Fiat currency

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A currency without intrinsic value.

Also known as fiat money.

In the modern era, all significant currencies are fiat currencies.

What spooked the G20 post-2008

"What spooked the G20 members in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis was that their economies appeared to nearly collapse because we no longer trusted banks to hold our cash, and because our currencies are 'fiat' in nature: they exist because as societies we say that they do, and not because they comprise lumps of precious metal for which value is universally recognised."
The Treasurer magazine, April 2017, p10 - Technical briefing.

See also