In bookkeeping and finance, cash refers to current assets comprising currency or currency equivalents that can be accessed immediately or near-immediately (as in the case of money market accounts). Cash is seen either as a reserve for payments, in case of a structural or incidental negative cash flow or as a way to avoid a downturn on financial markets.
The word is variously attributed. Some claim that the word "cash" comes from the modern French word caisse, which means (money) box, from the Provençal word caissa, from the Italiancassa, from the Latin capsa all meaning box. In the 18th century, the word passed to refer to the money instead of the actual box containing it. Another claim is that it was derived from Tamil word kāsu (Tamil:காசு) meaning a coin, by East India Company.
"Cash" used as a verb means "to convert to cash"; for example in the expression "to cash a cheque".
In Western Europe, after the Collapse of the Western Roman Empire, coins, silver jewelry and hacksilver (silver objects hacked into pieces) were for centuries the only form of money, until Venetian merchants started using silver bars for large transactions in the early Middle Ages. In a separate development, Venetian merchants started using paper bills, instructing their banker to make payments. Similar marked silver bars were in use in lands where the Venetian merchants had established representative offices. The Byzantine empire and several states in the Balkan area and Kievan Rus also used marked silver bars for large payments. As the world economy developed and silver supplies increased, in particular after the colonization of South America, coins became larger and a standard coin for international payment developed from the 15th century: the Spanish and Spanish colonial coin of 8 reales. Its counterpart in gold was the Venetian ducat.
Skr.karsha 'a weight of silver or gold equal to 1⁄400 of a tulā' (Williams); Singhalesekāsi coin. The early Portuguese writers represented the native word by cas, casse, caxa, the Fr. by cas, the Eng. by cass: the existing Pg.caixa and Eng. cash are due to a natural confusion with CASH n.1. From an early date the Portuguese applied caixa (probably on the same analogy) to the small money of other foreign nations, such as that of the Malay Islands, and especially the Chinese, which was also naturally made into cash in English. (Yule)" The English word "cash," meaning "tangible currency," is an older word from Middle Frenchcaisse.
Cash as a currency unit name in China, not to be confused with the type of copper coin also known as cash, refers to a unit used for centuries for copper coinage and banknote equivalents known as wén (文) in Chinese. Being the earliest country to implement paper based currency, at 1023 the 交子 paper money currency occur to adapt the economical climate change of globalization brought by fair trade via silk road, although metal coin were still in circulation. After the introduction of a unified currency system in 1889, the cash continued to be used as a subunit of the yuan with 1000 cash equal to one yuan. Coins continued to be denominated in cash until the 1920s nationally and for a time thereafter regionally.