How Much Money Is There In The World? | 2021 Edition

  • There is approximately US $37 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 $1.2 quadrillion.

Money is the medium of exchange for goods and services. It doesn’t literally make the world go around, but 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 the U.S statistics are easily available, we can examine this question in different ways.

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 January 31, 2019, there was nearly US $1.7 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 $37 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 $1.2 quadrillion. This is what it looks like written out: $1,200,000,000,000,000.

This is a much more significant amount compared to the total money in the stock market, which is a mere $74 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 $600 billion) 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 2019 list of the world’s billionaires, Forbes included 2,153 billionaires with a total net wealth of $8.7 trillion. Surprisingly, the top 26 billionaires own as much as the poorest 3.8 billion.

How much money is there in the world ?

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 increase in 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.

Read: 13 Very Interesting Questions with their Answers

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?

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a professional science and technology journalist and a big fan of AI, machines, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from GGSIPU University. To find out about his latest projects, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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  • Amazing how much money is out there and I just realized how poor and messy my life is by knowing that I don’t have any cash on me. No bank account. No cryptocurrency or anything.

  • Since world stock market was about TR.$ 85 in Aug. 2020 and paper market ( paper wealth) are about TR.$ 945 to TR.$ 1200 so paper money are so huge that might be explorer next . On the other hand world wealth report 2019 said world wealth is about TR.$360 and world debt are Tr.$ 258 that are explained inequality has been more and more . These statics remind world needs to be change