A brief history of digital gold currency
The idea of a gold digital currency has always had an appeal for those looking for an alternative payment system. Not long after the internet went mainstream E-Gold emerged as the first digital currency backed entirely by gold in 1995. At its peak, millions of people around the world were using this service until it was shut down.
Other attempts to make a digital gold currency were also made, but this was before the age of Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Now with blockchain technology established as a secure accounting method, and with Bitcoin becoming better known to the general public, a new era of gold-backed cryptocurrency is emerging. There is a proverbial (and literal) gold rush happening now in the crypto world, and even countries are looking to issue their own gold-based cryptocurrency.
The basic concept is certainly compelling. A token or coin is issued that represents a value of gold (for example 1 gram of gold equals 1 coin). The gram of gold is stored by a trusted custodian (preferably third party), and can be traded with other coin holders.
At a minimum the price of the coin will always equal the current gold rate. If the cryptocurrency becomes popular then the price of the coin can potentially increase in value, greater than the value of gold. If the cryptocurrency doesn’t take off then the value remains as the value of the gram of gold. It’s like a built-in stop-loss.
There of course many risks as well. While the blockchain accounts for the coins, accounting for physical stored gold is another matter. When evaluating such tokens look for who actually owns the gold and how it is stored.