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Cowries to Crypto: A rip-roaring ride through the history of money

When DID money grow on trees? What do whale’s teeth have to do with money? Did women invent maths? Mesopotamia v Lehman Brothers – what’s the worst financial crisis in history? What can the Ancient Greeks teach us about budgeting? Will the yuan overtake the dollar’s dominance?

Cowries to Crypto is packed with amazing facts, fascinating tales and financial wisdom, sharing everything we need to know about the history of money to understand its future. Taking us back in time to the most important moments in money’s evolution, the book reveals how it shaped civilisations, discoveries and battles.

The book begins with our ancestors bartering salt for spears, before transporting us to the caves counting was invented in, exploring why the Pharaohs never cottoned on to exchanging gold and how the Chinese invented coins, before the Ancient Greeks astonished the world by what they did with them.

It examines why, from The Age of Discovery onwards, world power would increasingly be based on credit, how the Dutch invented the stock market and became the first capitalist society, celebrates the birth of the Bank of England, dabbles in the world’s greatest financial crises, charts the rise to dominance of the dollar and explores how now, in the age of cryptocurrency, the value of different currencies has come to be based on mathematics and open-source code rather than faith in governments.

From cavemen to fintech whizzes – an illustrated journey: why this book matters

As COVID-19 accelerates us towards a cashless society and FinTech transforms banking, this book examines what the evolution of money can teach us about its future
A whistle-stop tour through the amazing innovations that transformed us from cavemen counting on walls, inventing the coin and creating the world’s first bank to cryptocurrency
A revealing insight into how money shapes society and how financial innovations have triggered some of the biggest events in history, from the Roman Empire’s accession to the discovery of the New World
Written by award-winning financial journalist Jame DiBiasio, founder and editor of DigFin Group and author of The Story of Angkor
Illustrations by renowned satirical cartoonist Harry Harrison, whose work features in publications including Time Magazine, The Guardian, WSJ & South China Morning Post