Amongst the backdrop of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, a London-based FinTech company has teamed up with Lloyds Banking Group and MasterCard to bring the world’s oldest currency back into the digital age: gold.
In November 2017, Glint launched its multi-currency account, app and card that allows customers to use gold to buy goods and services, settle debts and send money to their friends and family.
The way the app works is as follows: once you have successfully created an account, you will then be able to top up your account with Pound Sterling. You can then either chose to leave your money in Sterling, or convert it into gold at 0.5% above the spot price and have it stored in allocated accounts within secure vaults in Zurich (for which you are charged a flat fee for this privilege). When it comes to using your card to pay for items, it works in the same way as any other MasterCard would, but you can choose which ‘wallet’, either the currency or gold, you would like to spend from. Glint automatically converts the gold into the desired currency in real time to provide a frictionless method of using gold to purchase items.
The company was co-founded by Jason Cozens and Ben Davies who have become increasingly disenchanted with our current monetary system. Since the Pound was untethered from the Gold Standard in 1931, the value of a £10 note now solely relies upon its widespread acceptance in society as a medium of exchange. Yet if a shopkeeper one day refused to accept your £10 note, your money would become worthless as you would not be able to trade it for anything. When the UK was part of the Gold Standard, you could have exchanged your £10 at the bank for its equivalent in gold, a physical asset with which to trade. Nowadays, money has no inherent value and it is in fact a social construct that humanity, either sub-consciously or consciously, has chosen to live by.
The benefit of Glint, as Jason Cozens the CEO reasons, is “gold can’t be wiped out, devalued or corrupted” which is in contrast to our current monetary system. They believe that central banks have been able to print money at will to fund overspending that has led to the global economy staggering from an ever-bigger boom to an ever-bigger bust and Davies, the COO and co-founder, believes that people are starting to realise that something is fundamentally wrong with our monetary system.
The focal point of Glint’s advantage over cryptocurrencies is that it has a tangible backing in the form of gold which bitcoin does not. Davies also believes that bitcoin is of little use as a currency – with extremely high volatility, lengthy transaction times and steep fees, it is nearly impossible to use as a means of exchange. Yet gold is renowned as being a hedge against stock market volatility and with access to the spot price of gold being readily available, the transaction times with Glint should be momentary at worst.
Glint will certainly have its critics, but to date the FinTech company has raised £6.1 million with significant backing from Bray Capital and other high profile individual investors. In 2018, they plan to launch the app for Android users as it is currently only available on the iOS platform, as well as adding a wider range of currencies to the ‘wallet’ too. Glint may still be in its infancy, but it is certainly a company worth watching.