Sarah Dayan

Measuring Money

10 minutes

For as long as humanity has existed, money has been one of the hottest, most taboo topics there is (along with sex and death). We talk about its power, the issues of having too few of it, or too much. We have opinions on its actual worth, how much is enough, how to get more, or why you should be happy with less. But it happens less often that we talk about how we measure it.

I'm a software engineer, and I've developed a library that helps you deal with money in computer programs. Over the years, this has opened a world of knowledge to me. Did you know that not all currencies have minor units (aka "cents")? Maybe you did. But did you know that not all currencies that do contain 100 of their minor units in a major unit? Maybe, if you traveled to countries like Irak, or that you own bitcoins. But did you know that the United Kingdom only moved on to decimal in 1971, almost 200 years after France did?

In this talk, I'll share with you my discoveries around how we measure money. We'll see that even in 2020, not everyone is using decimal currencies. We'll see from what systems we've moved on, where they come from, how and why things have changed. Finally, we'll see that even though decimalization and metrication have spread like wildfire in the world, there are still untouched areas and what our world could look like if it did.