Currency in the World of Avatar varies from nation to nation but is commonly based on precious metals that denote differing values; gold has the most value, followed by silver and then copper. Prior to the end of the Hundred Year War, coins were the most common form of currency, and they were often fashioned into different shapes and sizes depending on their origin. However, following the end of the War, paper money came into widespread use, most notably in the United Republic of Nations.
Prior to the end of the Hundred Year War, the re-involvement of the Northern Water Tribe in international affairs, and the rebuilding of the Southern Water Tribe, the Water Tribes had a relatively primitive economy, largely based on subsistence, so their currency was not as advanced as those of more developed nations. Water Tribe money is accepted in certain parts of the Earth Kingdom, though some local areas, such as Chin Village, explicitly refuse to accept it.
Earth Kingdom coins are typically the same shape as the nation's insignia: round with a square hole in their center, which allows many coins to be strung together. Besides their material and increasing value, the only notable difference between the copper, silver, and gold pieces is that the borders for the latter are marked by a richer shade of gold. The Earth Kingdom also uses small, gold ingots on rare occasions, with a shape resembling a boat.
The copper piece is the least valuable coin in the Fire Nation. It is a rectangle with two concave sides and a small image of a flame in its center.
The silver piece is the smallest and second most valuable coin in the Fire Nation. It is pentagonal in shape with the national emblem on its front.
The gold piece is the longest coin in the Fire Nation and is mostly rectangular in shape with a long slit running from its base to slightly below its top. Consisting entirely of gold, these pieces are the most valuable coins in the Fire Nation.
United Republic of Nations
The United Republic of Nations' currency is called the yuan, and denominations are available as both paper bills and metal coins. The paper bills are deep pink in color and feature an image of Avatar Aang on the obverse, with an image of Republic City's City Hall on the reverse. The coins, which are worth one yuan each, are golden in color and exhibit three rectangles in their design.
- In the World of Avatar, it is the metal and not the currency itself that is valuable, much as it was in many parts of the world before the adoption of the banknote. This is known as intrinsic value in numismatic circles. In the post-Hundred Year War era of progress, however, global economies seem to have evolved toward a system of fiat money, as evidenced by the presence of the yuan in at least two different nations.
- Earth Kingdom copper pieces are similar to Chinese coins before the Qin Dynasty.
- Fire Nation currency resembles some Chinese coins during the Warring States period.
- The Chinese word that is used to refer to the Fire Nation currency is , which literally means a metal slab.
- Loban said that the crystal processing machine for Earthen Fire Industries cost "ten thousand ban".
- The yuan (basic unit of currency in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. ) is also the informal name of the
- The yuan is the only known currency to use both coins and paper bills.
- The gold ingots used in the Earth Kingdom resemble an ancient Chinese ingot currency known as yuanbao.