While the Rol'nara live by a barter economy, the traffic through The Portal Exchange eventually resulted in the invention of Portal Silks as a currency due to the confusion of attempting to reconcile the values of all currencies passing through the Exchange. Portal Silks are beautiful monetary bills woven from Silk and Tyrellium, with the amount of tyrellium dependent upon the value of the bill. Each portal silk bill is a beautiful high quality weave with a delicate dye pattern, also dependent upon the bill's value. Most show a picture of a Portal Horse on one side with an intricate pattern of flowering Sagewood also positioned to denote the bill's value on the inverse. Due to the inclusion of tyrellium the bills tend to shimmer in bright light in addition to the standard silken sheen. The bills are smooth to the touch due to the woven silk, and are sometimes sewn together in a corner to allow for more organized storage. Those worried about being robbed on the road have also been known to sew the bills into the linings of their clothes in an effort to present a less tempting target.
Mechanics & Inner Workings
Portal silk bills are a fiat currency with tightly controlled quantities. Each consists of a weave of silk and Tyrellium, with the quantity of tyrellium directly tied to the bill's value. Upon creation each bill and its value is magically tied to the Tyrellium Crystal, which tracks the quantity and value of bills in circulation. The crystal also receives information on the location of a bill upon its creation in an effort to further deter counterfeit portal silks, as well as its location upon its destruction. The validity of a bill can be verified by verifying its link to the crystal. The crystal itself does not track the locations of bills aside from at creation and destruction in an effort to discourage theft. The crystal will also sever ties with all Portal Silk bills if it is removed from its storage site at the Exchange, thus flagging all bills in circulation as counterfeit. The original implementation of the system did track location of all bills and was eventually recognized as a security hazard after a slew of break ins targeting the crystal.
Portal Silk bills are constructed by weaving threads of Silk and Tyrellium together via Coactive Spinning on a specialized spinning machine belonging to The Portal Exchange. The tyrellium to silk ratio is determined by the denomination of the bill, with more valuable bills containing more tyrellium. Because of the magical properties of the weaving process the designs and coloration are woven directly into the material during its manufacturer. Upon completion a mage from the Exchange will link it to the Tyrellium Crystal for tracking and verification.
Portal Silks were originally developed to simplify costs for The Portal Exchange. Rather than accepting payments for Portal Tokens in each participating city's unique currencies the Exchange now only accepts Portal Silk bills. In return the Exchange uses these bills to pay for materials and maintenance for the Exchange and its portals, and occasionally for other goods or services for the benefit of the people of its home plane of Rol'na. The Rol'nara are by nature a barter based society and therefore have little interest in currencies when bartering is an option. Even the Portal Guides at the Exchange typically prefer their tips in the form of goods rather than Portal Silks. As a result the concept of money in any capacity was fairly foreign to the plane until the founding of the Exchange, and therefore much thought and research was put into their solution to simplifying their exchange rate problems. The Exchange does not regulate the value of its portal silk bills against the other currencies of Fillimet, instead allowing each city to determine its own exchange rate. Due to the usage of portal Silks across the world in trade the exchange rates tend to self regulate, as those attempting to unfairly inflate their own currency's value compared to the Silks' tend to find that currency no longer accepted as payment by traveling merchants or local nations. The Exchange also keeps tight control over the currency in circulation as well as the Exchange's personal valuation of the silk bills. Due to this, as well as the Exchange's requirement to be paid in portal Silks, the currency is becoming more widely accepted as a universal currency of sorts. The bills' high quality silk and tyrellium weave, coupled with the beautiful patterns woven into the fabric, have also led to its use upon occasion in valuable artwork or high end clothing.