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So I’m trying to make a currency on this Minecraft server, and I don’t quite know what to use.

In a discussion on what item to use, emerald came up. Emeralds are used by villagers, but are otherwise not a good idea. Farms can easily be used to produce them, and they are an unlimited resource.

Portal frames were also brought up. There are, at most, 4608 portal frame blocks in the entire world. The problem with that, however is that they can’t be obtained in survival.

So this is what I’m looking for: a non-renewable item, with a finite amount of it in the whole world, unlike ores. Thanks for the help!

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    Hearts of the sea, Conduits, Nether stars, Beacons, Elytras, Music discs, Banner patterns or Enchanted golden apples? Those are the rarest items around, not counting the Dragon egg.
    – pinckerman
    Dec 16 '21 at 16:34
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    I’m looking for something that cannot be crafted or obtained through randomly generated structures. There are an infinite number of dungeons and villages. The rarity doesn’t matter to me if the item is infinite. The Dragon Egg is a good example of what I want, it’s just a little too rare. Thanks @pinckerman
    – OwenPT
    Dec 16 '21 at 16:45
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    You can use renewable resources, as long as you have a money-sink as well. Diamonds would indeed work well, because they have an inherent usefulness in crafting gear with them. Someone spending their time mining diamonds efficiently would get a lot of money, but they would also decrease the value of each individual diamond, to the point where it makes more sense to craft something out of diamond than to buy something with it.
    – MechMK1
    Dec 17 '21 at 12:18
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    Usually, in barter systems currencies are emergent properties. I have seen diamond used on many servers just because it is rare and desired (supply and demand), and its more or less easy to agree on a value.
    – Polygnome
    Dec 17 '21 at 15:29
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    I think the core question here that needs answered is what the currency will be used for. If the intent is for it to be player-to-player, then there probably isn't a good choice because currency only has value if its users agree it does. If it's going to be for interacting with something on the server (shops, perks, etc.), you probably don't want it to be a vanilla item unless being able to craft/find it is an intended consequence. Dec 17 '21 at 18:11
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Diamonds could be used as a currency as they cannot be easily farmed, unlike emeralds. They are rare enough to hold value and were a popular option on servers I have played on in the past (ones that did not use an economy mod).

Alternatively, as x-ray texture packs can be a problem, you could use raw ores as a currency. Iron ore blocks would have the lowest value as these can be obtained the easiest. Likewise with gold, albeit somewhat rarer, and as such would have a higher value. Diamond would be the second rarest as you would need Silk Touch for this. Emerald ore would be the rarest as these are rare to find and have very small veins. You could then assign a value to Coal, Lapis and Redstone ores.

With Iron ore as the base currency, the following values could be used for the other blocks, as the number of ore blocks to iron ore.

Gold ore: 1/2 (1 gold ore for 2 iron ore)

Redstone ore: 1/3 (1 Redstone ore for 3 iron ore)

Lapis Lazuli ore: 1/4 (1 Redstone ore for 4 iron ore)

Diamond ore: 1/8 (1 Diamond ore for 8 iron ore)

Emerald ore: 1/16 (1 Emerald ore for 16 iron ore)

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    I would definitely be open to using diamonds, but people on this server use X-ray texture pack to easily get them. Sorry, I should have been more specific!
    – OwenPT
    Dec 16 '21 at 16:31
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    Ah yeah, I hadn't considered that. I have updated my answer with another idea which may work, as it would require the use of Silk Touch for the higher value ores, and cannot be easily farmed etc.
    – Oast
    Dec 16 '21 at 16:43
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    @Oast arguably, once the server gets to the stage where everyone has silk touch, you'll have the exact same problem with x-ray texture packs
    – somebody
    Dec 17 '21 at 7:09
  • @somebody Unfortunately that is the case right now. There are AFK fishing farms that people will run overnight and get a ton of loot with. The cost of almost any enchantment on the server is relatively low, as there is a high supply
    – OwenPT
    Dec 18 '21 at 4:18
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    May I suggest using a server with anti-xray capabilities, like Paper?
    – IronEagle
    Dec 18 '21 at 16:24
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Looking through https://minecraft.fandom.com/wiki/Non-renewable_resource and using your restriction of non-craftable, finite, and not found in random structures, I'm not sure anything actually meets those criteria. But if you're looking for something with a set number in a bounded world, cobwebs stick out in my mind as something not mentioned so far.

They can be used decoratively use purposefully, which makes them something to worry about using as payment or not. They're not too easily harvestable, as you need to purposefully go looking for mineshafts or the rarer zombie village with shears on you.

They're probably a little more common than diamonds as a 'currency', but once they're all mined there's no other way of getting them, like diamonds.

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    Unless you have Badlands biomes nearby, where mineshafts spawn at higher Y-level and often exposed to air so very easy to find.
    – pinckerman
    Dec 17 '21 at 7:43
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For a more centrally-controlled solution, using tattered written books works. The books are stackable and interchangeable, but can't be recreated unless you have the original book. Some number of players own copies of the original book, and can make new tattered copies, and therefore have the ability to create new currency.

Most everything else you can think of will have the problem of being infinitely reproducible by anyone, so individuals can collect large amounts of the currency independent of your economy, then crash the economy by buying out all the shops or whatnot. Or, prices inflate to prevent that, at which point new or casual players can't interact with the market. If you use a true non-renewable, then players hoard them and the amount of currency available goes down over time.

The downside to written books is that someone has to manage it like a central bank, and that's a boring task, as well as one that's hard to get right (see: every economy textbook ever). You also have to find a way to kickstart things, to make players able to get some initial books and then to keep a steady flow of them coming in, so new players can interact with the economy and players retiring/hoarding doesn't take wealth out. Those two things can get complicated quickly.

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So this is what I’m looking for: a non-renewable item, with a finite amount of it in the whole world, unlike ores. Thanks for the help!

I'm pretty sure what you seek does not exist in vanilla survival minecraft.

Without glitches only one Dragon egg can be obtained in the whole world. Technically one is a finite amount but practically it's not very useful as currency.

Similarly technically Minecraft has a world border, so eventually you will run out of new chunks to search to search for structures and ores, in practice you will run out of disk space on your server long before that happens, so they can't really be considered finite in a meaningful sense.

There really are only two structures in the Minecraft world that are "finite" in the way you desire. The strongholds in the Overworld and the End fight arena in the End. Other than the aforementioned dragon egg neither of them has any unique items.

In Java Edition, written books can be used as a form of currency if the player who creates them is trusted, as they are marked with the name of the player that created them and while copies and copies of copies can be made, they are identified as such and copies of copies of copies can't be made without glitches. So if the creating player keeps close control of the originals and copies and only lets copies of copies be distributed then they can limit supply. According to the Wiki though in bedrock players can customize the signature line, so I think this may not work as desired on bedrock.

If you are prepared to let a server admin use cheats/commands to create your currency then you have more options. There are many items that can only be introduced to the world via commands and hence an admin can introduce a limited supply of them. This can also sometimes be used to create otherwise-unobtainable variants of normal items, for example the aforementioned written books have a "tattered" option which is only accessible through commands. There is the question of how to handle initial distribution to players though.

Finally be aware that duplication glitches are frequently discovered in minecraft (the glitches in Java and Bedrock are different but glitches are found in both), so even if you have admins create otherwise unobtainable items there is still the possibility that someone will duplicate them.

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If the only use of a currency will be in player-to-player contexts and you're not adding anything on top of Vanilla Minecraft that the currency could be spent on, then there really isn't a "good" option for currency. Minecraft lacks a fiat money, and it would be difficult as a server admin to simply declare that certain objects have currency value with nothing to support the reason for those values. From Wikipedia:

Fiat money does not have intrinsic value and does not have use value. It has value only because the people who use it as a medium of exchange agree on its value. They trust that it will be accepted by merchants and other people.

However, if you're looking for a currency to be used to interact with something being added to the server (which would provide some of that needed "intrinsic value"), you might need to look into mods or command blocks.

For mods, it would depend on which version of the game you're running. A mod like Good Ol' Currency would seemingly fit your purpose. It adds dollar bill items which can be crafted together to "make change" (ex: two 50s craft into a 100, or a 100 breaks down into two 50s). It also adds vending machine-like items which the currency can be used with.

A different way currency could be used would be with a questing system. For example, the modpack FTB Sky Adventures makes use of this mod in combination with a questing system so that most quests pay out currency (including some quests where you can "sell" items repeatably), and a rudimentary shop system was created by having other quests which accept currency and "reward" other items. If you want the amount of currency this generates to be fixed, then simply omit the repeatable quests, and each individual player will only be able to add a certain amount of currency to the world.

If you went the command block route, you would probably want to look into storing each player's balance on the scoreboard, and then implement paying by adding or removing from the player's balance "score". From there, if you want there to be a fixed maximum amount of currency available, your commands which "generate" currency could tally up everyone's balances and ensure it doesn't generate more than the desired maximum. All of this would require knowledge of command blocks which I don't have, so I unfortunately can't guide you any further than that.

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  • Thank you for you input but the server has been up for round 2 years and its been vanilla for all of those two years. I don't think the general playerbase wants any mods or command blocks.
    – OwenPT
    Dec 20 '21 at 19:01

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