Gold Coins are used as a currency for services in the underworld, instead of paper money or credit card, as these coins are mostly untraceable by the banks or authority. The coins are used mostly in the Continental Hotel chains for various underworld services but other underworld services can also be paid by the coins.
The currency used in the underworld is a special type of gold coin. While their use is universal in this criminal society, it appears that the value of the coin is not measured directly in US dollars, but rather in favors, as various characters can be seen paying for a favor of varying monetary value with a single coin; always one coin per favor, as long as a single service can be distinctly selected as worth paying for.
There is not a consistent exchange rate and it is unknown if the coins can be exchanged for cash. The coins can be exchanged for various goods and services in the underworld, be it a knife, an AR-15, a single night at The Continental, clean-up, a map, a key, a passage, and disposal of dead bodies, or a bar tab. As stated by Chad Stahelski and Dave Leitch, directors of both movies, in an interview with Screen Junkies there is no set value for these as they act more of a business card. The value of each coin can fluctuate depending on the person who holds it (i.e. John Wick's coins have more value than Addy's); some have taken this to imply that the coins are cryptocurrency "wallets". Since many underworld businesses are disguised as legitimate ones, the presentation of a coin allows access to otherwise hidden services while the public is unsuspecting.
Despite the reliance on the gold coins, assassination contracts are assigned with a value designated in US dollars, possibly emphasizing that value is based on the individual.
The gold coins have images and Latin phrases on both sides. On one side, a lion stands in front of a shield emblazoned with the sun as beams of the sunshine from behind it. At the top of the coin is the phrase "Ens Causa Sui," or "Something generated within itself." At the bottom are the Roman numerals MMI for 2001. On the reverse side is a person with a shield emblazoned with a cross. Below the person is a large laurel. Above the person is the phrase "Ex Unitae Vires," or "Out of unity comes strength."
- Colbert, Stephen M. “The Mythology of John Wick Explained.” Screen Rant, Valnet Inc., 13 Feb. 2017, screenrant.com/john-wick-world-guide-continental-sommelier/.
- Kaplan, Daniel. “What Type of Coins Does John Wick Use in the Film?” Quora, Quora, 16 Apr. 2017, www.quora.com/What-type-of-coins-does-John-Wick-use-in-the-film.