When Rick trades with his Counterparts in other dimensions, they use a secret currency based on what each Rick actually values.
While Rick and Morty‘s titular Scientist often argues that life is totally devoid of meaning, there is one thing that Rick truly cares about and values above all else. There have been hints at this throughout the franchise, but few as clear as the currency secretly used by Ricks when making deals across realities.
After Morty begins to pester Rick regarding his personal safety, the two travel to another dimension to buy armor for Morty. They discover an armor so powerful it’s referred to as the multiverse’s Greatest Weapon – the Hollaluog. When Rick is told by his alt-reality self that the armor costs something of real value, and Rick responds by handing him over an entire wallet.
Although he was given an entire wallet, it wasn’t money that the salesman Rick was after. Instead, he pulls out a picture of Rick at (a) Morty’s first birthday party. This is huge considering that Rick constantly claims that everything is pointless, even his family, yet he cares enough about them for a picture of his grandson to have “real value” to another Rick as currency worth the multiverse’s Greatest weapon. So even though Rick has done terrible things to his family, deep down he actually cares about them and values them above anything else. This secret is revealed in Rick and Morty #56 by Kyle Starks and Marc Ellerby.
This isn’t the first time Rick has expressed some sort of affection for his family. He’s done so in both the Comics and the show. In the show, Simple Rick is a version of Rick who cares about the simple things in life, to whom family is held in the highest regard. The other Ricks have turned his life into a product, making Simple Rick’s Simple Wafers a delicacy on the Citadel. Another example is found in the comics. Rick and Morty #23 explains why Rick moved to C-131: to be with the Ultimate version of his daughter, who is considered the Beth-est Beth. He could have gone anywhere, but he chose to go where he could be with the best version of his daughter.
He doesn’t show it often, but Rick truly does value family above all else, or else that picture of baby Morty wouldn’t have meant anything. This small sentiment stands out against many of the themes Rick and Morty is known for, but there’s no denying that family is the one thing that Rick finds meaning in, even if he wishes he didn’t.
More: Rick & Morty Hid the Darkest Part of its Morty’s Mind Blowers Anthology