discovering the numéraire

The numéraire is the unit of account. It's how goods and services are priced. It typically comes in the same form as the medium of exchange, or money, that you use. Today that's US dollars (and in rare cases cents) in most countries, or euros, or yen, etc. Historically it was gold and silver (mostly silver), or even tobacco and sea shells.

If we scan the long arc of history, we had silver - and then gold (most recently gold) - that emerged as the unit of account. Gold was the numéraire.

If we scan the modern arc of history, we have US dollars (before that British pounds) that emerged as the unit of account. The US dollar has become the world's numéraire.

It is quite possible that in the future we will have bitcoin. It is possible that bitcoin will emerge as the world's numéraire.

The table below will help you compare these three different numéraires, across many assets. It is all broken down for you, in terms of how much other assets cost in terms of the numéraires, and how their relative value has changed over the years.

discovering the numéraire explained

Further notes on the above table:

  1. Download. The speed will be slow, perhaps very slow. Give it a second!
  2. Data. Bitcoin will be the most current pricing. The other assets will be current as of today, or yesterday, or a few days ago.