Bullish, engages with millions, evolves over time but has lost credibility following high profile scandals, and Jimmy Carr hasn’t had an easy time of it either! From the 4pm price fix to the SNB sending the Swiss franc skyrocketing unexpectedly, the criticism levelled at the foreign exchange (FX) market in recent times makes the aforementioned comedian look like Mother Teresa.

Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but in the midst of all the negativity, here are ‘8 out of 10 stats’ to show the lighter side of the currency world.

To quote the tax avoider himself, ‘did you know for example’:

  1. Lend us a quid mate: The colloquial term for pound is ‘quid’, which is derived from the Latin term ‘quid pro quo’, which means ‘what for what’. Certainly not a phrase you would expect our ‘Buller, Buller, hear, hear’ Chancellor to use.
  2. Cash, can’t carry: The world’s largest coins were used in Alaska in 1950. At 3 feet in diameter, they weighed 90 lbs each! Having to create jumbo sized wallets may seem like a pain, but the $2,500 value would have made it worthwhile.
  3. Order, order: Forex traders have been under trial recently, as we know. But did you know that since the 12th century, a full judicial trial is held to test newly-minted coins? Called the Trial of the Pyx, this ceremony is held to ensure newly-minted coins conform to the required standards.
  4. Ola dolla bill y’all: Ever wondered where the $ symbol originated from? You guessed it, Spain! Ok, maybe not. Back in 1782, the U.S. selected the Spanish peso as the country’s currency. The abbreviation for the Spanish peso (PS) later transformed into a $.
  5. Bench breaking: Moving away from Spain, the word ‘bankrupt’ is from the Italian ‘bancarotta’ – which literally means ‘broken bench’. In the years of early banking, people did their business in public on a bench.
  6. That’s YenTASTIC: In Japan, there’s an ATM machine that heat presses each bill at 392 degrees for one-tenth of a second before it’s dispensed. No crumpled fivers there…
  7. Old father pound: Back to Britain and the pound is the oldest currency still in use today; dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, where it was equal to 240 silver pennies or one pound in weight of silver. By 1913, almost half of global foreign exchange was performed using the pound sterling.
  8. It used to be a jungle trade out there: Before money was made of bills and coins, live animals were used as currency. As long as it could be chopped up and it was scarce, it could be traded. Think of that, an industry full of snakes and cheetahs – that could never happen!

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