The United Nations has calculated that there are as many as 180 different currencies worldwide. Alongside the well-known currencies such as the euro, the US dollar, the British pound and the Japanese yen, there are also currencies such as dinar, peso, real or even such exotic currencies as the Angolan kwanza, the Bolivian boliviano, the Ethiopian birr, the Gambian dalasi or the Ghanaian cedi. Here is what you should know about the world currencies.
The weight of the world's currencies can be defined in many ways. Without a doubt, the best ranking of the most popular currencies is the one analyzing their percentage share in all transactions worldwide. However, some people for whom the currency of the country they grew up in will be the most crucial one.
When discussing world currencies, it's hard to ignore the most well-known ones spoken about almost every day. These are the US dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen, the pound sterling, the Swiss franc, the Chinese yuan, the Australian dollar and the Canadian dollar. The list represents the most popular currency pairs, which are willingly exchanged by investors and regular people who need to buy currency.
Nature influences the names
Dollars, pounds, yen, krona, francs, dinars, pesos or reals - most of us are probably aware of these currency names. However, there are some that we have probably never heard of.
We can find an example even across Europe. In Albania, the lek is an official tender. It is divided into 100 qindarka. The latter, however, due to inflation, are no longer used very often. The name of the Albanian currency comes from a prince who lived in the 15th century - Lekë Dukagjini.
Not far from Albania is Croatia, which also uses a currency with a specific name. Due to the popularity of the country as a holiday destination, it is well known to tourists. We are talking about the kuna, which in Croatian means marten.
The skins of these tiny predators were once used as a means of payment in medieval Croatia. Over time they have been replaced by money, the name of which refers to ancient traditions. One kuna is divided into 100 lipas, which in Croatian means linden.
Staying with the animal etymology, it is impossible to omit the quetzal, the official currency of Guatemala. The currency owes its name to a bird considered by the locals to be a symbol of beauty. The feathers of this animal used to serve as adornments for rulers and wealthy people.
According to pre-Columbian mythology, the quetzal is a symbol of beauty and represents freedom. It was once believed that after capturing this bird, its heart would stop beating because it could not stand being held captive for too long. Therefore, after catching a quetzal, hunters would tear out its most beautiful feathers and let it go free. In Guatemala, the quetzal is not only the name of the currency. Its image is also visible on the country's flag and coat of arms.
Amid exotic names
Throughout the world, you can find many currencies with specific and strange names. In Zambia, we can pay with the Zambian kwacha, divided into 100 equally exotic ngwee. In Venezuela, there are bolivars, which, due to raging inflation in this country, are currently worth hardly anything.
Many unusual currencies can be found in the countries of the Americas. Costa Rican colón, Honduran lempira, Nicaraguan cordoba, Panamanian balboa - these are only some of the currencies of Central America. It gets more interesting in the Caribbean. Although local varieties of dollars, pesos or even euros dominate there, we can find such interesting currencies as Aruban florin, Haitian gourde or Netherlands Antillean guilder.
Manat, paʻanga, somoni, lilangeni, leone, tālā, escudo, sol, guaraní, balboa - all these names stand for the currency of one of the world's countries. However, you don't have to look far to find a currency with a complicated pronunciation.
For foreigners, the Polish zloty can serve as an example. The hard "zet" at the beginning of a word can be quite a problem for people who speak Shakespeare's language since birth.
In these countries, you will be a millionaire...
It is said that the first million must be stolen. Of course, this statement has little to do with reality, especially if we go, for example, to Iran. There, having a million rials is nothing special. In fact, it is about 24 USD.
Iran's currency is one of the cheapest in the world. For this reason, locals often use toman. One toman equals 10 rials. So if someone asks us for 200 toman, in reality, they mean 2000 rials.
However, this will soon change. To save the country's currency, the Iranian parliament approved on May 5, 2020, the denomination of the rial and the introduction of a new currency - the toman. One toman will be worth 10 thousand rials.
In Venezuela, which is struggling with hyperinflation, it is not difficult to become a millionaire. In a country overwhelmed by a huge economic crisis, just 1 USD is enough to buy three million bolivars. Other currencies which can be described as the cheapest are Vietnamese dongs, Indonesian rupees, Uzbekistani soʻm or Guinean francs.
And in these, you will feel the strength of currency
At the other extreme are countries that can boast of having some of the strongest currencies in the world. Many people certainly believe that the British pound holds the title of the world's most expensive currency. However, this is not true. It is overtaken by the Kuwaiti dinar, for which you have to pay more than 3.32 USD.
Why precisely this currency enjoys such a high price against, among others, the US dollar? This is caused by the characteristics of the country's economy and its dependence on oil production. In addition to a stable economic situation and wealth, Kuwait is also known for its meagre unemployment rate.
For similar reasons, the most expensive currencies in the world include the Bahraini dinar, which is pegged to the US dollar. To the USD it has remained stable and steady since 2005. The Bahrain currency's success can be attributed to its economy, which, like Kuwait, is based on the extraction and export of "black gold".
Another currency with high purchasing power is the Omani rial, valued at 2.60 USD. This currency owes its strength mainly to the strategic location of Oman on the Arabian Peninsula and its well-developed economy.
The Omani rial is such a strong currency that the Omani authorities decided to introduce ½ and ¼ rial banknotes into circulation. Moreover, like the Bahrain dinar, the Omani rial is also pegged to the US dollar.
The Jordanian dinar is also one of the world' strongest currencies, although its exchange rate (around 1.40 USD) is not as impressive as the previously mentioned three. The British pound, the Cayman Islands dollar, the euro, the Swiss franc and the US dollar also prove their strength.