- There is approximately US$ 40 trillion in circulation: this includes all the physical money and the money deposited in savings and checking accounts.
- Money in the form of investments, derivatives, and cryptocurrencies exceeds $1.3 quadrillion.
Money is the medium of exchange for goods and services. It doesn’t literally make the world go around, but the economies of countries rely on the exchange of money for products and services.
Money supply data is usually analyzed and published by the government or the central bank of the country. Since it is present in various forms (virtual and physical) in different currencies, it’s extremely difficult to determine the exact total amount.
To make things easier, we have converted currencies into the US dollar. And since US statistics are easily available, we can examine this question in different ways.
Table of Contents
Different Types of Money
Typically, different types of money are classified as “M”s. They range from M0 (narrowest) to M3 (broadest), depending on the policy formulation of the country’s central bank.
The Federal Reserve System — central bank of the United States of America — for instance, publishes data on three monetary:
M0: All physical currency in circulation, including coins, notes, and bills, is called M0 money.
M1: includes all of the currency in the M0 money supply, plus all of the money held in demand deposits, travelers checks, other checkable deposits, and negotiable order of withdrawal. Basically, M1 money contains currency and assets that can be rapidly converted into cash.
M2: includes all elements of M1, plus saving deposits, mutual funds, money market securities, and other time deposits. Usually, these assets are used as an exchange medium and are less liquid than M1.
M3: is M2 plus large certificates of deposits, institutional money market funds, and short-term repurchase agreements. These assets are less liquid than other elements of the money supply.
The Federal Reserve System doesn’t track M3 money since 2006, because all valuable information on economic activity is already available in the M2 money supply.
So How Much Money Is Out There?
As of March 31, 2021, there was nearly US $2.1 trillion in circulation, including Federal Reserve notes, coins, and currency no longer issued.
If you are looking for all the physical money (notes and coins) and the money deposited in savings and checking accounts, you could expect to find approximately $40 trillion. This figure represents only ‘narrow money.’
However, if you add the ‘broad money,’ the amount rises to over $90.4 trillion. This amount further increases when bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are included.
Money in the form of investments, derivatives, and cryptocurrencies exceeds $1.3 quadrillion. This is what it looks like written out: $1,300,000,000,000,000.
This is a much more significant amount compared to the total money in the stock market, which is a mere $95 trillion. Leading tech companies such as Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Amazon contribute a lot to the stock market.
The value of all cryptocurrencies in circulation (over $2 trillion) and investment in commercial real estate ($30 trillion) also represent a small portion of the total money in the world. Bitcoin, for example, accounts for less than 1% of the world’s money.
In the 2021 list of the world’s billionaires, Forbes included 2,755 billionaires with a total net wealth of $13.1 trillion. Surprisingly, the top 26 billionaires own as much as the poorest 3.8 billion.
According to the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2017, the gross world product (combined gross national product of all countries) totaled $127.8 trillion in terms of purchasing power parity.
Future Of the Money
The total quantity of money in circulation will increase in the future as more investments flow-in, and developing countries stabilize their economies.
The use of physical money is reducing year-by-year and transactions are becoming more digital. As digital payments gain more popularity, the amount of physical money is likely to fall even further.
In Sweden, for instance, only 20% of all transactions are now made in cash. Sweden’s national bank estimates that the amount of physical money circulating in the country will be reduced by 50% by 2050.
Many countries have started developing Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs); a few (including The Bahamas and Nigeria) have even implemented them. CBDCs are digital tokens issued by a central bank. They are similar to cryptocurrencies but since they are issued and regulated by the nation’s monetary authority, they are much safer and more stable.
Whichever way you look at it, counting up the exact amount is next to impossible. There is no precise way to answer this question. How can you quantify something that changes in value, not just in terms of currency rates but also in meaning?
More To Know
How much money is there per person?
There are more than 332 million people in the United States. If we split up the M1 money and distribute it evenly among US citizens, each person will get nearly $4,100. However, if we include the M3 money supply, every US citizen will get more than $27,000.
How much money did the Federal Reserve print in 2020?
Studies show that the Fed took advantage of emergency repo operations, injecting more than $9 trillion into the market since September 2019. Estimates are that 22% of the circulating US dollar was printed in 2020 alone.
The effect of excessive money printing in 2020-2021
The consequences are clear: the annual inflation rate in the United States reached 9.1% in 2022, making a fresh high since 1981. Energy prices jumped about 41.6% from a year earlier, while food costs surged nearly 10.4% — this is the largest increase in the last four decades.
Which currency has the highest value in the world?
The highest currency in the world is Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD), with one Kuwaiti Dinar equalling 3.25 United States Dollars. The first series of Kuwaiti dinar banknotes was introduced in 1960 and was initially equivalent to one pound sterling.
What’s the total market cap of cryptocurrencies?
As of August 2021, the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies was more than $2.1 trillion. Bitcoin (which has undergone several rallies and crashes since its inception) accounts for nearly 44% of the global crypto market. While its value has grown at a phenomenal rate in the last decade, the public is only slowly becoming aware of its existence.
In 2022, major cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin and Etherium) fell by more than 60%, reducing the global crypto market capitalization to $900 billion.
What is the world’s total wealth?
The world is wealthier than ever. According to McKinsey’s report, global assets grew from $440 trillion (approximately 13 times GDP) in 2000 to $1,540 trillion in 2020, while net worth increased from $160 trillion to over $510 trillion.
This figure includes real estate prices, equity market prices, exchange rates, natural resources, human resources, as well as capital and technological advancements that may create new assets or render others worthless in the coming years.
Wealth distribution among selected regions and countries
According to Credit Suisse, a global investment bank and financial services firm, North America has 32.6% of global wealth. Europe, Asia-Pacific, China, and India account for 24.7%, 18%, 17.9%, and 3.1% of global wealth, respectively.