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    Like the number 7, money has little to no intrinsic value. It is civilization who agrees on a currency’s utility and on whether the wealth conveyed by 7 units of a particular monetary currency are enough or not. That is, the value of money is extrinsic. Interestingly, the value of most currencies is measured in terms of the value of other currencies, most of which have no value other than the trust recursively vested in them by civilization. Money, in other words, mostly measures trust. This is less obvious for precious metals or cryptocurrencies because they have an intrinsic value of their own as well, whether civilization embraces them as currency or not. But still, that alone is not enough, civilization will drive their value up or down depending on how much they trust them.

    Money has no intrinsic value, the same way that any other commodity doesn’t have any “intrinsic” value. Instead, money is the form of which the value of commodities which embody socially important labor takes its form, through the process of exchange, while often taking up its own value (to be distinguished from something intrinsic) in that same process. That currencies are measured in terms of each other is really nothing but a shorthand to the same result; a ‘universal’ equivalent to commodities found through the processes of exchange. Money, like I said above, has its own value through being manufactured and reified at the hands of labor needed to obtain ink, paper, and the various chemicals used, and to maintain and operate the machines used to combine those materials into paper cash, and the same general formula for other forms of money. In this way, paper and cheap coined currency are no different than “precious metals” or cryptocurrencies in that they do take up a value, which just instead of finding itself produced in the process of exchange with a universal equivalent, instead are often used as a universal equivalent themselves. In some ways then, the speculation of currencies is on some level a system of trust, but only insofar as the value formed in currencies is found in a grand system of bartering.