People used a bartering system before the introduction of currency. During ancient times, the only way that people could get their food was through fishing, hunting, and gathering berries and nuts. With the growth of populations, different groups of people had improved their skills in fishing and hunting. Others developed their expertise in picking berries and nuts. After some time, they started to barter with each other.
In general, the trading of items is called “barter.” Since different people had varying needs, the activity increased its popularity. All around the world, the practice of bartering was going on in markets. As more and more people began to settle in their permanent places, bartering became more and more challenging. Since they had an opportunity to raise crops and to rear livestock, a lot of people found no need to trade as much.
What’s more, not all people required the specific items that other people were offering to trade, which was another factor that contributed to making bartering difficult. Eventually, a lot of people realized the need to introduce a currency that could not only be used for multiple needed items but one that could even last longer than the usual bartering. As a result, many governments were forced to search and come up with an alternative form of buying and selling goods and/or services.
The Chines were the original people to make use of a long-lasting currency. The people in China started to use “cowrie” shells as their form of currency, around 1400 B.C. It marked an important event since the actual idea of having a cowrie currency spread to many other places like India, as well as many other parts of Africa.
Eventually, just like the Chinese, most of the Egyptians started making use of copper rings as their currency around 3000 B.C. In Mesopotamia, a lot of people were already utilizing lumps of silver as their currency by 1850 B.C. Since there was great value seen in silver and some other precious metals, people started a bad habit of counterfeiting their weights.
As a result, many countries started making coins by using less valuable metals due to the problem of counterfeiting. The practice was meant to get rid of the temptation to deceive people with their fake gold and silver ingots. For some time, it seemed like a lot of the issues had been resolved. However, ancient people that it was necessary to come up with a standard form of weight to establish some legitimacy in their currency value.