The real (pl. reais) is the present-day currency of Brazil. Its sign is R$ and its ISO code is BRL. It is subdivided into 100 centavos ("Cents"). In Portuguese the word real means both "royal" and "real".
The modern real was introduced in 1994, when it replaced the old currency, the cruzeiro real, as part of the Plano Real, a substantial monetary reform package that aimed to put an end to three decades of rampant inflation. At the time it was meant to have approximately fixed 1:1 exchange rate with the United States dollar. It suffered a sudden devaluation to a rate of about 2:1 in 1999, reached almost 4:1 in 2002, then partly recovered and has been approximately 2:1 since 2006. The exchange rate as of 15 July 2015 is BRL 3.19 to USD 1.00.
The dollar-like sign (cifrão) in the currency's symbol (both historic and modern), and in all the other past Brazilian currencies, is officially written with two vertical strokes rather than one. However Unicode considers the difference to be only a matter of font design, and does not have a separate code for the two-stroked version.