Virtual money is much older than cash

The moment one casts matters on a broad historical scale, though, the first thing one learns is that there’s nothing new about virtual money. Actually, this was the original form of money. Credit system, tabs, even expense accounts, all existed long before cash. These things are as old as civilization itself. True, we also find that history tends to move back and forth between periods dominated by bullion—where it’s assumed that gold and silver are money—and periods where money is assumed to be an abstraction, a virtual unit of account. But historically, credit money comes first, and what we are witnessing today is a return of assumptions that would have been considered obvious common sense in, say, the Middle Ages—or even ancient Mesopotamia.

This is one of the many passages and charts Alessandro finds in books and articles on a daily basis. They span many disciplines, including:

Alessandro occasionally adds a personal note to them. The whole collection is available here.