Currency has been in use for a few millennia, at least. The first standardized coin in the world was the Mesopotamian shekel, which was created in the 7th century BCE. Shekels are even referenced in the Bible, though often as a measure of weight based on individual coins.
Currency has evolved since then, and now there are many different currencies all over the world. What’s the most popular currency, though? There are a few different answers, depending on how you define currency.
We’ll discuss some of the most popular currencies on the international stage, and why in this article.
Currency and Semantics
When we talk about the most popular currency in the world, what are we talking about? How often it’s traded? How about the number of countries that use it, or the number of people who use it as an official currency?
If we’re talking about how often the currency is traded in the international market, the most popular currency is the dollar. If we’re going by how many people use it as their official currency, the answer is the Chinese Yuan. If we’re going by the number of countries rather than the number of people, the answer is the Euro.
We’ll be listing the most traded currencies in this article, and discussing why they’re so often traded.
The US dollar is the most traded currency in the international market, and by a wide margin. Over 40% of all money is traded in dollars, followed by the Euro at 16%.4
The US dollar is a market favorite because the US is the richest country in the world and has been since 1890. A perfect storm of heightened immigration, the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, and the rapid growth of cities and industries during the Industrial Revolution catapulted it to the top.
The US is still one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, although it’s not quite the fastest. That distinction goes to China.
The Euro is in a unique position of the world’s stage. It’s the standard currency of the most powerful economic union in the world. This has made it the second most traded currency behind the US dollar.
This is quite impressive, considering the EU and the Euro were created in 1999. While there are several countries in the EU, and more expected to join in the coming years, a few specific countries stand out as the economic backbone.
These countries are Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. Though by no means the richest nations in Europe, these five contribute most to the EU’s GDP.
Name 5 brands whose products you use every day. There’s a good chance you named at least one Japanese company.
Japan is famous for producing many different things, with the most well-known being cars and electronics. However, that’s not all they produce. Japan is the third-largest economy in the world, and part of the reason for that is World War II.
After the war, Japan’s economy was in shambles. A large portion of its companies had collapsed, and the country wasn’t making very many goods. However, with so many companies gone, there was a whole new market to build in.
The odds of being successful in the years following the war was much higher because there was so little competition. If you could provide something people needed, you’d find investors. A needed product in such an empty economy provided an almost guaranteed return on investments, so people flocked to the stock market.
Bitcoin isn’t the biggest currency in the world, nor does it even crack the top ten, but it is unique in that it is the first and most popular virtual currency in the world, with perhaps 100 million users worldwide.
Virtual currencies, more often called cryptocurrencies were first created in 2009 by someone who called themselves Satoshi Nakamoto. This is assumed to be a fake name, though, and theories abound as to who is behind bitcoin.
Regardless of who invented it, Bitcoin has become a major currency, with just one coin being equal to thousands of dollars. For those wondering where to get Bitcoin, we can help.
One way is to use a Bitcoin ATM, and we’ll offer a guide to help with this process.
The Pound Sterling, often just called the Pound, is the basic unit of currency for the United Kingdom and most Commonwealth nations.
It’s also the oldest known currency in the world, dating back to the 700s. The Anglo-Saxons used a Pound Sterling as a measure of wealth, equal to a pound of sterling silver, hence the name.
In the time of the Anglo-Saxons, a pound was a fortune, while today it’s worth about $1.35. It’s also the 4th most widely traded currency in the world.
The UK’s break from the European Union, known as Brexit, was expected to have a noticeable impact on the value of the Pound, but there hasn’t been much change thus far.
The Most Popular Currency and Other Favorites
The most popular currency in terms of trade is the US dollar is not the only traded currency. We’ve talked about a few of the others as well as some currencies to watch in this article.
That being said, there are currencies we didn’t have the space to discuss, and we encourage you to do more research if you’re interested.
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