[[quoteright:295:[[ComicBook/ActionComics http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/action_comics_173b.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:295:I read it in a comic. It must be true.]]

-> ''"...Do they not see that only Dust can give them what they want? For it is money and power and magic all intertwined in one miraculous substance! It is the essence that binds our civilizations together."''
-->-- '''The Roving Clans''', ''Videogame/EndlessLegend''

Normally, your money is not inherently useful. Sure, you can melt down coins and make them into some sort of art project, or you can try to use your paper money [[MoneyToBurn to start a fire]], but for the most part, money only has value because people agree that it does. The moment people lose faith in it, money will be worth nothing. (The proper term for this is fiat money.)

Not so with Practical Currency. You can actually use it for something. Maybe it's some kind of food, medicine, or weaponry. It's not too different from a barter economy--it's still goods in exchange for goods and services--but unlike barter, it also serves as a universal medium of exchange (people who don't need the item itself will still accept it because they can trade it for something else) and a universal measure of an item's value.

In the real world, there is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_money commodity money]]. Not all commodity money is practical currency, however: gold, for example, until very recent times has very few not entirely decorative uses -- mostly, tableware -- but made good commodity money because it is pretty easy to tell what it is (to the uninitiated, silver, aluminum, and steel all look similar at first glance), rare (but not too rare, or else not enough people would have it to make many trades with), divisible (hard to make change with one cow), does not corrode, and had a generally-stable global supply (the last two combine to make it a relatively stable source to put your money in - see the RealLife entry on rice for what happens when it isn't).

WeirdCurrency is a SuperTrope; EnergyEconomy is a SubTrope. See also GoldSilverCopperStandard. This is often used as a way to justify CastFromMoney.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The metabugs in ''Anime/DennouCoil''. Useful for making programs to muck around in cyberspace, and as such to playful kids they're quite the commodity.
* In one memorable scene in ''Manga/SilverSpoon'', the upperclassmen look like they're about to mug Hachiken for his bacon, but it turns out they just wanted to trade him other farm products for it.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''Hex'', the [[AfterTheEnd post-apocalyptic]] [[RecycledInSPACE re-skin]] of ''ComicBook/JonahHex'', the standard currency are Soames: pills used to decontaminate radioactive water.
* Water in ''ComicBook/TankGirl''
* In ''ComicBook/{{Bone}}'', residents of the valley use things like eggs and livestock as currency. Phoney finds this out when he tries to spend Boneville dollars at Lucius's bar, and ends up having to WorkOffTheDebt.
* In ''ComicBook/BatmanNoMansLand'', Gotham City is cut off from the rest of the country and thus has no currency, with everyone using a barter system. Bullets are particularly prized; one man is mugged by a guy with a gun, and realizes he is in no danger. If the mugger actually had a bullet in that gun, the bullet would be worth a ''lot'' more than the paltry supplies he hopes to steal.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* The ''sol''s and ''lune''s, Equestria's original currency in the FanFic/TriptychContinuum. While the coins themselves are made of gold and silver, that wasn't the original source of their value. Their value derived from the inscription on the edge: "Good for nearly all Princess Labor, Public and Private". Any pony could, if they desired, walk up to the palace and trade an appropriate number of these coins in to get the Princesses to perform any of a wide number of tasks for them. And the coins had value even outside of Equestria, because they could be spent to pay for the raising of Sun and Moon.

[[folder:Film - Live-Action]]
* In the Music/ElvisPresley film ''Film/JailhouseRock'', his prison mentor is the richest man in prison, with hundreds of cartons of cigarettes in his cell.
* In ''[[MadMax Mad Max 2]]'', car fuel (usually gasoline) is the only reliable currency.
* ''Film/KinDzaDza'' has matchsticks (made of natural wood and sulfur) useable this way on Pluck.
* In ''Film/InTime'', time from one's ''lifespan'' is used as money. As you might expect, this creates an UnstableEquilibrium where the rich are functionally immortal and KillThePoor is taken very, ''very'' literally.
* In ''Film/SchindlersList'', during the Holocaust, Oscar Schindler convinces the Jewish business community to fund his factory [[LoopholeAbuse by offering them surplus goods that they can use for barter in the ghetto,]] since he cannot pay them in money as Jews are not allowed to own any.
* In ''Film/TheForceAwakens'' the closest thing to currency seen on ScavengerWorld Jakku are packets of dried dough that bake quickly, measured in "portions". The junk dealer Rey sells her findings to usually pays her fractions of a portion.

* In Hannu Rajaniemi's ''Literature/TheQuantumThief'', the currency on Mars is ''time''. When one runs out, their mind gets put into a robotic Quiet work body for a few years to earn more. Think [[JustForFun/XMeetsY community service meets forced labor]].
** In the sequel novel, ''Fractal Prince'', the city of Sirr uses a more disturbing form of currency: human minds. The city only exists because of the Wildcode Desert that protects it from Sobornost assimilation, but the Sobornost lust for all the minds forcefully uploaded into the Wildcode GreyGoo that they can't touch, so they hire the baseline humans of Sirr to "mine" them from the 'Code one at a time in return for scraps of their posthuman technology.
* Much [[DiscussedTrope discussion]] of this in ''Discworld/MakingMoney'', including pointing out that gold is worthless on a desert island, that it's also worthless in a gold mine (where the medium of exchange is the pickaxe), and the contrast between what happens when you bury gold vs. when you bury a potato. Oh, and in the end they decide to base the currency on {{golem}}s. The idea of paper currency started in the previous book, when people began using postage stamps as a means of exchange.
** Commerce in the villages of Lancre, where hard currency is a rarity, is more likely to be negotiated in chickens than in coins.
* Water on [[SingleBiomePlanet Dune]] itself and melange (spice) everywhere else in ''Franchise/{{Dune}}''. Spice is vital for the survival of the Spacing Guild, as it is necessary in order for their Navigators to use limited precognition to safely navigate through space.
* In the ''Literature/{{Uglies}}'' trilogy, "The Smoke" community uses instant food packs as currency, which makes [[TheMole newcomer Tally]] quite wealthy by the community's standards.
* Iron in Creator/SergeyLukyanenko's ''Literature/SeekersOfTheSky'', made so because of its rarity (ItMakesSenseInContext). A character even mentions using gold for currency, only for another character to say that, while gold is valuable, it doesn't have a lot of use. Of course, you better keep all your iron bars in a dry environment. Since many wealthy people also know the [[FunctionalMagic Word]], they can keep all their iron valuables safe and dry in the [[PocketDimension Cold]] to retrieve as needed.
** There is a scene where the protagonist sees a flagship of TheEmpire with its sides gold-plated (to show off, not for armor). He muses that they could've easily afforded to ''iron''-plate the entire ship, but it would, of course, rust at sea.
* In Creator/MaryGentle's novel ''Literature/RatsAndGargoyles'', humans are not allowed cash, with a few exceptions; on one occasion, Mayor Tannakin Spatchet tries to pay the White Crow with a wheelbarrow full of brass pans, cheese, candles, paper, and so on.
* ''Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy'' has fairly standard coinage, but it's also the go-to weapon for [[ExtraOredinary steelpushers]], to the point that steel mistings are called coinshots.
** And this coinage is backed by Atium, an ultra-rare metal that gives Mistborn the ability to [[CombatClairvoyance see a short distance into the future]]. While having your economy be dependent on a substance that gets regularly used up may seem like a bad idea, Atium seems to be renewable, and the people who own the mine are ''very'' rich, even after the [[GodEmperor Lord Ruler]] takes his cut.
* Another Sanderson example, from ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': The currency is ''spheres,'' tiny chips of gemstones encased in marble-sized glass balls. But they're not valuable because they're gemstones, but because the gemstones can act as magical foci for various things, particularly ''Soulcasting'' (transmutation magic). Diamonds are the least valuable, because they have the least useful Soulcasting property, whereas emeralds, which can be used to turn stones into food, are the most valuable denomination.
** There's one ''other'' use for spheres: they trap [[{{Mana}} Stormlight]], though this is mostly just used for [[MundaneUtility illumination]]....unless you're a Surgebinder, who powers one's abilities using Stormlight. Thus, [[CastFromMoney the money can be used to fuel superhuman magical powers]], though few people actually ''know'' this.
* In Creator/TimPowers' ''Literature/DinnerAtDeviantsPalace'', the prevailing currency in a post-apocalyptic California is alcohol. It's a fuel, a disinfectant, and a beverage as well as money.
* In Creator/GeneWolfe's ''Literature/BookOfTheShortSun'' series, the inhabitants of the Whorl (a giant GenerationShip at the end of its journey, now orbiting a pair of potentially-inhabitable planets) have taken to using ''circuit boards'' as currency due to their scarcity. This, of course, means that the ship's already-strained technology is failing rapidly, and the theft of boards from the ship's few operational shuttles means that soon there'll be no way out for those who haven't already left.
* In Creator/GordonRDickson's ''Literature/ChildeCycle'', the interstellar currency is largely based on skilled professionals. If a planet needs someone or something, they hire out a specialist in exchange. The economy of the Fourteen Worlds is based on the trade of contracts, which not only affects political decisions, but also drives the plot of several stories.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the TV series ''Series/LoveAndWar'' waitress Nadine is an aging socialite whose husband is in prison from the Savings & Loan scandal of the early Ninties. At one point she mentions she's going to visit him and bring 2 cartons of cigarettes in order to buy him his way out of his latest NoodleIncident.
* A side comment by a Free Jaffa merchant in ''Series/StargateSG1'' suggests that [[{{Unobtainium}} naquadah]] is used as currency, or at least a standard of measuring value for barter.
** It would have to be a specific kind of naquadah. Weapons grade naquadah is extremely dense, as shown in an episode where two Jaffa (who are much stronger than regular humans) are carrying a weapons grade naquadah brick the size of a laptop. Daniel, being physically enhanced by an alien artifact, knocks out the Jaffa and stashes the brick into his backpack, having no trouble carrying it (why the backpack didn't rip is not clear). When the effect of the artifact wears off, he has to dump the naquadah in order to even walk. There is also the liquid kind.
* In ''Series/{{Jeremiah}}'''s post-apocalyptic world canned food is used as the main currency.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** 2[[superscript:nd]] Edition ''Maztica Campaign'' boxed set. The Mazticans use cocoa beans and ears of mayz (corn) as money.
** [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Giff]] in ''TabletopGame/{{Spelljammer}}'' use smokepowder (gunpowder) as currency and prefer to be paid in it.
** Invoked in ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'', where the primary currency is steel coins. After the [[WorldSundering Cataclysm]], metals with no practical value like gold fell out of favor. Subverted, however, in that fans have pointed out that [[FridgeLogic there are many reasons why steel coins don't make a lot of sense]], not least of which is the fact that it rarely costs as many steel coins to ''buy'' a sword as would need to be melted down in order to ''make'' one.
** In the ''TabletopGame/{{Mystara}}'' setting:
*** The Red Steel region has Cinnabryl, a metal which nullifies the effects of toxic contaminants in the soil. When depleted by prolonged contact with the afflicted, it becomes the titular red steel, which has no curative powers but is of higher quality than ordinary steel. Cinnabryl is used in high-value coins as well as jewelry, while red steel coins are lower-end currency. Because cinnabryl coins are constantly being depleted by whomever can afford them, only constant cinnabryl-mining keeps the economy from collapsing.
*** High-end coinage in TheMagocracy of Glantri is permeated with magic, which wealthy wizards can utilize to aid in certain arcane laboratory procedures.
** 4[[superscript:th]] Edition introduces ''residuum'', a metallic dust infused with magic. It's a common ''de facto'' currency in higher-level play since it's ten thousand times more valuable than gold by weight and can power every variety of ritual magic, including the creation of magic items, in place of the normal [[EyeOfNewt spell components]].
** Gems are a high-value trade good that can be exchanged like currency, which comes in handy for the mages who need them as [[EyeOfNewt components]] or focus items for various spells.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}: Hell on Earth'': Although the game itself uses dollar values for convenience, it mentions that most places operate on a barter system and any spare 'cash' the characters have is usually in the form of easily transportable luxury items. Also, bullets are hard currency pretty much everywhere, due to consistently high demand and low or non-existent production.
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech:'' [=ComStar=]'s currency, the C-Bill, is based upon a fixed amount of transmission time on the organisation's [[SubspaceAnsible Hyper Pulse Generators]]. The exact amount seems to fluctuate, though its stability versus the currencies of the Great Houses, and that for inter-planetary communications, [=ComStar=] is for all intents and purposes the only game in town, make it very desirable. In the Dark Age, after the HPG network has collapsed aside from a few planets, the C-Bill has naturally become nearly worthless and an economic crisis has occurred throughout the Inner Sphere. One sourcebook mentions that because of all the instability, one of the most commonly used forms of "currency" has now become crates of ammunition.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', jade is the most common Magical Material, and has significant practical use as a construction material, but is used by [[TheEmpire the Realm]] as a currency (jade coinage is actually significantly ''more'' valuable in its practical uses than the value attached to the coins). This is partially because it helps control the flow of jade, partially because it enhances the mystique of the Realm (ruled by the Dragon Blooded, the Exalted associated with jade), and partially to create a sense of legitimacy and continuity with the Old Realm.
** The [[GoldenAge Old Realm]] actually tied the practical and monetary values of jade together; ritualised financial transactions were necessary for keeping large portions of the world from dissolving, and jade's natural magical stabilizing properties made it the ideal currency for such transactions.
* In ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'', it's relatively easy to whip up normal funds by magic, so mages often demand payment in ''tass'', a form of condensed and distilled {{Mana}} that has a wide variety of uses: it can make spells stronger or safer to cast, some magic needs an expenditure of mana, and a truly hard-up mage can burn their mana reserves for a quick-and-dirty form of healing.
* Trade is implied to be this in ''TabletopGame/StarRealms''. The starting units that provide Trade are not merchant craft but rather Scouts and Explorers - ship types that usually used to gather intelligence and scientific information respectively. Such data is useful in itself in research or navigation, but it can also be used in barter as well.
* ''TabletpGame/{{GURPS}} AfterTheEnd'' has rifle cartridges as currency.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Gothic}}'': In the penal colony, magic ore is used as a currency. It is supported by the fact that the outside world desperately needs this ore and is ready to give food, booze, and hookers in exchange for it. You can also find coins, which unlike most objects have zero value.
* In some of the ''SonicTheHedgehog'' games, rings are often used as a currency. Rings have had practical uses (such as protection) since the beginning of the series.
* ''VideoGame/SystemShock 2'' has [[{{Nanomachines}} nanite]] packs as a basic exchange unit.
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars''
** The game uses gold and platinum for its official currency, but characters can only hold 100 platinum on their person at any given time: enough to buy anything from an NPC, but nowhere near enough for trades in the player market. Thus, the ''de facto'' currency is ectoplasm, chosen for its use in crafting rare armour. It's measured in "globs" and is bright pink; its currency symbol is e, as in 100e.
*** Players base the trade value of ectoplasm on the current price of buying ectoplasm from a material trader NPC. As this price can go up or down based on how much ectoplasm he has "in stock", the trade value actually fluctuates based on ectoplasm supply.
** Zaishen Keys are used somewhat less widely. They're used to open a chest containing rewards, which also progresses an in-game achievement. The biggest benefit to using Zaishen Keys over ectoplasm is that there is no game controlled market, allowing for a relatively stable price.
** Armbraces of Truth are tokens used to buy collectible armor skins. They are similar to Zaishen Keys in having no game controlled market, but are much more difficult to acquire in comparison to both the keys and ectoplasm. Where keys and ectoplasm both run in the range of 5 to 6 platinum, a single Armbrace can be worth over twenty ectoplasm.
** Pre-Searing characters cannot acquire ectoplasm, so high-end trades are instead based on black dye, an item used to [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin dye items black]]. It is the rarest dye and thus most valuable, even in the main market.
* In a similar manner, the ''VideoGame/DiabloII'' community used certain well-known "rare" items (well, they drop rarely, but given the size of the playerbase there are still tens of thousands of them) such as the traditional Stone of Jordan ring as currencies. Though each trade was effectively a barter, valuable items would have an agreed-upon market value in, say, Stones of Jordan or Zod Runes. Later, due to a mechanics update, chipped gems (the "least valuable" kind) became especially useful in crafting, and became the de facto newbie currency (for players still too young to trade in Stones of Jordan).
* In ''VideoGame/Metro2033'' and ''VideoGame/MetroLastLight'', the primary form of currency is pre-apocalyptic, military-grade ''bullets''. When fired from a normal rifle[[note]]read: "not the Bastard"[[/note]], the damage they deal is ''enormous'' compared to the ammo the Metro produces. One can also exchange "Metro" rounds (low quality, recycled ammunition) for military rounds - though the skills and tools remain to make ammunition, TheyDontMakeThemLikeTheyUsedTo.
* Souls are the standard currency in ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'' and its SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' since they are a source of great power. Some unlucky people in ''Demon's Souls'' actually need souls to ''exist'' since they (like yourself) are already dead and need souls to keep their own souls from fading away.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' is some kind of an example, since its currency is Meat. [[SubvertedTrope You can't eat it,]] [[DoubleSubversion but you can make "meat paste" to combine items, and smith the Meat into weapons and armor.]]
* ''VideoGame/FreedroidRPG'' trades in Valuable Circuits, which also turns all droids into MoneySpider.
* ''VideoGame/EVEOnline'' uses ISK as its currency, but in-game time cards also act as currency, both for in-game and real currency, since it can be purchased with either.
* Possibly in ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClank''. The series features all kind of technology, and the currency you collect is bolts. But we're never told for sure whether people use the bolts to create more machines, or whether there's a difference between bolts used in machinery and bolts used for money.
* Zigzagged in the PlayerGeneratedEconomy of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2''. The main currencies are various hats, specifically rare and/or limited-edition ones, such as the Earbuds (only released during the week or so when ''Team Fortress 2'' was released for Apple computers) or Bill's Hat (a promotional item for the ''Left 4 Dead'' series). These are completely cosmetic, but are used as a form of "currency" when bartering doesn't quite work out. A straight version of this trope is Refined Metal, which can be used to craft almost any weapon in the game.
** There's also crate keys -- they can be used to open crates (which have items in them, including a 1% chance of getting an especially valuable "unusual" hat with a particle effect), or simply traded for other things.
** The problem with the hat backed economy is that hats ''have no set value''. When using earbuds, the demand for them kept their value high but when the demand fell the economy plummeted badly as things were tied to the value of buds. With keys, they have a set price and are backed with real currency and therefore they're less likely to lose value, which is partially why [=TF2=]'s main trading site, backpack.tf, switched to them.
* In the ''{{VideoGame/Fallout}}'' series, bottlecaps are normally WeirdCurrency instead, but in games where you can craft bottlecap mines... In addition, ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' gives you the crafting recipe for filling a shotshell with silver coins, courtesy of Caesar's Legion.
** One mission involves a represenative of the [[MegaCorp Crimson Caravan Company]] sending you to find an operating cap-making machine and shut it down, as any newly-made caps lower the value of the currency. She also notes that people waste caps when they use them as land mines.
** The setting's equivalent of the gold standard is this as well, after a fashion. Caps are backed by the most precious resource in the wasteland: Clean drinking water. Which doesn' help the New California Republic, as their gold-backed currency has taken a dive in value after losing their gold reserves in the NCR-Brotherhood War.
* In the {{Roguelike}} ''[[VideoGame/FTLFasterThanLight FTL: Faster Than Light]]'', the "scrap" you collect throughout the universe can be used to pay merchants for repairs, supplies, or new weapons and systems. Or you could actually use it as spare parts to upgrade your existing systems, which also makes this a mix between [[Main/ExperiencePoints Experience Points]] and currency.
* Another roguelike, ''{{Videogame/Eldritch}}'', has "artifacts" which can be used as currency in the stores or as fuel for your magic spells.
* In ''VideoGame/PathOfExile'', the economy is based on using a barter system due to the fact that the continent of Wraeclast is a penal colony where gold is more or less useless. Rather than money, selling items to shopkeepers gets you scrolls to identify equipment as well as jewels that augment the stats of your equipment.
* ''[[VideoGame/AntarcticAdventure Penguin Adventure]]'' has penguins using [[StockAnimalDiet fish]] as a medium of exchange.
* Dust in ''Videogame/EndlessSpace'', ''Videogame/EndlessLegend'', and ''VideoGame/DungeonOfTheEndless'', is an almost magical substance made of {{nanomachines}} created by the [[PreCursors Endless]]. All factions (bar the [[RockMonster Harmony]]) use it as their currency. In ''Endless Legend'', set on the medieval LostColony of Auriga, the Roving Clans revere the substance, being a [[ProudMerchantRace nation of traders]], even though they do not fully understand it, and in ''Dungeon of the Endless'' there are merchants who trade Dust. Dust is also the lifeblood of the Broken Lords, who had to encase their souls in AnimatedArmor sustained by Dust in order to survive Auriga's [[JustBeforeTheEnd collapsing climate]]. In-game this is represented by (most) empires being able to speed up building upgrades and recruiting units by 'spending' their Dust.
* The bushels of grain produced by your fields in ''VideoGame/{{Hamurabi}}'' can be used to [[ConstructAdditionalPylons buy additional land]].
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'' series the currency is the Resource Unit (RU for short), an amount of mined resources that can be used to build starships but the Bentusi will take as currency in their trade.
* Similarly, the Earth starbase in ''[[VideoGame/StarControl Star Control II]]'' used RU as a credit system representing raw materials that could be used to supply their replicators and build upgrades for your ship. Other factions had their own currencies, as well; the Druuge traded in [[HumanResources slaves]], while the Melnorme were [[KnowledgeBroker information brokers]].
* In the ''VideoGame/MegaManLegends'' series, while the currency is still called "zenny," money in this world is not real money, but quantum refractors, which are used to generate energy. Particularly large refractors are used to power machines, but smaller and weaker refractors are traded as money. Nobody knows how to make more refractors, but they were used to power all the LostTechnology left behind by the Ancients, including the Reaverbots. This explains why robotic enemies in ancient ruins [[MoneySpider drop money when they explode]], and why there's a GlobalCurrency ([[ScavengerWorld resources are scarce]] and [[EnergyEconomy everyone needs an extra refractor in case energy runs low]]).
* Macca in ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' games is represented as odd bronze coins, but in fact is a form of PureEnergy edible to demons and necessary when summoning them from the Compendium, and as such, is a hot commodity on world suffering from demonic invasions. In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'', Macca is also used to power the ''Red Sprite''[='=]s facilities, hence why you need to pony up Macca to heal, buy items, etc. even on the ship.
* Gold's not of much use in ''VideoGame/GrimDawn'', it being set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Bits of iron serve as the main currency instead.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/EscapeFromTerra'', the primary medium of exchange on Ceres is grams of gold, but paper backed by water, Coca-Cola, and shares in asteroid mines is also mentioned. [[http://www.bigheadpress.com/eft?page=25]]
* In Webcomic/WeaponBrown, batteries and rations are universally accepted as currency.


[[folder:Western Animation]]
* At least a couple ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' continuities have [[{{Phlebotinum}} Energon]] as both a currency and... Cybertronian food, I guess?
** It is also [[AlienBlood their blood]], and literally the blood of their home planet.
*** So... [[EpilepticTrees Transformers are]] [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampires]]?
** ''And'' it is also the ammunition for their energy-based weaponry, and it powers their non-sentient machinery as well. Transformers can't really do anything without Energon, which is why they've fought wars over the stuff.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Many ancient "coins" were some other kind of good that was/were spontaneously promoted to this role by the barter economy just because they are compact, common, and valuable. Knife billets or small furs come to mind. Precious metals became universal the same way, but mostly for decorative value.
** Deer pelts were sometimes used as currency, since they were very useful in making tent walls, blankets, and clothing. This may be the origin of a "buck", the American slang word for a dollar.
** Squirrel pelts were often used as the smallest form of currency, and the price of larger skins was counted in terms of how their size compared to them.
* Some countries use ''cell phone minutes'' as currency. This is most notable in Africa, where cell phones are the go-to method of developing communications infrastructure (towers are easier and cheaper to construct than landlines).
* Medieval Japan used rice as currency (the ''Koku'', or ~150 liters, being defined as the standard ration of rice for a soldier for a year).
** And ran headlong into the economic crisis, because advances in agriculture and increased wealth (and thus bargaining power) of the city merchants led to the collapse of the rice prices. Which meant that the country-based daimyos and the samurai class, who were traditionally paid in rice, became practically penniless.
** Japan also used gold coins known as ryô that the Imperial authorities tried to peg to the value of a koku of rice, but, as with many commodity currencies the relative values of gold and rice fluctuated wildly over time.
* Colonial Virginia (at least) used tobacco as a form of currency, and the certificates issued for delivering tobacco to warehouses were the first truly American currency.
* Real life Mayans and Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency. Therefore, the rich could afford drinks like xocolātl (from which we get the word Chocolate) more often.
** And just to prove that people have always been the same, archaeologists have found forged cocoa beans, made from (among other things) clay.
* Cigarettes are a common form of currency in prisons.
** And in the late 1940's occupied Berlin.
** In some prisons where tobacco is banned or hard to acquire, prisoners use postage stamps instead, since they're not only legal but are small, easy to carry, and have a small round price.
** Now that most prisons have banned tobacco, cigarettes have become too valuable to be of practical use. Items from the commissary, usually packaged ramen noodles or canned fish, have replaced them.
* Vodka was often used as money in Russia during [[UsefulNotes/TheNewRussia the Nineties crisis]]. Sometimes still used, mostly in remote areas.
** Actually the use of vodka as currency predates the Nineties as it stated in the USSR due the government's (unsuccessful) attempts to restrict the sale of alcohol via such clever measures as destroying the vineyards (despite the country's drunks never being interested in wine), restricting the sales of alcohol only to that time of the day everyone must be working and even rationing vodka. Which led to vodka becoming this trope.
** People would also often receive small change in the form of matchboxes at some stores.
* In ancient Rome, soldiers were sometimes partially paid in salt.[[note]]This may seem strange in modern times where salt is abundant, but prior to the 20th century, salt was rare and difficult to retrieve and purify for consumption.[[/note]] Someone who wasn't worth what they were paid wasn't 'worth their salt.' In fact, the word 'salary' is based on the Latin word for salt, ''sal''. All that said, the ''salarium'' (the ancestor of the "salary") was not usually paid directly in salt, but rather was a quantity of money given to each soldier so he could buy salt on his own.
* During parts of history, rum has been used a currency in Europe and Australia. The [[UsefulNotes/AustralianStatesAndTerritories New South Wales]] Corps, one of the first European military forces, was also known as the Rum Corps because of the corps' major use of rum as a currency, as there wasn't a feasible alternative (shipping currency in would take up room that could be used for more useful things and local infrastructure wasn't developed enough to make their own). When William Bligh (of Bounty [[TheMutiny mutiny]] fame) tried to restrict the trade, it led to a rebellion suitably called the Rum Rebellion. Armed rebels temporarily took over the government, the only time this has ever happened in Australian history.
* Given the low worth of the Italian Lira, it wasn't really economic to make small value coins, even out of plastic, so sweets were often used instead. 21st century Mexico has reached this point also, with smaller coins than the 50-centavo piece being replaced by gum and the US dollar accepted in a lot of border regions.
* Inverted with the giant Rai stones of Yap, as documented on the WeirdCurrency page.
* All too common during times of hyperinflation. German history textbooks contain both pictures of ridiculous amount of currency being worthless (at one point in 1923 one Dollar was worth 4.2 ''Trillion'' Mark) and signs specifying "prices" like "One piece of coal" for the cheapest seat in a theater.
* In the coca-growing areas of rural Colombia, bags of cocaine base are commonly used as currency.