Paper money is so old hat. While De La Rue - which makes banknotes for 150 currencies - struggles with production problems and management turmoil, in one part of Malaysia, they are looking at an ancient alternative - gold.
In a move applauded by some local Muslims, the state government of Kelantan said it was introducing a new monetary system featuring standardised gold and silver coins based on the traditional dinar and dirham coins once used by the Ottoman Empire.
Nik Abdul Aziz, the state’s chief minister, spoke in visionary terms of an economy in which state civil servants would be paid in the new sharia currency, and the poor would be protected against inflation by the intrinsic value of the precious metals used to produce it.
About 1,000 shops and restaurants in the state have said they will accept the new currency, which follows an earlier issue of gold dinars in 2006. The coins comply with traditional Islamic teaching on the use of coins with intrinsic value as a medium of exchange, rather than paper money.