Eightface

by Dave Kellam

How Fake Money Saved Brazil examines how the country dealt with runaway inflation.

“We called it a Unit of Real Value — URV,” Bacha says. “It was virtual; it didn’t exist in fact.” People would still have and use the existing currency, the cruzeiro. But everything would be listed in URVs, the fake currency. Their wages would be listed in URVs. Taxes were in URVs. All prices were listed in URVs. And URVs were kept stable — what changed was how many cruzeiros each URV was worth.

Still, people used URVs. And after a few months, they began to see that prices in URVs were stable. Once that happened, Bacha and his buddies could declare that the virtual currency would become the country’s actual currency. It would be called the real.

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