Hyperinflation Banknotes

Money is Fictional

A 100 Trillion Dollar Banknote

The first time I saw the Zimbabwe 100 trillion dollar bill, I just had to have one. There was something exciting and fun about holding a banknote that said “Trillion” on it. How cool.

I still enjoy having that little piece of that history. But. As part of enjoying it I decided to learn how it came into existence. And it wasn’t printed because anyone was having fun. Inflation is a normal part of a healthy economy, but this kind of hyperinflation signals a hard time for a lot of people.

Only a handful of times in history have governments been desparate enough to print a single banknote of over a million units:

Nation Year(s) Largest Denomination References
Georgia 1993 1,000,000 WI
Romania 2001-2005 1,000,000 LC BC WI
Poland 1991-1994 2,000,000 LC
Peru 1990-1991 5,000,000 LC
Turkey 1999-2005 20,000,000 LC
Bosnia Herzegovina 1992 100,000,000 BC
China 1949 6,000,000,000 BC WI
Free City of Danzig 1920 10,000,000,000 BC
Krajina 1993 50,000,000,000 BC
Japan 1930 75,000,000,000 BC
Greece 1944 100,000,000,000 GB WI
Yugoslavia 1992-1994 500,000,000,000 IN BC EC WI
Germany 1923 100,000,000,000,000 BC IL BI
Zimbabwe 2008-2009 100,000,000,000,000 WI YT IN EC
Hungary 1945-1946 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 BC IN EC BW

In some way, of course, all money is fake. It only has value because people believe it has value. Nothing will help make that more clear than holding a billion dollar bill in your hand.

Published: July 13 2021