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The US Dollar was created by the Continental Congress on the 6th July 1785. Congress decided that they would have a currency with a decimal system giving 100 cents to a dollar. Disagreements within Congress meant that an agreement on to what extent the federal government should dictate to the individual states meant that the Coinage Act when a mint was finally established did not occur until 1792.
It took another 70 years for the US treasury to print dollar bills (banknotes) that were black on one side and green on the other in order to prevent counterfeiting. From the 20th century until today you will find former presidents on the ‘head side’ of a US coin. Prior to this Greek, Roman mythology or Native American composite were used.
The US Dollar is the world’s most dominant reserve currency. In 2014 the US Dollar was 63.1% of the world’s currency reserves. This allows the United States to borrow and import more cheapily than other countries as there is no requirement to exchange one currency for another.
Central banks and other large financial institutions across the world hold US Dollar reserves which they can use to influence their own exchange rate or to pay off international debt. Crude oil, gold and other commodities are usually priced in US Dollars because it is the world’s dominant reserve currency and therefore removes exchange rate risk.