Prehistory, antiquity, the Middle Ages, the industrial revolution, or the modern era, money has gone through all ages. It is of interest to historians, but also to numismatic enthusiasts. This latter, who are commonly called numismatists, collect both gold napoleon 10 franc coins, as well as shields, deniers, or the Talent of Ancient Greece.
Before the advent of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, several millennia of evolution took place for this privileged means of exchanging goods or services. A look back at the history of this concept which has shaped our civilizations.
Croesus, the real creator of money?
Many historians believe that primitive currencies called paleomurrencies existed and were used on certain occasions such as weddings or births. There are no pieces here, but shells or bones which could therefore be used to buy.
But the real starting point in the history of money often refers to an ancient king, a symbol of wealth: the famous Croesus! An expression has even passed down to posterity, to be “rich like Croesus”. It is, therefore, this king of Lydia who will democratize first the use of coins in precious metals and thus create the currency which has all the characteristics stated by the philosopher Aristotle years later: a medium of exchange, therefore, but also unity. of account and safe haven like gold. The fame of this king over 2,600 years old is such that the Lydia mobile payment application which has a huge number of users is named in his homage.
From this first use, a large majority of civilizations will use currency. It is first the Greek nations like Athens or Sparta that promote it, then followed by the Roman Empire and its successors throughout the history of mankind.
The 20th century, the monetary upheaval
The 2,500 years that will follow the death of Croesus will not fundamentally change currency, except through the creation of banknotes. Rather, it was the advent of technology means that created the first upheavals in the mid-1900s.
If checks have been around for a long time, it was the arrival of bank cards and online payments that would revolutionize everything. The ease of use is disconcerting, and some boundaries are easily crossed with automatic conversions. European states would even go so far as to adopt a single currency a few years later, as an extension of these trends, even if the goal was obviously economic and political.
Crypto-currencies, the final evolution?
In 2009, a new step was taken with the creation of Bitcoin by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. This blockchain-hosted cryptocurrency has met with tremendous success and now weighs several hundred billion euros.
But it poses a real headache for all players in finance. It is finished (22 million BTC are available in the world in the future) and therefore not controllable by a central bank. It is based on an early technology of which the power of this world knows next to nothing. Most importantly, she is not alone. In recent years, thousands of cryptocurrencies have emerged.
Perhaps this is what prompted some government agencies to want to control these digital currencies. First by banning them and now through regulation that could benefit everyone. The European Commission has made good progress on the subject in recent months.
Other states have taken another path like China which is trying to create their own digital currency: the crypto-yuan. For them, it would be a question of successfully internationalizing the Yuan, the original currency of the most populous country in the world.
It’s also funny to know that one of the primitive currencies we mentioned earlier had many characteristics in common with Bitcoin. The stone currency or rai in Micronesia is for many an inspiration for BTC.
History is only an eternal restart.