Money transformed the entire idea of the barter system. A medium of exchange for goods and services for centuries, money keeps matters of the world in a flow, helps countries exchange goods and services and develops friendly relationships.
Typically, every country has a central bank that regulates and publishes the money supply data in coordination with the government.
In the present world, money is present in various forms: physical – coins, notes – and virtual – electronic bank accounts, cryptocurrencies. This makes it hard to determine how much money exists.
To help answer how much money is in the world, here are currencies converted into the U.S. dollar as U.S. statistics are readily available.
What Are Different Types of Money?
Money is generally divided into different types of “Ms.” The range starts at the narrowest with M0 and goes up to the broadest, M3, following the central bank’s policy-making. The central bank in the USA is the Federal Reserve System, which publishes data based on four Ms:
How Money Supply Is Measured
- M0: It is simply all physical currency present globally, including coins, notes and bills resting in people’s pockets. It also includes the money in the bank vaults and all the deposits in the reserve banks. According to the statistics published by the Federal Reserve System, there was $2,040.7 billion in circulation as of December 31, 2020.
- The Federal Reserve has not yet published data for 2021.
- M1: It includes all the elements of M0 money supply, adding the money held in travelers’ checks, demand deposits, other types of checkable deposits and negotiable orders of withdrawal. M1 money includes all the currencies and assets that can be converted into cash easily.
- M2: It includes all of the currency from the M1 money supply, and expands to include mutual funds, saving deposits, money market securities and other types of time deposits. M2 currencies are usually less liquid than M1, meaning you can’t convert M2 money into cash easily. Typically, M2 assets are used as an exchange medium.
- M3: It includes all the elements of M2, plus institutional money market funds, large certificates of deposits and short-term repurchase agreements. As compared to M1 and M2, M3 assets have the lowest liquidity.
The Federal Reserve System stopped tracking M3 money in 2006 because the M2 money supply already contains useful economic activity data.
After covering different types of money, here’s a look at the important question: “How much money is there in the world?”
How Much Money Is in the World?
If you’re curious about the total number of notes in circulation, the Fed estimated 50.3 billion notes in circulation at the end of 2020. This information is updated yearly, so this figure is likely to be higher now, though 2021 data has not yet been published on the Federal Reserve website.
By December 2020, the Federal Reserve data recorded $2.07 trillion total currency in circulation. This amount includes notes, coins and all kinds of currencies.
If you are searching for the total amount of physical money — notes and coins — you can expect to have around $40 trillion in the world right now. This figure only includes the “narrow money” that is, M1 — M0 and demand accounts.
Money is also present in the form of investments and derivatives. This figure can even touch a quadrillion if we include all of them. It looks like this: $1,000,000,000,000,000. This amount even surpasses the total market capitalization of the U.S. stock market, which is $48,264,353.4 million, as of March 31, 2022.
According to Statista, the market capitalization of cryptocurrencies after the crash in May 2022 was $1354.54 billion, a significant drop from the $2 trillion of April 2021.
Good To Know
The world’s top 26 billionaires from the Forbes 2021 list have a total net wealth of $13.1 trillion.
Future of Money: Is Cash Going to Be Replaced?
With countries striving hard to stabilize their economies, the total amount of money in circulation is expected to increase continuously.
Currently, more people are being drawn towards using virtual or digital currencies than physical money. This is why the use of physical money is gradually decreasing with the increased popularity of digital transactions.
China, Japan and Sweden have started trials of central bank digital currency. The Bank of England and the European Central Bank are also all set to conduct their own trials. The Bahamas has already launched the world’s first official digital currency.
If cash is to be replaced with digital currencies, it’s difficult to pinpoint how much money there is in the world. Quantifying something that has value but no physical existence is much trickier.
There is around $40 trillion in physical money present globally. This amount can touch a quadrillion if cryptocurrencies, broad money — M2 and M3 — and investments and derivatives are added to that total. However, since the world is moving towards digitalization, physical money may become obsolete in the future.
More Answers About Money Circulating in the WorldHere's more answers to questions about money and currency in the world today.
- What are the four Ms in money?
- M0 refers to all the physical currency present in the world. M1 includes M0, plus all the money held in travelers' checks, demand deposits, other checkable deposits and negotiable order of withdrawal. M2 includes M1, plus mutual funds, saving deposits, money market securities and other types of time deposits. M3 includes M2, plus institutional money market funds, large certificates of deposits and short-term repurchase agreements.
- Which currency is the most valuable in the world?
- The most valuable currency in the world is Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD). 1 KWD equals $3.33.
- What's the total value of cryptocurrencies?
- The total value of cryptocurrencies surpassed $2 trillion as of August 2021, but the crypto market saw a significant crash in May 2022, dropping its market capitalization to just $1354.54 billion.
- However, the cryptocurrency market seems to be recovering, and its value is expected to grow significantly as the world moves toward digitalization in the upcoming years.
- What is the world's total wealth?
- According to a report from McKinsey & Company, global assets have grown from $440 trillion in 2000 to $1,540 trillion in 2020. The total net worth jumped from $160 trillion to over $510 trillion, including real estate prices, exchange rates, human resources, capital advancements and other factors.
Amber Barkley contributed to the reporting for this article.