According to several sources, including the TNG novel “Balance of Power”, latinum is described as being so dense and complex that the replicators are unable to restructure matter into a form that duplicates it. In its natural state, latinum is a liquid which is mined from certain types of nebulae. It is pressed into gold in order to make it more usable as a means of currency.

Quark, unsurprisingly, has one hundred bricks and six hundred bars — a staggering amount even for a Ferengi money hoarder. It would be the reason why Mourn’s hair fell out from holding the latinum in his second stomach, and it would also be the reason why it is encased in gold. Thing is – no matter how complex (which can only mean ‘large’) an atom gets, it’s going to operate on the principles of quantum mechanics which are predictable. Originally it was simply a story element created as a means of having non-credit monetary transactions in a universe where a replicator could create anything you want. Archerite was named by Commander Shran also in a bluff in “Proving Ground” as a material that his ship was looking to mine, during an encounter at the test site of the Xindi planet killer weapon.

Liquids are horrible for currency – easy to lose portions of them, difficult to transport, hard to exactly measure, and hard to obtain (typically – you can’t usually mine for liquids). In “Past Prologue”, the value of latinum was defined by its weight, then “bars” were the unit of choice throughout DS9 Season 1. “Strips” were first referenced in “The Homecoming”, and slowly came into popular use during the latter half of DS9 Season 2. “Slips” were first referenced in DS9 Season 3 in “Family Business”, and the same year, “bricks” were first referenced in the VOY Season 1 episode “Learning Curve”. Solid latinum is available, although it is presumably bound with some other substance to achieve this state. It is one of the few substances which cannot be replicated, making it a limited resource, and giving it value.

Star Trek Online Wiki

Stack Exchange network consists of 183 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers. Latinum featured in many episodes of Deep Space Nine as a medium of exchange used by Ferengi and others
because it is impossible to replicate. The Ferengi, who had earlier considered gold a valuable commodity, came to consider it worthless once gold-pressed latinum came into use. The in-universe reason for using gold to encase liquid Latinum is that gold is a non-reactive metal.

Ok so the Ferengi confuse the crap out of me in the series as to how much latinum is really worth. I remember them giving a ratio of how many slips of latinum go into a bar but the overall value of a bar is muddied for me by a couple things. When Quark thinks he’s dying he points out that Rom’s life savings in bars is around 250 or so. Quark goes nuts over 1000 bricks of latinum, which is another unit that I don’t know the bar/slip ratio to. Rom then offers to pay Quark 5,000 bars of latinum for his bar when Quark thinks he will become the nagus. My ultimate question/s are what is the breakdown of slips/bars/bricks and also how much do you think Quark’s net worth is?

@neilfien’s answer is basically dead on, and @BBlake’s answer has the reason. Also in “Past Prologue”, both B’Etor and Odo once referred to it simply as “gold”, while in “Q-Less”, Vash referred to it once as “gold latinum”, while Quark (in his excitement) referred to it as “gold-press latinum”.

Star Trek: What Is Latinum?

As far as it’s worth, in a society with replicator technology, gold is effectively worthless as currency. Latinum, since it cannot be reproduced in a replicator, is basically the only thing in the galaxy that has any real material “value” at all. “Pressed” refers to the bar being extruded (at a low temperature) and stamped.

Why is latinum pressed in gold?

Alice is a Lord of the Rings enthusiast who grew up with Tolkien’s tales. She loves all kinds of writing, from articles to stories to her debut novel, which she is seeking literary representation for. Outside of her writing passions, she is a passionate conservationist, trained Bee-keeper, archery dabbler and dog lover. Exploring this gold looking substance, and why the Ferengi are so obsessed with it. Anyway, I am not looking for a technically correct scientific explanation, just wondering if the makers of the series ever touch on anything specific about the manufacturing process.

Fictional substances within Star Trek

The fictional metals duranium and tritanium were referred to in many episodes as extremely hard alloys used in starship hulls and hand-held tools. The planet-killer in “The Doomsday Machine” had a hull made of solid neutronium, which is capable of withstanding a starship’s phasers. Neutronium is considered to be virtually indestructible; the only known way of stopping the planet-killer is to destroy it from the inside via the explosion of a starship’s impulse engines.

Due to the molecular structure being unstable during the replication process

A custom holosuite program from Quark costs one bar, and Quark himself pays his dabo girls fourteen strips per pay cycle (the Star date equivalent to per month). Latinum worked so well as currency throughout the majority of the Alpha Quadrant not only because it was an incredibly rare substance, but it was impossible to replicate (yet another example of the limitations of replicator technology). This relates to why things like gold and diamonds, both highly valuable in today’s society, are no longer worth anything in the world of Star Trek. Because they can be replicated easily, they have been stripped of any value as a currency. Dilithium is another substance impossible (so far) to replicate, as its molecular structure is so complex no known replicator is able to recreate it artificially.

List of Star Trek materials

By the time the later series were set, dilithium could be synthesized. It is suggested that one bar of gold-pressed Latinum (measuring approximately 0.5 x 2.5 x 5 inches) is worth twenty strips, and one strip (0.5 x 2.5 x 3.5 inches) is equal to 100 slips (2.5 x 0.75 x 1 inches). The worth of a brick is never specifically stated, but Quark notes that it is worth considerably more than a bar.

Goddamn it after re-reading this I’ve realized I’m the biggest nerd I know for asking these questions. This is a list of notable fictional materials from the science fiction universe of Star Trek. Like other aspects of stories in the franchise, some were recurring plot elements from one episode or series to another. Pure transparent aluminum was created as a new state of matter by a team of scientists in 2009. A laser pulse removed an electron from every atom without disrupting the crystalline structure.[5] However, the transparent state lasted for only 40 femtoseconds, until electrons returned to the material. However, the substance is actually most commonly found in a liquid state.

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