Unlike commodity money which is covered by the value of the precious metal it was created from, usually silver or gold, the value of fiat currency is dependent on the interaction between demand and supply forces. The parties, buyer, and seller, engaged in its exchange will come to an agreement on its value.

usd dollar fiat cash

Fiat is a Latin word. Translated into English, fiat means “Let it be done”. Fiat Currency is money that does not have intrinsic value but is recognized or accepted as a form of legal tender through government regulation. To read more about fiat currencies click on the following links to jump to the correct sections:

See the table below for a complete world fiat currencies list:

Territory / CountryCurrencyISO-4217 Name
AfghanistanAfghan afghaniAFN
Akrotiri and Dhekelia (UK)European euroEUR
Aland Islands (Finland)European euroEUR
AlbaniaAlbanian lekALL
AlgeriaAlgerian dinarDZD
American Samoa (USA)United States dollarUSD
AndorraEuropean euroEUR
AngolaAngolan kwanzaAOA
Anguilla (UK)East Caribbean dollarXCD
Antigua and BarbudaEast Caribbean dollarXCD
ArgentinaArgentine pesoARS
ArmeniaArmenian dramAMD
Aruba (Netherlands)Aruban florinAWG
Ascension Island (UK)Saint Helena poundSHP
AustraliaAustralian dollarAUD
AustriaEuropean euroEUR
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan manatAZN
BahamasBahamian dollarBSD
BahrainBahraini dinarBHD
BangladeshBangladeshi takaBDT
BarbadosBarbadian dollarBBD
BelarusBelarusian rubleBYN
BelgiumEuropean euroEUR
BelizeBelize dollarBZD
BeninWest African CFA francXOF
Bermuda (UK)Bermudian dollarBMD
BhutanBhutanese ngultrumBTN
BoliviaBolivian bolivianoBOB
Bonaire (Netherlands)United States dollarUSD
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina convertible markBAM
BotswanaBotswana pulaBWP
BrazilBrazilian realBRL
British Indian Ocean Territory (UK)United States dollarUSD
British Virgin Islands (UK)United States dollarUSD
BruneiBrunei dollarBND
BulgariaBulgarian levBGN
Burkina FasoWest African CFA francXOF
BurundiBurundi francBIF
Cabo VerdeCape Verdean escudoCVE
CambodiaCambodian rielKHR
CameroonCentral African CFA francXAF
CanadaCanadian dollarCAD
Caribbean Netherlands (Netherlands)United States dollarUSD
Cayman Islands (UK)Cayman Islands dollarKYD
Central African RepublicCentral African CFA francXAF
ChadCentral African CFA francXAF
Chatham Islands (New Zealand)New Zealand dollarNZD
ChileChilean pesoCLP
ChinaChinese Yuan RenminbiCNY
Christmas Island (Australia)Australian dollarAUD
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Australia)Australian dollarAUD
ColombiaColombian pesoCOP
ComorosComorian francKMF
Congo, Democratic Republic of theCongolese francCDF
Congo, Republic of theCentral African CFA francXAF
Cook Islands (New Zealand)Cook Islands dollarnone
Costa RicaCosta Rican colonCRC
Cote d'IvoireWest African CFA francXOF
CroatiaCroatian kunaHRK
CubaCuban pesoCUP
Curacao (Netherlands)Netherlands Antillean guilderANG
CyprusEuropean euroEUR
Czech RepublicCzech korunaCZK
DenmarkDanish kroneDKK
DjiboutiDjiboutian francDJF
DominicaEast Caribbean dollarXCD
Dominican RepublicDominican pesoDOP
EcuadorUnited States dollarUSD
EgyptEgyptian poundEGP
El SalvadorUnited States dollarUSD
Equatorial GuineaCentral African CFA francXAF
EritreaEritrean nakfaERN
EstoniaEuropean euroEUR
Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)Swazi lilangeniSZL
EthiopiaEthiopian birrETB
Falkland Islands (UK)Falkland Islands poundFKP
Faroe Islands (Denmark)Faroese kronanone
FijiFijian dollarFJD
FinlandEuropean euroEUR
FranceEuropean euroEUR
French Guiana (France)European euroEUR
French Polynesia (France)CFP francXPF
GabonCentral African CFA francXAF
GambiaGambian dalasiGMD
GeorgiaGeorgian lariGEL
GermanyEuropean euroEUR
GhanaGhanaian cediGHS
Gibraltar (UK)Gibraltar poundGIP
GreeceEuropean euroEUR
Greenland (Denmark)Danish kroneDKK
GrenadaEast Caribbean dollarXCD
Guadeloupe (France)European euroEUR
Guam (USA)United States dollarUSD
GuatemalaGuatemalan quetzalGTQ
Guernsey (UK)Guernsey PoundGGP
GuineaGuinean francGNF
Guinea-BissauWest African CFA francXOF
GuyanaGuyanese dollarGYD
HaitiHaitian gourdeHTG
HondurasHonduran lempiraHNL
Hong Kong (China)Hong Kong dollarHKD
HungaryHungarian forintHUF
IcelandIcelandic kronaISK
IndiaIndian rupeeINR
IndonesiaIndonesian rupiahIDR
International Monetary Fund (IMF)SDR (Special Drawing Right)XDR
IranIranian rialIRR
IraqIraqi dinarIQD
IrelandEuropean euroEUR
Isle of Man (UK)Manx poundIMP
IsraelIsraeli new shekelILS
ItalyEuropean euroEUR
JamaicaJamaican dollarJMD
JapanJapanese yenJPY
Jersey (UK)Jersey poundJEP
JordanJordanian dinarJOD
KazakhstanKazakhstani tengeKZT
KenyaKenyan shillingKES
KiribatiAustralian dollarAUD
KosovoEuropean euroEUR
KuwaitKuwaiti dinarKWD
KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstani somKGS
LaosLao kipLAK
LatviaEuropean euroEUR
LebanonLebanese poundLBP
LesothoLesotho lotiLSL
LiberiaLiberian dollarLRD
LibyaLibyan dinarLYD
LiechtensteinSwiss francCHF
LithuaniaEuropean euroEUR
LuxembourgEuropean euroEUR
Macau (China)Macanese patacaMOP
Macedonia (FYROM)Macedonian denarMKD
MadagascarMalagasy ariaryMGA
MalawiMalawian kwachaMWK
MalaysiaMalaysian ringgitMYR
MaldivesMaldivian rufiyaaMVR
MaliWest African CFA francXOF
MaltaEuropean euroEUR
Marshall IslandsUnited States dollarUSD
Martinique (France)European euroEUR
MauritaniaMauritanian ouguiyaMRU
MauritiusMauritian rupeeMUR
Mayotte (France)European euroEUR
MexicoMexican pesoMXN
MicronesiaUnited States dollarUSD
MoldovaMoldovan leuMDL
MonacoEuropean euroEUR
MongoliaMongolian tugrikMNT
MontenegroEuropean euroEUR
Montserrat (UK)East Caribbean dollarXCD
MoroccoMoroccan dirhamMAD
MozambiqueMozambican meticalMZN
Myanmar (formerly Burma)Myanmar kyatMMK
NamibiaNamibian dollarNAD
NauruAustralian dollarAUD
NepalNepalese rupeeNPR
NetherlandsEuropean euroEUR
New Caledonia (France)CFP francXPF
New ZealandNew Zealand dollarNZD
NicaraguaNicaraguan cordobaNIO
NigerWest African CFA francXOF
NigeriaNigerian nairaNGN
Niue (New Zealand)New Zealand dollarNZD
Norfolk Island (Australia)Australian dollarAUD
Northern Mariana Islands (USA)United States dollarUSD
North KoreaNorth Korean wonKPW
NorwayNorwegian kroneNOK
OmanOmani rialOMR
PakistanPakistani rupeePKR
PalauUnited States dollarUSD
PalestineIsraeli new shekelILS
PanamaUnited States dollarUSD
Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinean kinaPGK
ParaguayParaguayan guaraniPYG
PeruPeruvian solPEN
PhilippinesPhilippine pesoPHP
Pitcairn Islands (UK)New Zealand dollarNZD
PolandPolish zlotyPLN
PortugalEuropean euroEUR
Puerto Rico (USA)United States dollarUSD
QatarQatari riyalQAR
Reunion (France)European euroEUR
RomaniaRomanian leuRON
RussiaRussian rubleRUB
RwandaRwandan francRWF
Saba (Netherlands)United States dollarUSD
Saint Barthelemy (France)European euroEUR
Saint Helena (UK)Saint Helena poundSHP
Saint Kitts and NevisEast Caribbean dollarXCD
Saint LuciaEast Caribbean dollarXCD
Saint Martin (France)European euroEUR
Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France)European euroEUR
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesEast Caribbean dollarXCD
SamoaSamoan talaWST
San MarinoEuropean euroEUR
Sao Tome and PrincipeSao Tome and Principe dobraSTN
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabian riyalSAR
SenegalWest African CFA francXOF
SerbiaSerbian dinarRSD
SeychellesSeychellois rupeeSCR
Sierra LeoneSierra Leonean leoneSLL
SingaporeSingapore dollarSGD
Sint Eustatius (Netherlands)United States dollarUSD
Sint Maarten (Netherlands)Netherlands Antillean guilderANG
SlovakiaEuropean euroEUR
SloveniaEuropean euroEUR
Solomon IslandsSolomon Islands dollarSBD
SomaliaSomali shillingSOS
South AfricaSouth African randZAR
South Georgia Island (UK)Pound sterlingGBP
South KoreaSouth Korean wonKRW
South SudanSouth Sudanese poundSSP
SpainEuropean euroEUR
Sri LankaSri Lankan rupeeLKR
SudanSudanese poundSDG
SurinameSurinamese dollarSRD
Svalbard and Jan Mayen (Norway)Norwegian kroneNOK
SwedenSwedish kronaSEK
SwitzerlandSwiss francCHF
SyriaSyrian poundSYP
TaiwanNew Taiwan dollarTWD
TajikistanTajikistani somoniTJS
TanzaniaTanzanian shillingTZS
ThailandThai bahtTHB
Timor-LesteUnited States dollarUSD
TogoWest African CFA francXOF
Tokelau (New Zealand)New Zealand dollarNZD
TongaTongan pa’angaTOP
Trinidad and TobagoTrinidad and Tobago dollarTTD
Tristan da Cunha (UK)Pound sterlingGBP
TunisiaTunisian dinarTND
TurkeyTurkish liraTRY
TurkmenistanTurkmen manatTMT
Turks and Caicos Islands (UK)United States dollarUSD
TuvaluAustralian dollarAUD
UgandaUgandan shillingUGX
UkraineUkrainian hryvniaUAH
United Arab EmiratesUAE dirhamAED
United KingdomPound sterlingGBP
United States of AmericaUnited States dollarUSD
UruguayUruguayan pesoUYU
US Virgin Islands (USA)United States dollarUSD
UzbekistanUzbekistani somUZS
VanuatuVanuatu vatuVUV
Vatican City (Holy See)European euroEUR
VenezuelaVenezuelan bolivarVES
VietnamVietnamese dongVND
Wake Island (USA)United States dollarUSD
Wallis and Futuna (France)CFP francXPF
YemenYemeni rialYER
ZambiaZambian kwachaZMW
ZimbabweUnited States dollarUSD

Origin of Fiat Currency

While most money was backed by physical goods or precious metals, fiat currency is contingent on people’s belief and faith in a country’s economy.

Many of today’s paper money is considered fiat money. They do not carry user value. The function of the paper money is to facilitate a payment. A government would produce coins out of precious metals and manufacture paper currency that would have an equivalent value in terms of a physical good. In the case of fiat currency, it cannot be redeemed. Neither can fiat currency be converted.

Fiat currency because popular and widely used in the 20th century particularly during the period of 1968 and 1973 when the Bretton Woods Agreement was terminated and the United States no longer allowed the U.S. Dollar to be converted to gold.

usd 100 bills

Backed By Government


For the reason that fiat currency is not backed by a physical commodity, it can risk losing its value should the economy undergo struggles and difficulties. Remember that fiat currency’s value is maintained by the government. If its economy experiences hyperinflation, the people could lose confidence in the government and likewise, on its currency. In a situation like this, fiat currency will lose its value.

In contrast, precious metals such as gold carry its value when it is used to manufacture items such as jewellery and as a component for computers, aerospace vehicles, and technology devices.

Is The U.S. Dollar Fiat Currency Or Legal Tender?

The answer is “yes to both”. The simple definition of legal tender is any kind of money or medium of exchange which the government recognizes or considers as legal. The United States, like many other nations, can initially introduce fiat currency then through an act of government, authorize it as legal tender as a standard or basis for the repayment of debts.

The U.S Dollar is considered fiat currency because it is covered by the U.S. government. However, because the U.S Dollar is used to repay both public and private types of debt, it is accepted as legal tender.

It was after 1933 that the federal government ended its policy of enabling Americans to procure gold in exchange for their currency. By 1973, the United States also put an end to its policy of securing U.S. paper money from foreign countries by offering gold.

The U.S dollar’s value is influenced by economic factors and by how the government manages interest rate movements. For example, if the government wants to increase the rate of inflation, it can increase money supply or the supply of money circulating in the economy simply by printing more currency.

Pros And Cons Of Fiat Currency

Economies go through boom and bust cycles. The central bank can use the fiat currency to stabilize the effects of liquidity, credit supply, money velocity, and interest rates on the economy.

Since fiat currency is not backed by precious metals or commodities, it is not subject to the risk of having scarce supplies. The central bank can then manipulate its supply in order to manage the country’s economic conditions.

A good example is the United States’ Federal Reserve which is mandated to use its powers to manage the rate of inflation and the level of unemployment.

However, notable events in the new millennium such as the 2007 financial crisis showed the advantages of currencies that are backed by a precious metal such as gold.

The restrictions or limitations in gold’s supply make these types of currencies more stable compared to fiat currency. Financial bubbles are more probable with fiat currency simply because its supply is generally unlimited.

Zimbabwe: A Case Study In The Mismanagement Of Fiat Currency

Fiat money is generally more stable than currencies that are backed by precious metals. However, if mismanaged, fiat currencies can lead to a country’s economic downfall. Case in point is the South African nation, Zimbabwe.

Under the administration of former-President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe saw its economy failing during the 1990s. The country was dealing with spiralling rates of unemployment coupled with falling wages and inflation that was hitting upwards of 17%.

By 2000, Mugabe’s government initiated land reform programs which took farms away from white farmers and turned them over to the country’s black citizens.

Because the black citizens who were “awarded” the farms did not have the skill and experience to till the land, Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector began to suffer. As a result, its export earnings from agricultural products fell.

Instead of implementing economic policies that could counterbalance the drop in export earnings, Zimbabwe’s central bank decided to print more money to cover debts and to temper the inflationary effects of dwindling supply.

The consequences were dire and severe. The move to print more money exacerbated the fall of the economy. In 2008, inflation hit almost 500 billion percent.

The value of the Zimbabwe Dollar crashed and burned. During the worst period of the economic meltdown, 1 trillion Zimbabwe dollars only carried a value of US$0.40.

In 2009, the Zimbabwe Dollar was replaced by the United States Dollar.