Money and Material
Food and precious objects were used as a means of payment for many centuries before also being employed to make purchases. This use of money in today’s sense only took hold in the modern age. And from that moment on, money began to dematerialize, lately becoming mere bits of data.
Money originally was not what we think of today as money. In archaic times payments were made to satisfy an obligation, whether a debt or a wrongdoing. Many things could be used for payments. Archaic payments are indeed the origin of our money but they are far from being the same as our money.
Before coins were minted, lumps and bars of precious metals, among many other things, were used as objects of payment. With coins, all these objects of payment acquired a standard. Only then did they also become a medium of exchange.
From the moment a society bases its economy on money, the value of money no longer needs its substance. Money’s value comes from the fact that it can be exchanged to purchase goods of the same value. Monetary value consists solely in this function.