Whether it’s the dollar, pound, rouble, rupee, euro or yuan, physical or digital, our entire world is built on currency exchange. But from barter, banknote to bitcoin, the means of exchange have evolved significantly. Let’s have a look.
9000 B.C.: Barter begins
Bartering was first recorded in Egypt in 9000 B.C., when farmers would go to market to exchange cows for sheep, with grains passing through the hands of harvesters in exchange for oils.
As barter developed along ancient trade routes, articles of exchange became more sophisticated. Egyptian papyrus, precious stones and chariots could now buy you exotic animals, skins and minerals from Africa and Asia. Although hieroglyphics show us trade was not hassle-free, with arguments over price a common occurrence.
600 B.C.: The world’s first coin
Putting an end to such arguments, the first known currency was recorded in the ancient kingdom of Lydia (now part of Turkey). The world’s first coin proudly displayed the head of a roaring lion on one side, with simple markings on the other.
Irregular in shape and size, the coins were made from electrum – a naturally occurring mix of gold and silver – and minted according to weight, with the lowest denomination weighing