A fiat currency is a type of currency that is issued and backed by a government, but is not directly tied to a physical commodity such as gold or silver. Instead, the value of a fiat currency is derived from the trust and confidence that people have in the issuing government and its ability to maintain the value of the currency.
Fiat currencies are used as the primary form of money in most countries around the world, including the United States, where the US dollar is a fiat currency.
One key difference between fiat currencies and other types of currency is that fiat currencies are not backed by any physical commodity. Instead, they are backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing government, which means that they are not directly tied to the value of a specific commodity.
Another difference is that the value of a fiat currency is often influenced by a range of economic and political factors, such as the stability of the issuing government, the strength of the country’s economy, and the level of inflation. In contrast, the value of a commodity-backed currency, such as gold, is largely determined by the market value of the commodity itself.
It’s worth noting that fiat currencies have both benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand, they allow governments to issue and circulate money without being constrained by the availability of a specific commodity. On the other hand, they can be subject to inflation if the issuing government prints too much money or mismanages its monetary policy.
This page was last updated on January 3, 2023.