How China created the world's first paper currency : Planet Money : The Indicator from Planet Money Paper currency has become standard around the world, but that wasn't always the case. Planet Money host Jacob Goldstein tells the story of how paper money came to be — and why it temporarily went away.

The Invention Of Paper Money

The Invention Of Paper Money

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Visual China Group/Visual China Group via Getty Images
Man dressed in ancient costume receives ancient paper currency (Jiaozi) as a bonus in Hangzhou, 2017.
Visual China Group/Visual China Group via Getty Images

For more than a thousand years, economies around the world operated on coins. Gold, silver, and bronze coins were the primary way people exchanged goods and services.

Then in China, there was a breakthrough: Paper money.

Today on The Indicator, Planet Money host Jacob Goldstein tells the story of paper money — why it was created, how it transformed China, and why it (temporarily) went away.

It's a story Jacob tells in his new book, Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing.

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