You ever get into one of those modes where you sit on the floor of your room and start clearing out your drawers and cupboards? Well, I got into one of those this morning and unearthed a whole bunch of papers, photographs, files, folders, bills, certificates, documents and…! 

From the bottom of a drawer I recovered a handful of Euros and Pounds and coins from Denmark, UAE, USA and what not. 

Unfortunately, this wasn’t a case of finding hidden treasure in one’s own house, but a despicable demonstration of my complete and total inability to organise my things. 

As a kid, I used to collect coins from all over the world. I’d ask my parents and relatives to bring me foreign coins whenever they traveled anywhere. I had a bagful of dinars, pences, cents and dimes. I also had old annas. Being the scatterbrain I am, I don’t know where that bag is. 

Naturally I was overjoyed to find some money in my drawer and safely put it away in another bag whose whereabouts I will forget within a day or two. 

But this got me thinking – what is money even? They don’t really teach you that in schools. I mean, yes, they teach you about the barter system, and how civilizations across the globe devised their own systems of currency to make the exchange of goods and services a more efficient process. But that’s pretty much it, right? After that, we’re just supposed to accept that money is a thing that we have to organise our lives around. Everything is about money, at the end of the day. 

I could feel myself slipping into an abyss of thought, so I stopped. What I did do instead, is find out more about money. Turns out, money has a fascinating history, and there’s no dearth of people exploring how money has evolved through the ages, right up till the glorious (cough, cough) time of Bitcoin that we now live in. 

I also found this piece from Time Magazine that posits money as a technology and tried to make predictions about the future based on the history of money. 

There’s also a wide ranging project currently underway, executed by a consortium of globally recognised universities and institutions, that aims to “provide stable digital representations of numismatic concepts according to the principles of Linked Open Data”. A collaboration between noted historians, numismatists and archaeologists, this project, once completed will generate a database that can be accessed by anyone from anywhere. 

Now I’ll leave you to your own burrowing, and go back to my job. ‘Coz I need money! 


P.S. Share Just One Thing with your friends and money will automatically appear at the bottom of your favourite drawer. I promise.