is burning money illegal

Money is a commodity that is generally accepted as a medium of economic exchange. In our society today it is the major medium of exchange and can be in form of coins and, banknotes.

The answer to the question “Is burning money illegal?”, well Yes, burning money is Illegal in some countries while in some countries it is not illegal. However, defacing is generally illegal.

What is Burning Money?

Burning Money or Money burning is an intentional act of destroying money. In most cases, money is destroyed by setting them on fire. This act decreases the wealth of the owner without directly affecting others or enriching another individual. Economically, reduces the money supply and slightly reduces the inflation rate.

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Moreover, people burn money for different reasons such as to send a message, as a form of protest, for artistic purposes, and as a signal. Below is the major reasons why people burn money.

Reasons why people burn money

Here are some of the reasons people burn money

1. For the purpose of macroeconomics

Burning money is another way of removing the quantity of money in circulation. This method is the most effective because the money is removed forever and no one will ever get to use it. Therefore, burning money reduces supply, also this is one form of inflation monetary policy that anyone can apply.

Usually, governments control the money in circulation by selling government bonds or foreign currency, However, burning money will eliminate exchanging any item to reduce the total money in circulation.

2. To deal with bad habits

Burning money can be used to deal with people suffering from one bad habit or the other. For instance, patients suffering from drug addiction can be trained to burn a dollar whenever they engage in such an act. According, to research this method is found to be very effective compared to other, methods such as the control group.

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3. To destroy worn-out notes

To maintain a great number of usable currency in circulation the Central bank makes use of this procedure. Therefore, they collect and destroy worn-out coins and banknotes in exchange for new ones.

4. As an act of protection or artistic purpose

History has proven that money can be used as a form of protest. Sometimes it is used to emphasize money’s worthlessness. For instance, In 1984, Serge Gainsbourg burned a 500 French franc note on television to protest against heavy taxation.

Also, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty’s art collective, the K Foundation, burned one million pounds sterling in currency on the Scottish island of Jura on August 23, 1994.

Drummond and Cauty earned the majority of the funding for the K Foundation while performing as The KLF, one of the most popular musical acts in the UK during the early 1990s. The pair has never properly clarified why they were burning

List of countries where it is illegal to burn money

Here is a list of countries that punish anyone that engages in the act of burning money.

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Australia: Section 16 of the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981 in Australia law prohibits the deliberate damage and destruction of Australian money without a legal permit. Breaking this law can lead to detention or a fine

Canada: Canada currency Act states that “No person shall melt down, break up or burn any currency that is a legal tender in Canada”.

New Zealand: To willfully deface, disfigure, or mutilate any banknote in New Zealand is against the law, according to Section 28 of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act of 1990. A fine of up to $1,000 in New Zealand is the punishment. [37]

Singapore: According to Singapore’s Currency Act, anyone found guilty of altering currency notes or coins in any way that reduces their value or utility faces a punishment of up to $2,000.

Taiwan: A fine of up to five times the nominal value of the damaged or rendered useless coins or notes is imposed.

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Turkey: Defacing or destroying banknotes in Turkey is punishable by penalties or imprisonment


In some parts of the world intentionally causing damage to money in any way is illegal. Therefore, before you carry out such action make sure you make proper research on the law of your country.

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