Animal hides have been utilised by humans for several different things, all the way back to the Palaeolithic Era. Leather craft was introduced in the middle ages and it quickly became a multipurpose, universally used material, even being used as a form of currency before money as we know it today was introduced.
Leather was used as a token of currency in different parts of the world, and through out different periods of time, but it wasn’t very successful – it was used as evidence of a promise to pay a bearer on demand a total sum of XYZ. The idea originated in China where the first forms of banknotes were made out of one foot square pieces of deerskin leather and were exchanged for goods – this is believed to be the beginning of a kind of paper money.
Most documentation of leather money comes from Europe where it was used as currency out of necessity. For example, in 1122 Doge Domenico Michaele of Venice, used pieces of leather stamped with a royal seal to pay his fleet when he exhausted his expenses. The troops would then be able to reimburse the pieces of leather once the fleet had returned to Venice.
In the 13th century, Emperor Muhammed-Bin-Tughlaq introduced leather as a form of currency on a mass scale in India; he was inspired by the paper money that had been used in China. As with his many other plans for currency exchange and substitution, it was a failure due to the facility to produce fakes.