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Fiat Money, explained

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What is ‘Fiat Money’

Fiat money is currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but is not backed by a physical commodity. The value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between supply and demand rather than the value of the material that the money is made of. Historically, most currencies were based on physical commodities such as gold or silver, but fiat money is based solely on faith. Fiat is the Latin word for “it shall be”.

Fiat money is a currency established as money by government regulation or law. The term derives from the Latin fiat (“let it become”, “it will become”) used in the sense of an order or decree. It differs from commodity money and representative money. Commodity money is created from a good, often a precious metal such as gold or silver, which has uses other than as a medium of exchange (such a good is called a commodity), while representative money simply represents a claim on such a good.


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