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OANDA writes the book on currency - Cowries to Crypto: The History of Money, Currency and Wealth

16th February, 2021
Media relations contact

Melinda Earsdon
Global Head of Public Relations
Phone: +65 6579 8288

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A global leader in online multi-asset trading services, currency data and analytics, OANDA has literally written the book on currency, publishing Cowries to Crypto: The History of Money, Currency and Wealth.

An extraordinary book, Cowries to Crypto takes you on a playful romp through world history, providing an entertaining account of the creation of money, from the earliest forms of barter to the introduction of coins, paper notes and digital currencies.

Written by award-winning financial journalist, Jame DiBiasio, and beautifully narrated through a series of witty illustrations drawn by renowned satirical cartoonist, Harry Harrison, Cowries to Crypto tells the tale of how money came to be.

From cavemen to fintech whizzes – an illustrated journey

When did money grow on trees? What do whale’s teeth have to do with money? Did women invent maths? Mesopotamia v Lehman Brothers – what’s the worst financial crisis in history? What can the Ancient Greeks teach us about budgeting? Will the yuan overtake the dollar’s dominance?

Cowries to Crypto is packed with amazing facts, fascinating tales and financial wisdom, sharing everything we need to know about the history of money to understand its future. Taking us back in time to the most important moments in money’s evolution, the book reveals how it shaped civilisations, discoveries and battles.

The book begins with our ancestors bartering salt for spears, before transporting us to the caves counting was invented in, exploring why the Pharaohs never cottoned on to exchanging gold and how the Chinese invented coins, before the Ancient Greeks astonished the world by what they did with them.

It examines why, from The Age of Discovery onwards, world power would increasingly be based on credit, how the Dutch invented the stock market and became the first capitalist society, celebrates the birth of the Bank of England, dabbles in the world’s greatest financial crises, charts the rise to dominance of the dollar and explores how now, in the age of cryptocurrency, the value of different currencies has come to be based on mathematics and open-source code rather than faith in governments.

Why this book matters

  • As COVID-19 accelerates us towards a cashless society and FinTech transforms banking, this book examines what the evolution of money can teach us about its future
  • A whistle-stop tour through the amazing innovations that transformed us from cavemen counting on walls, inventing the coin and creating the world’s first bank to cryptocurrency
  • A revealing insight into how money shapes society and how financial innovations have triggered some of the biggest events in history, from the Roman Empire’s accession to the discovery of the New World
  • Written by award-winning financial journalist Jame DiBiasio, founder and editor of DigFin Group and author of The Story of Angkor
  • Illustrations by renowned satirical cartoonist Harry Harrison, whose work features in publications including Time Magazine, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal & South China Morning Post

Cowries to Crypto: The History of Money, Currency and Wealth is available now in print and on Kindle: