Paper currency Information

A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. Along with coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money. With the exception of non-circulating high-value or precious metal commemorative issues, coins are used for lower valued monetary units, while banknotes are used for higher values.

The banknote was first developed in China during the Tang and Song dynasties, starting in the 7th century. Its roots were in merchant receipts of deposit during the Tang Dynasty , as merchants and wholesalers desired to avoid the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions. During the Yuan Dynasty, banknotes were adopted by the Mongol Empire. In Europe, the concept of banknotes was first introduced during the 14th century, with proper banknotes appearing in the 17th century.

Originally, precious and semi-precious metals were made into coins and were used to negotiate and settle trades. Banknotes offer an alternative bearer form of money, but the advantages and disadvantages between the two forms of bearer money are complex and so in different circumstances the overall advantage can lie with either form.

Wikipedia, Paper currency, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_currency (as of Mar 28, 2011)

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