I feel silly for even mentioning this, but there are less than 256
countries in the UN, and as far as I know, each has at most one
currency, so you could use 8 bits instead of 15.

That's not always true, e.g. China has RMB and HKD. Also Taiwan is not a member country of UN but I don't think one would exclude TWD.

There'll also times a country may transit from one currency to another. Even a currency (currency of most continental European countries before Euro) is no more being used, it may still need to be supported.


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