The most basic reason that banks can create money in our society is that:

we use bank debt as the medium of exchange.
the Federal Reserve has given them the legal authority to do it.
banks are chartered by the U.S. government.
commercial banks are insured by the FDIC.

The goldsmiths created money when they:

exchanged paper IOUs for gold.
exchanged gold for paper IOUs.
charged interest.
made loans.

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