The main stream definition of money, found in many economics textbooks is a physical or digital unit that fulfills the three widely quoted functions of money, namely that it acts as a unit of account (measuring the value of goods and services), a medium of exchange and a store of value (saving for later use), can be called money [reference needed: Ryan-Collins 2011]. Complementary currencies often do exhibit only some of these functions or make clear weighting between them.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes money as “a commodity accepted by general consent as a medium of economic exchange. It is the medium in which prices and values are expressed; as currency, it circulates anonymously from person to person and country to country, thus facilitating trade, and it is the principal measure of wealth” 1.
There are however more generally two perspectives on the distinction and inter-relation between money and currency: one, mostly presented by CC practitioners and advocates is that money (as we know it) is just one type of “currency” and CCs are demonstrating how else it could be designed, the second perspective, more fungible with orthodox economics and often employed by regulators, is that currency is tangible form of money (notes and coins) leaving the definition of the latter open.
In lines of the current debate often go along the difference between the commodity theory of money (often focusing on gold as the iconic and most useful commodity of “moneyness”) and the credit theory of money, which looks at the historic fact that credit money and accounting systems predate coinage and dominate in our current practice of money.
- http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/389170/money ↩