Cryptocurrency backed by gold being developed by Perth Mint to entice investors back to precious metals

Cryptocurrency backed by gold being developed by Perth Mint to entice investors back to precious metals

Australia's biggest gold refiner, the Perth Mint, is developing its own cryptocurrency backed by physical precious metals.

The ambitious plan, which is subject to a confidentiality agreement, will make it easier for consumers to buy gold.

The mint also plans to make use of blockchain technology, first used as the core component of the digital currency Bitcoin, where it works as a public ledger for transactions.

In the 10 years since its inception, blockchain has been used to track transactions in industries from agriculture to land registration and the music recording industry.

For the Perth Mint, the need to bring investors back to precious metals after a boom in alternative investments such as cryptocurrencies posed an opportunity, according to chief executive Richard Hayes.

"I think as the world moves through times of increasing uncertainty, you're seeing people look for alternate offerings," he said.

But Mr. Hayes said the volatility of some of the current cryptocurrencies meant they did not suit all investors.

And that is where a gold-backed offering may fit.

"With a crypto-gold or a crypto-precious metals offering, what you will see is that gold is actually backing it," Mr. Hayes said.

"So it will have all the benefits of something that is on a distributed ledger that settles very, very quickly, that is easy to trade, but is actually backed by precious metals, so there is actually something behind it, something backing it."

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