The central bank of Zimbabwe scrapped the country's national currency on Friday and started using the U.S. dollar. The Zimbabwean dollar has for the past decade become more and more worthless because of spiralling inflation. Hyperinflation peaked at an incredible 500 billion per cent in 2008. Since then, Zimbabweans began seeking financial security in the U.S. dollar. Economists estimate that today, 90 per cent of the economy is based on the U.S. dollar. People have until September to exchange their remaining local currency for the U.S. dollar. The official exchange rate is one U.S. dollar to 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars. That's 35 followed by 15 zeroes.
All is not lost for the old Zimbabwean dollar. The large number of zeroes that make up each denomination of the bills is making them a collector's item online. On the auction site eBay, a 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollar note is getting up to US$35 from bidders. This is nearly one hundred times more than the 40 U.S. cents the bill is officially worth in a bank. One hundred trillion is one followed by 14 zeroes. The 100 trillion dollar bill used to be able to buy a weekly bus ticket. One enterprising Zimbabwean has decided to cash in on the old currency by selling it to tourists. Shadreck Gutuza, a former currency trader, said it was a waste of time to cash it in at the banks when tourists will buy the notes for US$20.