Who invented coins?

Who invented money?

It goes without saying that we pay for things that we want with money: we buy them. Of course, that wasn't always the case. If we look back a long way, for example back to the Stone Age, there was no money - and certainly no credit cards or banks. But who actually invented money?

And why?

Back in the Stone Age, people shared what they hunted or gathered among themselves. There was no way to buy or trade anything.

Barter only came about when people settled down, when they started building settlements and tilling fields. Then it happened that they had some things in abundance, i.e. more than they could eat themselves. You could swap that for something you didn't have: for example a warm fur or a tool. Goods were exchanged around the world in a similar way.

However, swapping became difficult when the goods were not suitable. Some things were difficult to store or transport. Or a product was offered that was not of interest to the other person. Then there was no exchange.

So a medium of exchange had to be found that was long-lasting, transportable, forgery-proof and not available in too large quantities. All of this applied to the sturdy shells of the cowrie shells. It was used as a means of payment in parts of East Asia, North Africa and the South Pacific from 2000 BC until the 19th century. For this purpose they were strung on strings. In other parts of the world pearls, shells or precious stones were used as a medium of exchange.

Metals such as copper, silver and gold also played a special role in bartering. Gold and silver were found in Mesopotamia and Egypt as early as the 4th millennium BC - and it was soon used as a means of payment. The metal money was poured into rings, sticks or bars. They could be crushed and weighed according to their value. These precious metals later established themselves as a means of payment worldwide.

The first coins ...

... were finally minted in 650 BC in the Kingdom of Lydia, on the territory of today's Turkey.

From there they spread over the entire Mediterranean area. And the Greeks and Romans also adopted the coin system. The advantage of the coins was their fixed weight. They no longer had to be weighed but could be counted.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, banks began to take coins into custody. For this they issued receipts called banknotes or slips of paper. Paper money had an advantage: it wasn't as heavy as coins. You could have a great deal of money with you without having to carry a lot of heavy coins.

Most financial transactions today are cashless. The money is simply booked from account to account. Ah!