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Around the campfire: There goes 2020- let’s hope 2021 is an improvement

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Phew! That was quite a year. I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping that poor old overloaded Santa has wrapped up just one gift – which will be a much better year to come.

It wasn’t all bad though. Glint has had a wonderful year, with thousands of new registrations and users; we raised new financing of £2.5 million from private investors and the UK government’s Future Fund. In the UK and Europe, we have got our P2P app, called Glint It! up and running, which means that our cardholders can send and receive gifts of real gold, digitally; and we aim to get this facility rolled out next year across the US. We have hired some brilliant new staff in engineering, marketing, and customer relations, all of whom will be key to us achieving a bumper 2021.

And let’s not forget that the gold price hit a new record on 4 August, of more than $2,036 per ounce. Even though it has retreated a bit since then, the overall price rise so far this year has been almost 25%.

Of course, if I take stock of the year that’s about to disappear, one thing is on everyone’s mind – Covid-19 and how soon we can all get a preventative jab. I come far down the pecking order, being relatively young and in the best of health.

At the start of 2020, none of us could have imagined the human and economic carnage that would flow from a city in China, if that really is the source of the coronavirus outbreak – maybe now that the World Health Organization has managed to persuade China to permit it to send a research mission to Wuhan in January we’ll get to the bottom of it, but I am not holding my breath. The 73.4 million people who have been infected with the virus and the relatives of the 1.63 million who have died certainly deserve some kind of explanation.

As do the tens of millions all around the world who have lost their jobs and incomes as a consequence of government “lockdowns”. Some 10 million Americans who had a job last January don’t have one today – Christmas is going to be bleak for the hundreds of millions of people in a similar position. We all stopped buying things or shifted our spending on-line and that disrupted the world’s supply-chains – millions of (already poorly paid) Bangladeshi garment workers were thrown on the streets overnight, for example.

Governments everywhere chucked money – much of it borrowed or newly-created – at societies, to prop up businesses and alleviate the extreme hardship of those who were “furloughed”, which is just a euphemism for being made temporarily redundant.

People have started to worry about where all this “fresh” money will end up. They have started to worry, justifiably, about the possibility of inflation. They have over the course of this year became much more conscious of the steady devaluation of fiat money, and preferred to hold their cash close them rather than deposit it in banks, where they get almost no interest on their money, and certainly less than inflation.

Which explains why gold has shot up this year, and also explains the meteoric rise in the value of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. If there is just one lesson that should be taken to heart from this year, it’s that governments can’t be trusted, either to stifle a global virus or to handle an economic crisis. Confidence and trust in previously deferred-to “authorities” has been completely eroded. People want to defend what they have, so they are turning to alternative forms of currency.

On top of all this, we in Britain are still in the dark about what form of relationship we may have with the European Union. “Brexit” and the failure of both the UK government and the EU to strike a deal – even though they agree they want a deal – has been almost completely overshadowed by Covid-19 worries and fears of further “lockdowns”.

Whatever 2021 holds, know that Glint will be there for you. With gold in our backpacks, we can all march together into the future, heads high and brimming with confidence that we can do no more to protect our personal finances.

Have yourself a great holiday break and see you in the New Year!

Jason

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