Glint Promises Global Gold Currency

As gold continued its safe haven climb overnight in response to yet further tension between North Korea and the United States which we discussed yesterday, let’s turn our attention to modern efforts and a recent development in the field of gold as a modern global currency.

Indeed, one of the misinformed arguments against gold relates to it being perceived as an antiquated financial instrument in a modern digital world; yet such an assessment would be unfair. We see ongoing efforts undertaken by influential nation states to facilitate international trade with non-USD settlements including gold and our article on the cooperation between Russia and China three weeks ago speaks to this in more detail.

This is not just a trend among the big players however. As discussed earlier in the week, the transactional convenience of gold for the individual consumer is a field that innovation is targeting and the latest venture comes from a company in London called Glint. 

We’ve written previously about London’s role as a global gold hub and the recent moves to impart transparency upon the gold space there. Now, Glint is claiming to provide “a new global currency, account and app” something that, according to The Coin Telegraph, “hopes to allow consumers to effectively perform point-of-sale transactions in gold”. Far from just a concept, Glint already enjoys financial support from Bray Capital along with numerous individual and institutional investors to the tune of  £3.1 million. Furthermore, Glint has already secured approval from the Financial Services Authority to operate in the UK. 

Glint is scheduled to launch in the last quarter of this year and is currently accepting registrations of interest. TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear explains that “Glint will offer a frictionless way to both store and spend your money in gold, including at the point of sale, just like a regular local currency”.  Although absent of any specifics, Glint’s app reference hints at the use of NFC (near field communication) mobile phone technology already provided by major banks and is visualised with the following image from the company’s website. 

The Glint manifesto explains that “at a time of extraordinary monetary policy and when trust in currencies, banks and existing payment systems has been eroded, Glint helps us move to a more stable global economy”, further promising “money that is reliable and independent and gives you more control in the way you store, spend, exchange and transfer money”. 

As is likely evident from the above declaration, Glint’s founders have significant commercial experience in precious metals. Glint’s CEO, Jason Cozens was one of the founders, a business that facilitates the purchase, sale, delivery and storage of gold. Glint’s COO, Ben Davis is a financial and commodity market veteran of 17 years, was a former trading head at RBS and was involved in the founding of Hinde Capital at the start of the GFC, an investment company with a precious metals emphasis.

In a comment supportive of concepts we’ve already written about, Glint editor, Alex Matchett, said in an interview that he can “see a world where you have digital assets as a New School version of gold which is very credible, robust and secure and you have a Old School version which is actual gold — and what a great trading relationship there will be between the two!”

Furthermore, Alex describes a practical scenario where gold may play part in future point-of-sale transactions. “Say I’ve just looked at the gold price in euros and realised the euro has gone down against the pound by 1% and the gold price is looking perky and I say ‘do you know what, I think today I’ll buy my lunch in gold’. Having these choices as a consumer is quite fun don’t you think?”

Glint enters a market already introduced to similar offerings. The Goldmoney Mastercard for example is an established system that facilitates spending of physical gold holdings in a range of major currencies and it remains to be seen how exactly the Glint system will differ.

Noteworthy here are the parallels with bitcoin which is currently the beneficiary of similar efforts in the field of point-of-sale fluidity from companies such as (the also UK based) WirexApp. These developments speak to those who may hold reservations about gold’s liquidity or its relevance in an increasingly digitally connected world.