The USA has the world’s largest gold reserves: 8133.5 tonnes. The majority of America’s gold reserves are held at Fort Knox in Kentucky. However, it is alleged that the gold has not been audited since 1953 so no one outside the US Treasury is really sure exactly how much gold is there and of what quality.
Holding so much gold allows a state to back its currency to the value of gold – in essence the dollar can be said to have (at least some of its value) because the US Federal Reserve has a lot of valuable gold. However, in reality no currency has been fully tied to the value of gold since the US came off the gold standard in 1971 – allowing the dollar, and other currencies to ‘float’ and inflate away their value.
Individuals can hold gold to secure their wealth, making sure they have something tangible that will keep its value throughout its lifetime, even as money in the bank suffers inflation.
In 1971 8133 tonnes of gold would have been worth approximately $9 billion.
Today it is worth approximately $312 billion.