the only natural resource used in the production of the notes, that it is stable, that the government controls its supply, and so on. Whereas the downsides of fiat money include things like the abuse of bamboo trees for paper making, manufacturing instability at times, hyperinflation, excessive transaction costs, and so on.

Currently the red books cover the participating countries on Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures . A red book summary of the value of banknotes and coins in circulation is shown in the table below where the local currency is converted to US dollars using the end of the year rates. From 1944 to 1971, the Bretton Woods agreement fixed the value of 35 United States dollars to one troy ounce of gold. Other currencies were calibrated with the U.S. dollar at fixed rates. The U.S. promised to redeem dollars with gold transferred to other national banks.


We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the s we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. In 1971, the U.S. stopped offering foreign governments gold in exchange for U.S. currency. Fiat money is backed only by the faith of the government and its ability to levy taxes. Since it does not have an intrinsic value per se, it can be more prone to this kind of inflation as more can be printed at will. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader.

Fiat Money vs. Commodity Money: Which Is More Prone to Inflation?

Gold standard or money backed by physical commodities bases its value on real assets like precious metals. For instance, one unit of it could cost the same as 1gm of gold, or costs 10gm of silver. Fiat money is not only cost-efficient to produce, but it’s also easy to carry around and exchange. But one of the biggest benefits is that fiat money is not backed by a commodity, meaning it’s not scarce, unlike gold. For this reason, a government has greater control over the currency supply, which gives it the power to manage economic variables such as interest rates, liquidity, and credit supply. A central bank introduces new money into an economy by purchasing financial assets or lending money to financial institutions.

What Is a Fiat Currency? Definition, Function & Characteristics – TheStreet

What Is a Fiat Currency? Definition, Function & Characteristics.

Posted: Tue, 29 Nov 2022 08:00:00 GMT [source]

It has stabilised the world economy by making the US dollar a peg for many other national stores of value. It aided the US government to cut its ties from the limited gold reserve. Government issued money is also more convenient to distribute ETC commodity vs fiat and use without too much hassle, especially because it can be used in digital forms. 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.

Why Do Modern Economies Favor Fiat Money?

Due to the limited amount of gold coming out of mines, central banks could not keep up with its new value. Fiat money was the alternative that provided cost-efficient production and was convenient to use, and also gave greater flexibility to the government in order to manage its own currency.

The price volatility of cryptocurrencies is one reason some skeptics say it is unlikely to supplant fiat money as the dominant medium of exchange. For instance, El Salvador this year became the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender. The United States Dollar , the Euro and most other major currencies are fiat monies.

Fiat money is currency backed by the government that issued it and isn’t tied to a commodity such as gold. If the people that a person will meet in the future do not directly observe what is done today, then it may help for the person to collect some evidence that can subsequently be shown. That is, acquiring money today can weaken the person’s future truth-telling constraints about today’s actions. If we think of fiat money as a physical and durable object like currency, then, counterfeiting aside, it can serve that role. Others can say “show me” if the person tries to overstate holdings of it. To equate the marginal value of cash balances with the marginal social cost of creating additional fiat money, which is effectively zero.


The attractiveness and utility of currency are partially rooted in not only the ownership and transferability of the said currency but also its ability to store value. Since gold has a stable value throughout the years, you can expect it to help cushion you in the event of a dollar crash. The availability of it in the blockchain results in a far more convenient way of using gold as a tool for value transactions. Albeit government-issued, fiat has done great stuff for the US and for the world. Regardless of its benefits, it has its own share of flaws that couldn’t be easily ignored.

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. Century as governments and banks moved in to protect their economies from the frequent busts of the business cycle. China has a long history with paper money, beginning in the 7th century CE. During the 11th century, the government established a monopoly on its issuance, and about the end of the 12th century, convertibility was suspended.

Fiat money gives central banks more control over the amount and frequency of credit extensions because the control of fiat money allows the banks to “print” more money. This is the type of monetary system the US used up until 1971 and has the same issues as that of commodity money. But it has a slower economic growth rate and commodities can perish over time. International balances were settled in dollars, which were convertible to gold at a fixed exchange rate. They note that, in addition to considering sticky prices and imperfect competition, the models considered in that literature generally have a cursory treatment of fiscal policy.

Furthermore, if individuals lose confidence in a country’s currency, the money will no longer have any purchasing power. Furs and agricultural commodities such as maize were employed in trade transactions throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries. But for the immediate future, fiat currency is what we have to play with, and likely into our children’s future as well. The number one advantage of commodity money equals the ability to serve more than one purpose. For example, gold can become jewelry and also used as wiring in computers. The rise of fiat currencies over the last fifty years is also tied to creating more credit in our system, but not historically so, which I find interesting.

  • On the other hand, representative is a type of money that is issued by the government and backed by commodities such as precious metals like gold or silver.
  • Cryptocurrencies share many similarities with conventional fiat money, but also offer some interesting advantages.
  • Any country that uses the gold standard buys and sells gold at a fixed price, and that price becomes the value of the country’s money.