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What Are Some Unusual Forms of Money?

On the small island of Yap in the western Pacific Ocean, large stone discs up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) wide are the local form of money and tend to be used for large purchases. Other unusual forms of money worldwide include time hours, a legal form of currency that allows tasks such as childcare or auto repairs to be bartered for other services. A modern form of currency known as Bitcoins was developed in the early 2010s as the first completely decentralized form of electronic currency that is accepted by some ecommerce websites.

More about unusual forms of money:

  • Historically, the most valuable items for bartering have included shells, tobacco, tea leaves, animal fur and salt.

  • In 1991, the town of Ithaca, New York, developed Ithaca Hours, a form of currency in which each piece of currency is worth the average wage of one hour of work.

  • Areas that develop their own forms of money commonly cite their main reasons as fostering a sense of community and independence as well as having a poor economy.

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