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currency

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Currency is anything that is generally accepted to have value as a medium of exchange so that it can be traded for goods and services. The trading system within an economy is based on its currency, which is usually specific to a country and issued by that country’s government.

Currency may or may not have a physical representation; cash, for example, is currency in the form of bills and coins that have value relative to goods and services as well as other currencies. Digital currencies, such as bitcoin, exist in software and are generated, stored and transferred electronically.

Currency can also refer to non-monetary assets that yield other benefits. Specialized knowledge or information is often considered a type of currency. Those who possess it can use it to acquire other things -- such as a job, a promotion or an audience.

In a business setting, data monetization is the process of turning corporate data into currency. Data currency may refer to an actual dollar figure assigned to data or more generally to its non-specific monetary value.

Social currency, another application of the term, refers to personal assets and attributes that help an individual succeed in social environments.

This was last updated in June 2019

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