samhill wrote:Just wondering here but are there any countries that still use currency that is actually backed by more than a promise & hope?
Not at the present time.
Bu the very concept of backing (such as with a gold or silver or a bi-metal standard) is merely a precursor to the current system anyway. It permits fractional reserve banking and thus currency fabrication from thin air. Notice that the Constitution authorized that only gold and silver (the real things) can be money. It did not authorize paper that is exchangeable into gold or silver. That was merely phase one of the current monetary corruption.
Article 1, Section 10 states that no State shall emit "Bills Of Credit" (paper notes passing as currency). It further declares that no State shall make anything but gold and silver coin
a tender in payment of debts. It did not ever say that banks can't emit their very own "bills of credit", and as a consequence at one time all banks issued their very own currency notes (so they could practice fractional reserve banking). No one was legally obligated (I.E., forced) to deal with or accept their debt based notes as having any real value however, and that was the only time when faith and trust ever really entered into it. Only with government issued paper did the force of legal tender laws appear, supplanting faith and trust with legal enforcement and the fear thereof.
Other than during Continental times pre the USA did paper currency pass among the States as tender for debts. That was a disaster. The next appearance of government issued paper came during the Civil War, when Abe Lincoln (who was bent on trashing the Constitution to nearly the extent that todays politicians do so) issued Greenbacks. They were the very first paper Dollars. Until then all money was either gold or silver coins.