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Category: Glint Special Report

Glint Special Report: Sound money and social stability

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We see Glint as the key to unlocking the security of gold as sound money, money that can be used by everyone in their daily life. While gold goes up and down in price, over time it has proved a reliable store of value.

Thus, we are always on the look-out for cogent, intelligent and persuasive articles which give a provocative analysis of the current practices of central banks, those bodies which have the most profound influence over our fiat money system.

For that reason, we are delighted to publish here today an essay by Geoff Blanning. In his ‘Put the tools away now, please’ Geoff, who worked in the City for 32 years as an investment manager, savages the quantitative easing policy pursued by the Bank of England (and other central banks) and warns that the creation of vast amounts of new money “represents a debasement of every existing pound in your pocket and mine”. Geoff lays out how higher inflation inevitably follows the extraordinary amount of new money which has been injected into the global system.

Read Geoff Blanning’s ‘Put the tools away now, please’  White Paper here:
https://glintpay.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Geoffrey-Blanning-Put-the-tools-away-now-please.pdf

Listen to the podcast here on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3QQoOfUpMqozX1Am2VoLRo

Watch our YouTube film here: https://youtu.be/qcUg1OSu8xk

Glint Special Report: Saving in Gold gets new buyers into their homes faster

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The struggle to buy your first home is almost a universal experience; as with many things, the first step is usually the hardest. Once you’re on the housing ladder then you can enjoy the benefits of home ownership for the rest of your life, however, securing the deposit needed to get on the first rung is notoriously difficult and, for some, almost unattainable.

Some experts believe that we’re in the midst of a housing bubble. In the UK, the average house price jumped 13.2% over the last year to over £260,000, despite the freeze on Stamp Duty (the government tax on house sales) ending. Currently, UK house prices are around 30% higher than the peak before the 2008 financial crisis.

In the US, house prices are rising at the fastest rate in 30 years – up 18.6% in a year according to the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller national home price index – driven by ultra-low mortgage rates and record levels of borrowing which has hit $4.6tn over the last 12 months.

With prices rocketing, first-time buyers could be forgiven for thinking the situation is hopeless and that home ownership will forever remain out of reach. ‘Generation Rent’ (young adults between 18 and 40) faces an uncertain future of unstable tenancies, spiralling rents and a lack of security which all collude to make it increasingly difficult, sometimes even impossible, to save enough to reach that crucial amount required for a deposit.

Research from the British bank Halifax recently revealed that the average UK deposit sits at £59,000 or around a quarter of the average house price. A staggering amount considering the average annual salary is around £31,000!

In the US, Federal Reserve Economic Data indicates that the average house price is $434,200 – if prospective homebuyers need an average deposit of 12% of the house price (as indicated by the National Association of Realtors) then they’d have to save over $52,000. This equates to 118% of the average income for men in the US, and 177% of the average annual income for women (according to U.S. Census Bureau).

12 years to save for a UK deposit but gold can provide first-time buyers with the tantalising prospect of home ownership 4 years sooner

Our research shows that if UK first-time buyers saved 20% of their salary it would take 12 years to save up the average house deposit. Of course, the issue is that as house prices soar by the time you’ve reached your target for a deposit, that amount is no longer enough to purchase the home you were saving toward.

Rather than accepting this as a depressing fact of life, there are alternative ways to save towards a deposit. Cryptocurrencies have enjoyed a surge in popularity since the Covid-19 pandemic began, particularly amongst Millennials. However, the volatility of cryptos ensures that these assets are not viable long-term stores of value. For example, double-digit overnight drops in value are far from unheard of; savers could see the value of their deposit plummet in the hours before finalising a property purchase. Of increasing concern are the reports of the reluctance of some lenders to approve mortgage applications of borrowers whose deposit has originated from crypto returns – some applications have apparently even been rejected outright.

Gold can unlock access to home ownership for first-time buyers. Rather than having to struggle for 12 years to gather a deposit, saving in gold would have allowed savers to reach their goal for a deposit in just 8 years, a third quicker than through cash savings.

Over the last 20 years, UK house prices have increased by 175% from £96,500 in 2001 to £266,000 today. Over the same period gold prices have risen much more quickly, up 559% from $275 to $1,812 per troy ounce, indicating that savers could have secured a house deposit much sooner by investing and saving in gold.

In the US, house prices have also seen a huge spike over the last 20 years – jumping 109% from $207,800 in 2001 to $434,200 today (according to Federal Reserve Economic Data). Again, while a huge jump, the growth in house prices is outperformed by the rise in the gold price.

Gold offers a solution in the US too. Our research indicates that to afford the average US house deposit of $52,100, male first-time buyers need to save for an average of six years, whilst female first-time buyers are forced to save for up to nine years. Analysis of historic gold prices shows that this deposit could be reached a year earlier, if prospective buyers saved in gold instead of cash.

How does gold compare to investments? Pretty well. In fact, gold has outperformed many other traditional investments, including the FTSE 100. These are the UK’s most profitable companies, yet shares have only increased by 29% in the last 20 years, from 5,537 to 7,151. Although the FTSE 250 has seen huge growth since 2001, up 296%, again gold has fared better over that period. By way of comparison, the performance of the FTSE 350 over the last 20 years is much closer to the FTSE 100 rather than the 250 – jumping 65% during that time.

US stock exchanges have seen much more substantial growth over the last 20 years. However, performance still lags significantly behind the rise in gold prices. Here’s a look at how the largest exchanges have performed since 2001:
• NYSE has jumped 137% from 7,094 to 16,846
• Dow Jones Industrial Average up 220% from 11,048 to 35,312
• Nasdaq soared 304% from 3,787 to 15,309

Clearly, gold has outperformed other assets over the last 20 years. While the value of gold can decline, meaning that its purchasing power can also decline, it has proven its reliability as a long-term store of value and prices are steadily climbing back to the highs of last year. Previously, access to gold was extremely limited but the digitalisation of gold through Glint has unlocked its access, offering all consumers a viable means of saving for the future.

The same trend is clear since the financial crisis too. Although house prices in both the UK and US have increased by more than 50% since 2008, gold prices have soared 147% over the same period. Gold has also dramatically outperformed many other investments over the long-term, including the FTSE 100, which has risen by around 75% since the crisis. In the US, exchanges such as Nasdaq have enjoyed huge growth since the lows of the financial crisis, driven by the meteoric rise of the tech powerhouses including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla. This growth may have skewed the figures in favour of the US exchanges but the simple fact remains – gold has risen much more quickly than house prices.

Gold could be the answer for those looking for an alternative to the seemingly fruitless task of saving for a deposit. Rather than swimming against the tide, investing in and holding gold could be the answer to make your dream home a reality much sooner than expected.

 

Glint Special Report: Jobs are up but so is inflation – how should central banks react?

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It’s been a busy week in the UK so far with several government announcements indicating exactly where we are in terms of our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Firstly, some positive news – the unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.8% but there were green shoots in terms of the jobs market with 657,000 vacancies, up by almost 50,000 on the previous quarter. Positive signs of recovery, at least in the jobs market. But that’s about it for good news, I’m afraid.

A closer look suggests that there is still a long way to go. We’re still far behind pre-pandemic levels with around 750,000 fewer people in employment than this time 12 months ago. In the US, the employment level is 10 million jobs below its pre-pandemic level.

Once again, the younger generation has been hit hardest with 289,000 fewer employees under the age of 25 on the payroll than 12 months ago – largely due to the higher proportions of workers from this demographic in the catastrophically hit sectors of hospitality, leisure and retail. This generation is at serious risk of being further left behind and the financial inequality that is already prevalent will only worsen.

We all knew the Covid recovery would take time so these figures, whilst still concerning, unfortunately aren’t that surprising. The biggest worry is the latest round of inflation figures as well as central banks’ acceptance of what appears to be rapidly rising inflation and their seeming reluctance to do anything about it.

In the UK, inflation more than doubled to 1.5% last month and there are signs that not only will we surpass the Bank of England’s 2% target this year, we’ll even hit 2.5%. In the US, expectations for consumer price inflation now range between 3% and 6%.

Last week, we also saw inflation figures from the world’s two largest economies. Unfortunately, these also made concerning reading – inflation rises in both the US (4.2% – discussed in more detail in last week’s newsletter) and China (0.9% although they have a target of 3% this year) meant that consumers are facing price hikes at the precise moment that they are beginning to rebuild after the pandemic. In China, there is potential for far worse to come as producer prices increased 6.8% over a year, the fastest rise since October 2017 – as the largest producer globally, there should be real concern if these increased costs are passed on to consumers.

As long as inflation continues to rise without intervention from central banks, consumers and savers will be hit. In the UK at least, the conversation around the introduction of negative interest rates won’t die down; add the £300bn borrowed to struggle through the Covid-19 pandemic and continuing quantitative easing to this climate of historically low interest rates and we have a perfect storm which devalues our cash and our savings by the day. According to the National Audit Office the UK has spent £372 billion so far on measures designed to combat the impact of Covid-19.

It’s difficult to see how central banks will rescue the situation, especially as there appears to be little to no inclination to increase interest rates. This reluctance isn’t surprising; there is fear of the markets sliding even further and interest rate rises could snuff out the embryonic economic recovery. However, the time to act is now before another generation is financially crippled for life.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen might still think that there isn’t an inflationary problem, but she may soon be the only one.

With all the above factors in place, and central banks’ apparent disregard for the financial welfare of consumers, it’s no wonder that alternative currencies have flourished in recent months as consumers and savers search for value. Markets are down, ISAs offer minuscule interest; where else can we turn? Cryptocurrencies may have grabbed the headlines but, ever since Elon Musk’s hint that Tesla may sell its Bitcoin holding sent prices crashing across the crypto market, the average consumer will be understandably cautious about investing in such volatile assets. By comparison, although the value of gold can decline, it is up 11% in just six weeks and whilst still below last summer’s peak this appears to be the perfect opportunity for it to remind us all why it has been the ultimate long-term store of value for centuries.

 

Glint Special Report: Bitcoin vs Gold – who won The Great Debate?

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Like many of you, we were glued to the Bitcoin vs Gold debate between industry heavyweights Michael Saylor (Bitcoin Billionaire) and Frank Giustra (Gold Billionaire). As expected, it was a fascinating discussion, with plenty of insight to digest.

The debate covered a huge range of key issues and arguments; we’ve reviewed and analysed some of the big talking points – as well as highlighting some of the major points that weren’t mentioned.

Asset comparison

According to Michael Saylor, Bitcoin is secure and possesses many of the characteristics of monetary gold, but without its “defects”. This echoes the classic standpoint of Bitcoin as “new” or “digital” gold and its devotees will undoubtedly believe this encapsulates the entire argument in just one pithy phrase.

Frank Giustra, on the other hand, clearly doesn’t. He makes a point we’ve demonstrated on these pages many times over the last few years – Bitcoin has never been tested in a crisis, whereas gold has been valued, relied upon and trusted as both a means of saving as well as money, for centuries. Gold has stood the test of time.

Giustra also questions whether Bitcoin will be accepted as a mainstream method of payment. Whilst Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are easily accessible as a store of value, it’s much more difficult to actually spend them. Whilst some of the world’s largest retailers and companies do accept payment in Bitcoin and the number is growing, it’s still very uncommon to be able to use cryptos with smaller businesses. Until this changes, Bitcoin isn’t a viable alternative as a means of everyday exchange, he argues.

There are two other major factors that are likely to prevent Bitcoin from establishing itself as an everyday currency – slow transaction processing times and high fees. Bitcoin has only been able to process a maximum of seven transactions per second and there are many factors which can slow down transactions – taking as long as five days in 2018. In terms of fees, Bitcoin transactions are prohibitively expensive – the average fee over the last week is around $45, meaning that it is an unviable option for most everyday purchases… imagine spending $5 on a coffee and being hit with ‘gas’ fees of $45!

Risk factors

As Frank Giustra highlighted, quantifying the risks of Bitcoin is hugely important. Whilst we all know that investments can fall in value as well as increase, Bitcoin can sometimes be positioned as an almost risk-free asset – this is very dangerous, especially as it is such an attractive proposition for private investors.

However, as Giustra pointed out, Bitcoin shouldn’t be worried about gold; “central banks are the ones you need to look out for”. This is a crucial point that we’ve raised here many times. Governments need to control their currency, making ownership of cryptocurrencies illegal could easily happen. We’ve already seen it in China and India is once again looking to ban Bitcoin. What would be the impact of this? It is likely to curtail Bitcoin to the point where only a minority use it. This could have a catastrophic impact on its value and the portfolios of its holders.

On a related note, Bitcoin is unregulated. It is the wild west of global currencies; this doesn’t put off investors, in fact for many the lack of regulation is another advantage of Bitcoin (our debate preview delved into regulatory details). However, this also makes it very attractive to manipulators as well as another potential threat to governments – PayPal Founder Peter Thiel recently went as far as describing it as a “Chinese financial weapon”.

Once again, taxation is key. Governments won’t want to risk losing out on potentially billions in tax revenues whilst an unregulated, anonymous currency like Bitcoin flourishes. Many believe it is inevitable that central banks will look to control or curtail cryptos – in the UK, we’ve recently seen clear signs of this as the Bank of England announced the launch of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) taskforce; what is a CBDC if not an attempt to intervene in the digital currency arena?

Historical performance

No one questions the longevity of gold and its role as currency throughout moments of monumental change throughout history. However, Bitcoiners often claim that gold has had its time and suggest it is no longer fit for purpose – this is incorrect as Glint’s payments ecosystem allows gold to be spent as an everyday currency whilst also performing its timeless role as a store of value.

Saylor claims that Bitcoin has matured as an asset and is appreciating at 200% per year. This seems unsustainable – Giustra suggests as much by remarking how it “sounds more like a bubble environment than a store of value”. Whilst Saylor claims that Bitcoin is an asset rather than a currency – which should be held over the long-term – what happens if this does turn out to be a bubble?

Regardless of the hugely impressive recent performance of Bitcoin, there is one irrefutable point – Bitcoin has not been tested over the long-term and has not been around long enough to demonstrate its viability as a store of value.

Supply dynamics

Saylor made one particularly revealing comment during the debate: “Gold is a commodity, Bitcoin is a scarcity”. This provides a fascinating insight into how he, and no doubt, many other Bitcoiners, view gold’s position. Gold is a finite resource, we cannot simply create more of it – this is part of its intrinsic value and why it has been viewed by many as a trusted and reliable asset for thousands of years.

On the other hand, Bitcoin is created by humans. There may only be 21 million coins in existence but who’s to say this cannot change? History is full of surprises that were seemingly impossible, until they happened. By its very nature, Bitcoin is subject to human intervention and at risk of corruption – whether that is caused by the best intentions or through malign forces.
This poses an interesting question, does the supply dynamics of Bitcoin prevent its use as a currency? We’ll find out soon enough.

Ownership

Gold ownership is widely spread amongst people around the world. The world’s central banks only own 17% of the world’s gold.

The complete opposite is true of Bitcoin. A recent Bloomberg article revealed that 95% of Bitcoin’s market cap was owned by only 2% of wallets; even if the figure is lower (71.5% according to other research), these ‘whales’ hold undue influence over the asset and can impact its already high volatility – 75% to 125% compared to 8-20% for gold.

One of the most telling points made during the debate was Giustra’s anecdotal suggestion that Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, sees little real institutional investment in Bitcoin. It will be fascinating to see if this changes over time.

Market forces

“None of us have experienced an investment climate like today” – Giustra’s words certainly put 2021 into context. This supports his message to private investors of the importance of diversification. And for many, gold is the ultimate hedge in times of uncertainty.

Of course, more big-tech and finance companies are embracing Bitcoin – Tesla being one of the highest profile recent institutional investors. Saylor clearly believes that this is only likely to accelerate in the future. However, as Giustra highlights, Bitcoin isn’t owned by any central banks and it is highly debatable that it would become a reserve currency. This is partly down to a need for control and is one of the motivations behind the development of CDBCs.

Bitcoin appears to be behaving like a growth stock, time will tell how it performs over the long term.

Glint’s view

As expected, it was a forthright and hugely insightful debate, but the panel missed out on the opportunity to cover some crucial topics. Some of these we discussed in our preview earlier this week.

Firstly, it is a shame that the discussion focussed on the two assets as a store of value and offered little in terms of gold as a means of exchange. Giustra believes that gold is no longer used as everyday money, whilst Saylor even claimed it is a myth that gold is money – the opposite is exactly what Glint offers with its global payments ecosystem allowing clients to spend, save and share real gold through our app and Glint Mastercard®.

Also, the scalability of gold as a currency wasn’t discussed. Through the digitalisation of gold with Glint, instant and secure cross-border payments in real gold are possible at the touch of a screen, these don’t require huge amounts of energy either, which is often one of the main criticisms of Bitcoin.

Finally, gold is increasingly relevant to younger consumers – recent research from the Royal Mint shows a 32% increase in millennials turning to gold. Through Glint, gold can now be used in the same way as many cryptocurrencies – traded, spent and sent to friends and family. We’re working hard to develop a payments alternative that positions gold as a relevant and viable currency for the 21st century.

Special Report: The debate of the year – Gold vs Bitcoin with Frank Giustra & Michael Saylor

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Like all proponents of alternative currencies, we’re eagerly awaiting the much-hyped debate between billionaire goldbug Frank Giustra and billionaire Bitcoiner Michael Saylor on gold vs bitcoin to be streamed live on the Stansberry Research YouTube channel!

Gold is a currency, occupying the same position as cryptocurrencies; after all, they have the same common enemy – fiat currencies; they share the same mission, to provide a reliable alternative to government-backed money. Both gold (used as a currency and digitally with Glint’s bespoke app and Mastercard®) and cryptos such as Bitcoin, are alternative global currencies allowing consumers to take greater control over their finances and help protect their purchasing power over the long-term.

Currently, the financial system punishes us all; through a combination of low interest rates, rising inflation, record-high government borrowing and continuing quantitative easing, the value of national currencies erodes, hitting our savings and the lasting value of our money.

Whilst the value of gold can obviously decline, as we’ve seen since its summer peak last year, the fundamentals that ensure that gold is seen by many as a more reliable long-term store of value remain in place – gold prices are up almost 50% over the last five years, despite the recent dip.

Glint has enabled gold to be used as everyday money all over the world via electronic payments. Thanks to Glint’s fast and secure platform, gold can now, not only be used to save for the future, but it can also be spent on a daily basis, anywhere in the world using your Glint Mastercard® or increasingly with Glint’s direct peer to peer (P2P) transfer, Glint it!

Bitcoin’s recent performance has obviously been hugely impressive – it’s up over 600% on the year – however, there is huge volatility which can impact its viability as an everyday currency. Bitcoin’s volatility lies between 75% to 125% compared to 8-20% for gold.

This volatility is also enhanced as around 95% of all Bitcoin is controlled by just 2% of accounts, meaning that the ‘whales’ have undue influence on the performance and value of the currency. Other research suggests 2% of ‘whales’ control 71.5% of Bitcoin, even taking this lower figure into account, ownership is hugely disproportionate.

In addition, the high transaction fees of purchases with Bitcoin – the average fee for a Bitcoin transaction in the last 7 days is over $45 – suggest that it is of limited use as an everyday currency in its current format. By comparison, Glint’s Mastercard® and Glint it! transfer and payments transactions are free to our users – although we do charge a small fee on some services such as currency exchange, or for taking cash from an ATM.

 

Let us compare some of the key characteristics of both gold and Bitcoin.

CONCENTRATED OWNERSHIP

Gold

Gold ownership is widely spread amongst people around the world. The world’s central banks only own 17% of the world’s gold.

Bitcoin

95% of the market cap of Bitcoin is held by only 2% of Bitcoin wallets – even if it is less than this – 71.5% according to some research – this is creating a new generation of oligarchs (the initial coin holders) to replace the old.

 

SCALABILITY & SPEED

Gold

Glint has enabled gold to be used in payments and unlike Bitcoin, transactions are fast – within 200ms, this can be maintained regardless of volume of transactions. The transfer of gold ownership from one Glint wallet to another is therefore scalable.

Bitcoin

The bigger the Bitcoin network gets the slower it is likely to become – there are variety of causes from congestion to increased block size. Bitcoin can take days for transactions to be confirmed when busy: 5 days in 2018. Plus, since its launch, Bitcoin has only been able to process a maximum of 7 transactions per second.

Although the Lightning Network is designed to speed up transaction processing times, there are still issues with fees as each transaction can be subject to several fees.

 

REGULATION

Gold

For thousands of years, gold has been accepted as both a currency and as store of value, with a long-established position within the financial system. Gold is used as money and stored by central banks. In the UK, Glint is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011, for the issuing of electronic money (FRN 900657). Gold is not regulated by the FCA.

In the US, Glint is a U.S.-based authorized Card Program Manager. Funds are held at Sutton Bank, Member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), in an FDIC-insured account. Glint Pay Inc. employs effective Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), and fraud prevention systems and controls to mitigate and combat risks.

Bitcoin

All cryptocurrencies are likely to face increased regulation. In the US, recently there has been the SEC lawsuit against Ripple and previous comments from Janet Yellen have focused on the need to curtail Bitcoin to stop illicit financing. Globally, Bitcoin is already banned in China, and India has drafted legislation to ban digital currencies once again. The viability of Bitcoin as a currency and store of value could be called into question if more countries follow China.

 

DECENTRALISATION

Decentralisation is freedom from government control and influence. It can refer to the means of exchange as well as the ledger or even ownership.

Gold

Gold is centralised, which means because of its physical nature it cannot be easily stolen if it is stored in a secure and insured vault. Its means of exchange is centralised which has benefits as it means that it cannot be hacked digitally.

Glint’s clients know their gold is secured in a Brinks Vault in Switzerland. Brinks is insured by Lloyds of London and their policy covers the replacement value of Glint client’s Gold as held in their vault.

Gold is not concentrated in one particular country – in terms of both mining and ownership (see above). Gold is mined in many countries – the World Gold Council provides data on gold production for over 40 countries – and although China is the largest producer in the world, it accounts for around 11% of the global total.

 

Bitcoin

The Bitcoin community see the decentralised nature of Bitcoin as one of its main strengths that define its value, however the perceived independence that decentralisation gives is misplaced because:
• Blockchain: The distributed ledger is inherent to Bitcoin’s nature. However, although a distributed ledger has some benefits it is of less use when the nature and value of the currency is centralised.

• Although Blockchain is in place, people increasingly buy Bitcoin through exchanges which use centralised ledgers.

• Bitcoin miners are centralised in physical premises that rely on centralised human /energy resources. This means that there is a risk that they could be shut down by governments easily – for example, around 65% of Bitcoin mining originates from China. Government intervention could cause huge issues on a global scale and lead to price increases in mining costs as well as devaluation of Bitcoin.

 

• There is a risk that governments could severely curtail Bitcoin to the point where it loses its ambitions to become a global alternative currency – currently Bitcoin can remain anonymous, while this is the case, increased regulation and state interference could be more likely.

Bitcoin exchanges which have seen huge thefts via hacking. E.g. clients of Mt.Gox lost over 850,000 Bitcoin in 2014. Last year, a data breach saw the personal details of 270,000 crypto users published online.

 

ENERGY CONSUMPTION

Gold

Many gold mining companies adhere to the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles, which cover ESG criteria for the industry, including environmental topics such as water management and climate change.

Gold is created naturally. Once a unit of gold is mined and extracted, it does not consume further energy and can be transacted or used as a store of value without detriment to the planet.

Bitcoin

Cambridge University have calculated that operating and maintaining the Bitcoin blockchain and its transactions requires extremely large amounts of energy estimated to be the equivalent of that used by a country of over 200m people, around 3 times the UK population.

Bitcoin requires mining and therefore considerable energy consumption for not just creation but all transactions. Currently, 60% of Bitcoin mining originates in China, with a huge carbon footprint – expected to hit 130.50 million metric tons of carbon emission by 2024.

 

ANONYMITY

Gold

Physical gold can be transferred anonymously. Physical gold can be taken across borders, although with be subject to customs checks and restrictions.

However, digital gold through Glint isn’t anonymous. All Glint customers have their identity verified in line with global laws relating to financial crime.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin wallets can remain anonymous if the holder wishes to ensure this. This means that instant payments between accounts remain anonymous and can be untraceable. These payments can also be borderless.

This can be viewed as a threat to government and suggests that increased regulation and state intervention is likely to control or curtail Bitcoin.

 

STOOD THE TEST OF TIME

Gold

Gold has been used as money for at least 3,000 years. It has survived as money and a medium of exchange through the greatest of disruptions including world wars, dramatic leaps in technology, government intervention as well as seismic shifts in social frameworks and politics. Over time, gold has proven to be a reliable hedge against inflation and uncertainty.

The nature of anything defined by human beings is subject to corruption, sometimes with the best intent. Gold is created naturally and is a finite resource – this is part of its intrinsic value.

Bitcoin

As yet, Bitcoin has not had to face any of these challenges and is therefore untested over time.
Whether you’re a goldbug or a Bitcoiner, it’s sure to be a fascinating debate.

 

Register HERE to watch live on the Stansberry Research YouTube channel.

Glint Special Report: Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) could offer tax relief – Guy Kelland reports

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We want you to have as much information as possible when considering investing in Glint, so we asked leading taxation expert Guy Kelland, to share his views on UK investors making an EIS qualifying investment into Glint’s Crowd Funding campaign.

Approaching tax year-end, many people’s thoughts will naturally turn towards tax-efficient investments and ensuring that pension contributions and ISA pots are topped up. But with limits on ISAs and increased restrictions on pensions, once these options are maxed-out the next question should be ‘what’s next?’

The answer could be Enterprise Investment Schemes or EIS’ as they are also known*

EIS’ are a decades-old tax planning tool regularly used by investors for a multitude of purposes. An incentive created and driven by the UK government, this well-established scheme encourages investment in early-stage growth focused companies focused on innovation.

For those who have heard of EIS’, they may know of them as high-risk investments. And it’s true, they are long-term investments in unquoted and illiquid stock. But with high risk can potentially come high reward – provided by both the significant target returns on such schemes and the generous tax incentives offered by the UK government to investors.

The tax reliefs on offer in an EIS can include:

– 30% Income Tax Relief – claimed against either your income tax liability for the current tax year or ‘carried-back’ to the previous tax year. This can be claimed against a maximum of £1M per year per investor (or £2M per year in ‘Knowledge Intensive’ companies that specialise in areas such as life sciences). But take note, you can’t claim back more than you’ve paid!

– Tax-Free Growth – any profits in an EIS are not liable to Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

– Inheritance Tax (IHT) Relief – for those more ‘seasoned’ clients who are starting to look at their IHT liability, if shares in these companies are held for a minimum of 2 years (and on death), the shares could potentially be IHT free.

– Loss Relief – an incredibly useful relief which is only available in an EIS. You would be investing in early stage companies with the ability for some fast growth, however, as they are new companies there is also the possibility that some could tank! With loss relief, if any companies in your investment portfolio do fail, you can potentially claim up to 45% back on this proportion of your investment**

– Unlimited Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Deferral – the payment of tax on a capital gain can be deferred when the gain is invested in an EIS.*** So if, for instance, you’ve sold something valuable such as a property, share portfolio, a wine collection or similar, and realised a gain in the last 3 years, you may be able to claw this CGT payment back and defer this payment for the life of the EIS investment. (Then we have some nifty tricks to chip away at this liability, potentially whittling it down to zero – speak to one of our advisers!)

And what’s in it for the government you may ask? There are some very impressive tax reliefs on offer and some will be suspicious as to why HMRC are being so generous. Investors will rightly feel uncomfortable with the thought of tax ‘evasion’ or tax ‘avoidance’ – this is neither – it is tax incentivised investing fully supported by the government and doing good for the British economy. Britain boasts an incredible variety of entrepreneurs, and EIS investment encourages and supports such innovation.

The EIS scheme was launched in the mid-90s by the government to encourage investment in early-stage companies that help to support the backbone of the UK economy. These fledging start-ups often struggle for investment and funding due to the high-risk nature of investing in a new company. However, that is precisely why the UK government offers generous tax advantages on such investments, as this reduces the financial risk for investors.

Investment in an EIS supports job creation, increases productivity and innovation, and boosts growth. So basically, for the government and HMRC – encouraging EIS investment is good business sense!

We have described the substantial returns and touched on the generous tax reliefs on offer via EIS investments, but there are specific nuances and very stringent rules that must be applied. EIS investing is a complex area and detailed knowledge is required to avoid the potential pitfalls of investing in this space. But there are many benefits, so if you think that this could be a useful tool for your situation and want to learn more, we’d love to talk to you about it!

*There are 2 other useful schemes that can be used for similar purposes – VCTs and SEIS – but in this blog we are focusing on EIS’ due to the varied and generous tax reliefs that are offered.

**relief varies according to tax bracket. 45% applies to additional rate taxpayers.

***and if you have claimed income tax relief also.

Risk warning: Tax relief depends on an individual’s circumstances and may change in the future. In addition, the availability of tax relief depends on the company invested in maintaining its qualifying status. Always seek advice from a qualified financial or tax adviser.

There are a few potential pitfalls, some of which are outlined below.

– Not claiming income tax relief. Unfortunately, not claiming income tax will mean that the gains on the EIS are then subject to CGT.

– Timing of the deployment of capital. Some EIS companies may take a year or more to deploy the capital into EIS qualifying companies, this could be an issue if income tax relief is to be carried back to the previous tax year.

– Investors can only claim back income tax they have paid! It may sound obvious but if you haven’t paid say £10,000 in income tax in the current tax year, you won’t be able to claim back more than £10,000 (but you carry back of course!).

– Exit too soon. If a company say floats on the market within the 3 year the client invested into the company then tax relief will be lost. Not always a bad thing but will depend on how much the investor will make to compensate for any lost tax relief.

– Loss of HMRC EIS approval, the companies must continue to participate in a qualifying trade for the three years following the share issue in order to maintain their EIS status.

Guy Kelland is a Chartered Financial Planner and Managing Director of Kellands Chartered Financial Planners. Guy is responsible for shaping the vision and strategy of Kellands. Previously a trader in The City, Guy founded Kellands Hale over thirty years ago.

Kellands (Hale) is a Chartered Financial Planning Practice, based in Hale, Cheshire. We give quality holistic financial planning and investment advice to both individuals and businesses in Cheshire and across the UK. Our Chartered status demonstrates our professional commitment to raising standards of knowledge, capability and ethical practice. It also helps to distinguish us from our competitors and peers. By offering a whole-of-market choice, we offer our clients the very best unbiased financial advice and ensure correct customer outcomes are achieved. Our aim is to help create, grow and protect our clients’ wealth and to work with them to formulate a financial strategy to meet their key financial goals. We have the resources to provide the research and due diligence required in-house, to deliver the very best whole-of-market investment solutions.

Kellands (Hale) Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The information contained therein should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business and should not be viewed as personal financial advice, but instead, it is intended to provide information only as an overview of possible considerations or options.  Formal financial recommendations will be made in writing to you once the decision has been taken by you to formally appoint Kellands as your advisers and we have gained a clear understanding of your personal circumstances, needs and objectives.
Kellands (Hale) Limited (FCA Firm Reference number: 193498).