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Currency is a universal medium of exchange for goods and services in an economy, and it is believed to have been used as such dating back at least 3,000 years. Before this, it is assumed that bartering, which is the exchange of goods and services without the use of money, was likely used. Throughout history, currency has taken many different forms. Some examples include coins, barley, gold, silver, squirrel pelts, 8-ton carved limestone rocks, salt, knives, cowrie shells, stamps, potato mashers, peppercorn, tea bricks, and cheese.Modern currency is much more uniform and regulated. Major currencies in the world today take on the physical form of paper bills or coins which are easily carried on a person, but most of a person's currency is typically stored in digital accounts. The value of these currencies is backed by the promise of their issuing governments, which makes them fiat money (currency declared by the government to be an official medium of payment but is not backed by a physical commodity). Before fiat money existed, currencies were usually backed by a commodity such as gold or silver.
Whether exchange rates are better abroad or domestically depends a lot on the destination, but generally, it is better to exchange domestically before traveling to a foreign destination. There are fewer time constraints, and exchanging domestically removes the possibility of encountering difficulties that may arise from trying to exchange money in an unfamiliar region where a person may not speak the language. In the U.S., some banks and credit unions provide exchange services that normally provide better exchange rates and lower fees than other methods. It is also possible to order foreign currency on some currency converting websites that will deliver it via mail. In addition, international airports normally have kiosks or stores for currency exchange. They are convenient, but they normally have the worst exchange rates and highest fees. Currencies have existed for several millennia; they arose primarily as a replacement for the ineffective barter trade. The functions that a currency took on (means of payment, value storage, unit of value) were essential to the development of an efficient economy with division of labor. In the beginning, different items were used as currency, including metals, pearls, shells or agricultural products. Minting of coins from precious metals was developed about 2500 years ago in ancient Greece; paper money has existed for about 1000 years. (Source: origin.markets.businessinsider.com)