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5 The Rise of Private Payment Instruments

From: The Legal Concept of Money

Simon Gleeson

From: Oxford Legal Research Library (http://olrl.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 30 January 2023


This chapter discusses how the creation of private payment instruments began. Historically, the primary mechanism for debt repayment amongst mutual creditors was a ‘reckoning’, but that was not entirely efficient, so people gradually evolved to settling mutual credits. Then came the creation of public tokens, then bills and notes, and eventually bank cheques. The chapter also considers the importance of distinguishing between private money in the form of book credit and private money in the form of private tokens. On one hand, private money in the form of book credit is unquestionably older than sovereign money. On the other hand, private monetary tokens have at times circulated alongside sovereign money, sometimes as a supplement and sometimes as a substitute.

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