The dollar is the official currency of Brunei, but inside the country, in the official language Malay, the currency is known as the ringgit Brunei. The ringgit, or dollar, has been the national currency since 1967, and today, it is pegged with the Singapore dollar so both currencies maintain the same value on the foreign currency exchange.
The first currencies of Brunei were shells and bronze teapots. Coins were not minted for use in the country until 1868. The first coins were tin, but a one-cent coin based on the Straits dollar was minted 20 years later. Because Brunei was a protectorate of the United Kingdom, the country used a series of currencies for British colonies in the area. The first of these was the Straits dollar. This was followed by the Malayan dollar and then, by the Malaya and British Borneo dollar.
After Singapore gained independence and Malaysia was officially formed, a new distinct currency was required by Borneo. The currency was introduced by a division of the new Ministry of Finance. The first division of the Ministry of Finance responsible for currency was the Brunei Currency Board. In 2004, the Brunei Currency Board was replaced by the similarly named Brunei Currency and Monetary Board (BCMB). BCMB is the sole authority in Brunei over the issuance of coins and banknotes. The Board is also responsible for maintaining foreign currency reserves and maintaining the international value of the Brunei dollar. The chair of the BCMB is the Minister of Finance.
The BCMB works closely with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Their currencies are pegged to maintain the same international value so it is equally exchanged between the two countries. Although the Singapore dollar is not considered legal tender in Brunei, it is accepted as customary tender. The same is true of the Brunei dollar in Singapore.
Coins are minted in Brunei currency for the following denominations: 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. The coins are struck in cupronickel, except for the one-cent coin, which is copper over steel. In 1996, the first polymer bank notes were issued by Brunei. Banknotes are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500, 1000 and 10,000 dollars.