Stone Money- NYAJ32

It is What it is

    “It is what it is” is a phrase used in many different scenarios every day. For example it can relate to the term “money is money.” Whether it is american money, canadian, bills, coins, etc. Money is money and that is just it. It is what it is. For the island of Yap money was made of rocks and stones. Limestones to be exact. But that does not matter right; because money is money? The people of yap used limestone as their currency. Whoever had the biggest ones had the most money. Some of them even weighed more than a car. Some may call this type of currency ridiculous, but if you think about it the first person who thought of dollar bills may have seemed crazy. Some one was like “Hey what if we write different amounts on paper and say that they are worth a lot of money.” The same philosophy must have gone into the limestone currency.

ISome people may wonder, how many of these stones could there have been, and how much the bigger ones were really worth? Also, how big would some of them be? Well according to George Martin in “The Island that Uses Limestone Discs as Money, “There are an estimated 13,000 stone discs in circulation on Yap, ranging from 30 centimetres to 3.50 meters in diameter, with the largest ones being considered the most valuable, (Martin 2018). All of these stones have big holes in the middle of them. It is believed that these were created so that they could put a pole or stick through the middle so it would be easier to roll around. But then again, most of the time they stayed in one spot without moving from one person to the next. They would be giving to someone else but nobody would touch it because they were too much of a pain to wheel around because of their bulkiness and weight. Some people even say that this type of currency can be compared to cryptocurrency. This is because it does not move from person to person, You assume it is there but do not physically touch it. The same goes for things like bitcoin. You do not physically hold it, but you do still have in it retrospect.

Overall, for it’s time the island of Yap’s currency was very advanced and smart. We are even using some of the same techniques today being that cryptocurrency uses the same concept as the limestone currency on the island of Yap. The main difference being that there was no set amount for each stone. Whatever they thought was a fair trade is what it was worth. But in the end, it is still money. It is what it is.


Friedman, Milton. “The Island of Stone Money.” Diss. Hoover Institution, Stanford University , 1991.

Mailonline, G. M. (2018, May 10). The island of Yap uses two-ton limestone discs as money. Retrieved from

Bower, B. (2018, August 02). How an ancient stone money system works like cryptocurrency. Retrieved from


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