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The philosophy underpinning how money works

Whether it’s bullion or Bitcoin, its value always comes down to trust

By Ben Chu   July 2021

Mykhailo Polenok / Alamy Stock Photo

Something funny—or at least unusual—seems to be going on in the world of money. We’re besieged by headlines about Bitcoin. Facebook plans to launch a digital currency for its near-three billion users. Central banks around the world are also exploring setting up new digital tenders, even as they’ve been creating conventional money at record rates during the pandemic. In the face of all this, you don’t need a philosophical bent to start asking deep questions. What even is money? Where does its value come from?

In grappling with these queries, I decided to ask my six-year-old son what…

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