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We know latinum cannot be replicated which gives it it's value in the Star Trek universe. But usually with metal based currency there is a productive use (Not historically, but presently and in the future). For instance today silver is useful for cameras and medical equipment. Does anyone know if latinum is actually useful in the production of anything?

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    I question your premise - silver is useful now, but precious metals like silver and gold were historically useful for nothing but adornment... they just looked pretty, and there wasn't a lot of it readily available. – HorusKol Jan 2 '12 at 0:31
  • The future finds uses for just about everything. Today gold is useful for other purposes. Considering Star Trek is based much farther in future than where we are currently, there should be, theoretically, even more uses for gold, silver and other rare metals. – Caimen Jan 2 '12 at 10:26
  • but they were precious long before they were useful, hence I question your premise "usually with metal based currency there is a productive use" – HorusKol Jan 2 '12 at 11:29
  • My premise is not meant to deal with the historical nature of precious metals but the present and future implications of it. I changed the text to be a little more specific. – Caimen Jan 3 '12 at 3:36
  • Actually, historically gold and especially silver were useful in the sense of being made into useful objects. Also, gold was always valued for its ability to resist tarnish. – Martha Jan 3 '12 at 15:34
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Memory Alpha lists the known uses of Latinum. Note that all of them are vanity items:

Renewal scroll inscription pens
Hair brooch
Tooth sharpener
Bucket
Waste extraction fixtures
- According to Nog, the waste extraction fixtures in the Nagal Residence are plated with latinum.
Bajoran earring

Additionally the "Divine Treasury" is said to be made out of solid Latinum. While it's a fictitious locale, its existence as pure Latinum also suggests its use purely for vanity.

Latinum is likely only valuable as it can not be replicated. Also note that the Ferengi are not a utilitarian species; money has inherent value to them, practical goods are only worth what they can be sold for.

A useless but impossible to replicate material is arguably the perfect currency for the Ferengi; it's the one thing you couldn't sell for more money. Ferengi obsession over what is basically pure money is likely commentary; one that would be lessened if they had practical reasons for their greed.

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    Additionally, gold was used as a currency initially because of its rarity (and vanity items like jewelry). It wasn't until later that it was discovered to be a good electrical conductor. – Jack B Nimble Dec 30 '11 at 22:09
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    Very true. Latinum seems to be an extreme analog of gold in terms of currency and vanity usages. Pressing it with gold and using it in little tiny gold bars seems to drive the point home...a bit heavy handedly, too. – Ben Brocka Dec 30 '11 at 22:14
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    You might want to remove The Divine Treasury from that list, as it's not real. It's the afterlife in Ferengi mythology. – user1027 Dec 30 '11 at 22:15
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    @Keen thanks. The description of the Divine Treasury also hints at Latinum's use as an object of vanity/greed so I included it as a separate note. – Ben Brocka Dec 30 '11 at 22:18
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    Wasn't latinum a liquid, which is why it was normally gold pressed – JoeyD473 Oct 1 '14 at 13:44

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