A Brief Understanding on What is Fiat Currency

A Brief Understanding on What is Fiat Currency

Fiat money in blockchain refers to traditional government-issued currency (like USD or EUR) used as a medium of exchange on blockchain platforms or...

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Fiat currency is a financial term you must have heard being used quite often. In case you aren’t yet aware of what is fiat currency and it simply sounds like financial jargon, fiat is the government-issued currency the citizens in a country use day-to-day. Fiat currency examples include the Indian Rupee. 

Governments print fiat money to circulate it in their individual countries, and also for broader global trades. Fiat currencies are usually established as a legal tender by governments from respective countries. 

You might be wondering how does fiat currency work. In this post, we attempt to answer all your queries regarding what is fiat currency, and also weigh the advantages and disadvantages of fiat money.

What is Fiat Currency?

what is fiat money
Source: Mint – Intuit / What is fiat currency, and fiat currency examples

To understand the basics of how does fiat currency work, the first thing to know is what is fiat: what does the term mean? The basic meaning of this term is an official order. So fiat currency basically means the official currency of a country. The Euro, the USD, and Rupee are all fiat currencies examples from different governments around the world. 

Purchasing goods and services and making investments are the primary fiat money advantages for both the government and the people. The value of a fiat currency is not fixed; it depends upon factors like the supply and demand of the currency across domestic and international trades. 

How Does Fiat Currency Work?

Fiat currency turned out to be an alternative to the barter system for acquiring goods and services that already existed. It works with the help of the holder’s faith in the currency and usually also the government’s backing in respective countries. Fiat money is not backed by any physical reserves, and it might lose value due to events such as inflation. What’s more, in case the people lose faith in fiat currency, that would also cause it to lose value. Therefore, the value of a fiat currency depends largely on the people making use of it. 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Fiat Money

Fiat Money Advantages

Some benefits of fiat currency include:

  • Fiat currency examples like the US dollar and the Indian Rupee serve as great monetary units because of their numerical and storage value, and their ability to provide commodities/services in exchange.
  • Fiat currency helps protect an economy from business failures and the disadvantages of being tied to assets like gold or other precious metals.
  • Fiat currency allows a government to control inflation, cash liquidity, interest rates provided by banks, and credit supply.
  • Fiat currency also proves to be advantageous in controlling unemployment and protecting the citizens against economic crises.
  • Global acceptance of a fiat currency makes international trades and payments easier.

Disadvantages of Fiat Money 

The disadvantages a fiat currency might include:

  • Being a centralized asset, fiat money is easily traceable, and transactions can never be private. Such traceability also invites hacking and other attacks.
  • Fiat money provides a government extra control over their citizens’ finances, thus excessive taxes are also observed in various countries.
  • Different currencies around the globe result in the conversion of one into another for global usage, thus inviting more sets of transaction fees.

Some Pros and Cons of Using Fiat Currency 

Now that you know what is fiat currency, you may want to find out some pros and cons to using fiat currency. 

When it comes to the pros of using fiat currency, the argument starts with the ease of managing finance. Fiat currency provides economic stability to a country, with the flexibility to fight inflation. Plus, using a fiat currency is also more affordable than any commodity-based exchange.

Coming to the cons to using fiat currency, hyperinflation caused by the government pumping in too much money can be a big problem with fiat currencies. Plus, the government having the ultimate authority over everyone’s money means one wrong decision can lead to a national catastrophe. 

The usage of fiat currency also invites a lot of taxes and charges, thus leading to the requirement for a better alternative.

Fiat Currency Examples

Every country in the world has a fiat currency that they have accepted as the legal tender. Euro is one of the strongest fiat currency examples, which is the currency of Europe. The US Dollar is also another great example of a fiat currency. Aside from that, well-known fiat currencies include the Pound from the UK, the Indian Rupee, the Japanese Yen, the Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, the Canadian Dollar, the Brazilian Real, the Swiss Franc, the Mexican Peso, the Russian Ruble, and more.

Fiat vs. Digital Currency

The disadvantages of fiat currency have led many of us to look for an alternative to centralized fiat money. This is where decentralized money, or cryptocurrency, comes in.

Fiat vs Digital Currency
Source: Devza / Digital currency against fiat money

Since Bitcoin’s initiation back in 2009, cryptocurrency has become a strong alternative to fiat money. Blockchain transactions take place through P2P networks, thus making cryptocurrency largely decentralized. With blockchain transactions, users can store their crypto in digital wallets and have more control over their finances than fiat money can ever give them.  

With robust security systems and private blockchain transactions, cryptocurrency is definitely shaping up to be a better investment than fiat money. In fact, Bitcoin is dubbed as ‘digital gold’ by many already due to its proven reliability as a store of value. 

When discussing investment choices, it’s vital to emphasize a commonly reiterated phrase in the investment community: “Do Your Own Research” (DYOR). This principle underscores the autonomy and variety that cryptocurrency and other digital assets offer, enabling individuals to make informed decisions. Ultimately, this flexibility empowers users to utilize fiat, crypto or stock according to their specific needs and preferences as each of them have their own set of use cases.


Cryptocurrency is yet to be accepted as a mainstream mode of payment by many countries, however. While the conventional fiat money is what the common people are used to, it’s time already to move forward with the technological advances of cryptocurrency, and the solutions it brings to fiat money issues like traceability and lack of security. 

In the upcoming times, cryptocurrency being widely accepted as an alternative to fiat currency can definitely result in positive global economic development.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How Fiat Currency Impacts Our Daily Lives? 

Under centralized financial systems, the issuing governments act as the central authority over fiat currency. The power of the government in inflating or deflating the value of fiat currency is significant in most countries. Government rules about the circulation of fiat currency and its printing amounts impact our daily lives through inflation, economic performance, and more. Further, fiat currency can also impact our lives through international trades, since currency exchange rates can set off things like economic growth, inflation, and volatile interest rates.

2. How much Fiat Currency does the Government Mint? 

Fiat currency falls under centralized finance, and thus its circulation is controlled by each country’s government. The responsibility of monitoring the flow of legal tender and its requirement is given to a Central Bank by the government. 

Federal agencies and Central Banks work together to determine how much of a certain fiat currency is in circulation globally, and if there is a requirement for more. Usually, any country’s Central Bank keeps foreign currency and gold reserves to mint more money against them when required. 

The inflation situations, GDP, and government policies may affect a country’s fiat currency. Issues like hyperinflation render keeping tabs on the amount of money printed absolutely necessary.

3. Why is Fiat Money Valuable?

Fiat money is not backed by any physical reserves; instead, fiat money finds its value in the faith of the holder and the government that accepts it as legal tender. What’s more, since a government charges tax in the currency it issues, the fiat money also gets its value through this relation. 

4. Is Bitcoin a Fiat Currency?

A fiat currency is a product of centralized finance where it gets its value from a central authority. Bitcoin on the other hand promotes decentralization and is supported by a decentralized blockchain network, instead of any central authority. Therefore, Bitcoin can not be deemed a fiat currency.

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Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). They do not necessarily purport to reflect the opinions or views of Shardeum foundation.

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