Glint Founder & CEO Jason Cozens describes how the advent of cryptocurrency has fuelled the debate on alternatives to which gold is the ultimate answer
When we first launched Glint publicly earlier this year I was often asked ‘is this a cryptocurrency?’ or ‘is it gold on the blockchain?’. The answer is no, Glint is simply the ability to spend gold as money via an app and Mastercard.
However, as an alternative to the money printed by the world’s central banks (paper or ‘fiat’ money), gold, and Glint, have parallels with the sentiment and innovation that created bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Many people often say that the bitcoin ‘hype’ was mainly fuelled by a speculative lust driven by its increasing price. However, the people that I know who invested in bitcoin were in it for the philosophy of an independent and reliable form of money and the increase in its price, relative to national currencies, was a validation of their choice. They saw value in bitcoin’s authenticity compared to paper currencies that can be manipulated and which are subject to inflation. This is one reason some people referred to cryptocurrencies as ‘digital gold’ because, like gold, they could be independent money.
I agree that when bitcoin really did begin to take off around a year ago, many people did ‘jump on the band wagon’ but these were not the majority.
The data gives validity to this view. The price of a bitcoin in USD did not break upwards until April 2017 and yet by then the total number of blockchain wallet users worldwide had already risen to 15 million people, to date the total number of wallets is around 24 million.
This means that people already understood the value that bitcoin offered as an alternative currency – well before they started buying bitcoins simply because they were rocketing in value. They’d invested in the technology of bitcoin wallets and blockchain knowing what this could facilitate.
Glint is similar in that it is independent currency but with two crucial differences:
- Gold is a reliable and proven store of value and not subject to huge bubbles like bitcoin. Its value in paper currency fluctuates as confidence in those currencies goes up and down but over time it is proven to maintain its purchasing power. The UK’s pound and the US dollar have both lost 98% of their value in the last 98 years but gold still buys you what it did 2,000 years ago unlike government issued ‘fiat’ currency.
- Glint gives you full liquidity of your gold; when we say ‘Global Currency’ we really do mean a currency that can be spent anywhere in the world on a Glint Mastercard. By comparison cryptocurrencies are nigh impossible to actually spend – a major reason why they are still seen as speculative investments.
I believe that alternatives are inherently a good thing. Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to providing solutions to state monopolies on money and how we save, send and spend our wealth. Bitcoin and the advent of cryptocurrency have shown how many people share that view. By enabling gold to be the safest money in today’s world of electronic payments and making it possible for everyone to prosper from that, I believe Glint will prove the value of alternatives. However, more and more will see that gold is the ultimate form of money and it is the others that are the pretenders.
Jason Cozens is CEO & Founder of Glint