Do you have paper money or coins in your pocket or bag? Do you think it's easier to buy new sneakers with cash instead of trading for the sneakers with vegetables or livestock? Thank the ancient Mesopotamians. Most historians and archaeologists agree that the idea of money was born in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. At first, the Mesopotamians traded things like everyone else. Eventually, though, they developed a more complicated system where they could write down what was being bought and sold. These transactions weren't recorded on paper but on clay tablets. The first forms of currency were thought to be barley and silver: Coins did not yet exist. Not only did Mesopotamians develop money and writing, but they also developed the basics of accounting we still use today.
Crop surpluses meant that not everyone who lived in Mesopotamia had to focus on producing food. Those not growing food could instead focus on building cities, making art, becoming merchants, and working in the temples and for the king who ruled the area.
Although historians and archaeologists know quite a bit about the development of money in this region, not as much is known about money as is known about pottery or tools. Why? Because people typically don't throw away money; it's usually used until it wears out, and then, if it's made of a precious metal, it's melted down to be turned into another coin or something else.
The biggest problem with using silver as money was how valuable silver was. A slight mistake in measuring the metal could result in a lot of lost money. Another problem was that not all silver was equally valuable. Some silver is purer and therefore worth more than other silver. Dishonest people would also add less valuable metals to their silver or use other metals that look like silver.