From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
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Bear coins are silver coins with an imprint of a bear, and are the currency of Northern Kremisphere. They appear in both Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! and Donkey Kong Land III, and are the successor to Banana Coins from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.
Bear coins appear in most of the Northern Kremisphere levels. They are required for competing in Swanky's Sideshow, or the Game Boy Advance remake's mini-game challenges: Funky's Rentals, Cranky's Dojo, and Swanky's Dash. As suggested from its name, bear coins are used to purchase a service from the Brothers Bears, most notably items from Bazaar's General Store.