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Early monetary systems revolved around barter systems. Tally sticks were one of the prolific means for recording transactions. It is rumored that one buyer of shares in the Bank of England even used a tally stick to record the transaction. The buyer and seller would break off a branch and carve notches on the stick representing the trade. For example they may carve five notches to represent five cows. The stick would be split in half and the buyer and seller would each take a half, as the debt was paid back they would join the halves and erase a notch.

All the religions strictly prohibited changing interest on money. Money was clearly only a representation of a transaction to record the transaction representing the real assets that were traded. Money allowed bartering and exchange to occur without the good themselves. As such, someone selling chickens could take money in exchange and purchase grain from a farmer who had no interest in acquiring chickens, the farmer could use the money to buy a cow.

The problems with the early monetary systems was that there was no common coin to represent the value of assets.