Micronesia is the name of a group of about a thousand small islands in the Pacific, located near Melanesia, Polynesia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Most of these islands form the sovereign nation of the Federated States of Micronesia. The main island of Micronesia is the state of Yap, which celebrates the writing of its Constitution on 24 December.
One of the most interesting things about Yap is their coins, known as "Rai stones." These coins are in the shape of a circle with a hole in the middle, made of calcite. The problem with these coins is that you can not take them in your wallet, nor in your pocket, because their diameter is 4 meters on average!
The value of the Rai stones depends on their size and history (most of the stones were brought from other islands like New Guinea and Palau, many years ago). The lowest value of Rai coin is a with a diameter of 30 cm.
|In the photo: Rai stones in Yap (Micronesia)|
These stones are no longer produced, but their price remains constant. They do not move when they are in possession, but people in the island know exactly to whom each of the 6,500 Rai stones belongs!
Today Yap people use Western-style money. Because Micronesia is a state with a constitutional administration that relies on the United States in the framework of "free association", its people use the US dollar as their official currency. The Rai stones are used for traditional and ceremonial trade and are perceived as national symbols.