One thing we know:  Money is uniquely human; we do not find money in nature.

It is an entirely human artifact.

What is more, money has no functional equivalents in nature. There is reciprocity in nature, but we find no complex symbol sharing approaching humanity's money agreement.

Money is a human-generated force, all human. As such, it serves us or harms us, for both good and bad. Within our miscellaneous cultural assortments, money dares us to dream and to work together even as it provokes, enrages and infuriates.

Money manifests culturally as humanity's most profound and universal agreement. It maintains visible social presence by our individual faith in it even as it becomes evident within our daily lives.

Of course, nature is not entirely out of the picture. For one, nature provides an abundance of instructive money metaphors. We may look at money's penchant for balance and mutuality. We may gain insights from nature's various elements and forces. Earth, air, fire and water all generate virtually endless arrays of money metaphors. Nonetheless, as a functional force, money simply has no equivalent in nature.

It is crucial for all of us to remember that money skills are not natural. They do not come in our DNA. Human beings, after all, are products of nature. Other survival skills are both natural and readily accessible. We breathe, eat, drink, excrete and reproduce without substantial effort or intent. On our lists of genuine survival masteries, money, alone, remains elusive. All money users require training, education and skill.                                                                                                                                      

Of course, money's history reflects human history. It has evolved as humans and our societies have evolved. This means that money's natures reflect humanity's natures. Its possibilities span the depth and breadth of human possibilities, for better and for worse. Its qualities reflect human qualities, including humanity's shadows, prejudices, arts, parts and all.

Money's inception and evolution nicely tracks humanity's social and cultural evolution as perceived by such notables as Jean Gebser, Clare Graves, Don Beck and Ken Wilber.
From the primitive's barter to the sophisticated bits and bytes of the 21st century, money's expansions and manifestations have echoed its times, its people and its purposes. Currencies reflect underlying cultures and levels of development.

Hunter-gathers bartered, for example. This is trade at its most simplistic. Then, as humanity evolved from tribal levels, the ensuing money forms became both fungible and in-kind. It was involved in one-to-one exchange involving such commodities as warehouse receipts, cocoa beans, bushels of wheat, cowry shells, gold and the like.