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Living Currency

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"Here I am, ya greedy bastard!"

Everyone knows that living things can be exchanged for other goods or currency, but sometimes they are traded so regularly they can be (and sometimes are) considered currency themselves. In this case, something sufficiently close to alive counts too, for instance: a completely autonomous Clockwork Creature.

A Sub-Trope to Weird Currency, if the organism is edible or produces some other useful commodity may be Practical Currency.


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  • The main character of Cryptoland is Connie, a coin.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Bone, residents of the valley use things like livestock as currency.
  • Wonder Woman once dealt with this concept: how do you establish a galactic currency when wildly-varying worlds use gold or steel or wood. The rather squicky solution that some unethical individuals come up with is using minds sucked out of their original bodies.

    Comic Strips 
  • In B.C., the cavemen use live clams as currency.

  • Childe Cycle: The interstellar currency is largely based on skilled professionals. If a planet needs someone or something, they hire out a specialist in exchange.
  • Discworld:
    • In the villages of Lancre, where hard currency is a rarity, commerce is more likely to be negotiated in chickens than in coins.
    • While not technically currency (as no one directly spends them), Making Money has Ankh-Morpork switch over from the Gold Standard to the Golem Standard; the value of money is guaranteed by being worth an equivalent amount of labor from the recently unearthed army of golems.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: On some planets, elderly relatives are used as currency.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Fiends use souls, in the form of lower fiends, as currency.
  • Eclipse Phase: On the Nine Lives syndicate's hidden space habitat Legba cortical stacks might be used as currency.
  • HoL: The currency is grobules, which are grobling eggs. If you hoard them too long, the groblings will hatch and attack their former owner.
  • Ironclaw: The Phelan tribes use cumalai, Domesticated Dinosaurs that are used like cattle, as a general measurement of value. For instance, an "exotic" slave from the kingdom of Calebria would cost two cumalai.
  • Pathfinder: Demons often use larvae, the form adopted by evil souls sent to the Abyss, as a cross between livestock and currency, as they will both consume them and exchange them for goods and services in an extensive barter system.

    Video Games 
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day, wads of bank notes are anthropomorphized. And foul-mouthed, too. At least they willingly let Conker grab them.
  • Demon's Souls: Souls are the standard currency in the game and in its spiritual successor Dark Souls, since they are a source of great power.
  • Darksiders: Vulgrim trades upgrades and items in exchange for souls.
  • Fallen London: The official currency is the Echo, but there are a wide variety of items used for barter that can also be bought and sold at the Echo Bazaar, including many varieties of soul. The Boatman will also accept Lucky Weasels and Sulky Bats in exchange for bringing the player back to the world of the living. A less obvious example is the Deep Amber used by the Rubbery Men, which is "alive" in the sense that they use it to collect life essence for their flesh-transforming experiments. And while you're in Polythreme, a land where everything is alive, all currency counts as "living"; the local currency is known for being especially treacherous.
  • Runescape: The TzHaar forge the bodies of their dead into obsidian coins, which are holy to them. They abandon the practice when they learn the Awful Truth that this treatment leaves the dead aware and in torment.
  • Star Control 2 has an alien race called the Druuge whose primary form of acceptable payment is...your own crew. And don't expect them to be well-treated, the gimmick of Druuge ships is that they can instantly recharge their slow batteries by tossing crewmembers into the furnace. You need to make at least one deal with them to complete the story too, and the game punishes you for doing so; if you do it once there will be a nasty rumor going around about you. Do it again, and the price of new crewmembers skyrockets, as no one wants to work for you now. Luckily, there are a few valuable artifacts scattered around the galaxy that the Druuge will accept as an alternate form of payment, so you can complete the campaign without ever selling out one of your crew.
  • Star Fox Adventures has scarab beetles as currency, with shell color denoting different denominations. They're usually found hiding under boulders.
  • Vangers: Beebs, harmless insects that spawn around wherever the player drives, are the setting's currency. They can be run over, which adds to the player's purse. Certain tasks require the player to gather a number of "fresh" beebs this way.
  • In King of Dragon Pass, cows are considered the measure of wealth in Orlanthian society; the more cows your clan can breed and maintain, the more prosperous it is. Everything else, like your trade goods, is measured by its value in cows.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Mike, Lu & Og: In "Money", the people of Albonquetine use pigs and crabs as currency until Mike introduces them to paper money.
  • The Simpsons: In one episode, Milhouse cries to Chief Wiggum that he can't go to juvenile hall because "they'll pass me around like currency!"
  • Teen Titans Go!: In "Two Bumblebees and a Wasp", Beast Boy starts his own currency system by using live bees/wasps as money.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Mr. Krabs trades his soul to The Flying Dutchman for the ability to talk to money. The talking currency appears as this, and they constantly tell Mr. Krabs to spend them. Something a penny pincher like him would do the least.
  • King: In one episode, King Russel sees that the kingdom of Under uses a bartering system, and tries to introduce the kingdom to the concept of currency. After hearing about slang terms for money, his royal assistants Vernon and Loopy opt to make frog-like creatures known as "greenbacks" the kingdom's currency. After the villainous Bob Wire obtained the kingdom's greenback population in his casino, the kingdom abandoned currency and went back to bartering.

    Real Life 
  • Cows, chickens, and other livestock were often used in the Middle Ages when barter systems were more common.


Connie the Coin

The mascot of Cryptoland.

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