This New Gold Asset is a New Cryptocurrency

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted May 9, 2024

Dear Reader,

For several months, Jason Williams and I have been in discussions with several financial experts in the mining and cryptocurrency industries, and former government officials and blockchain nerds.

The idea they came to us with was the creation of a new token that’s backed by gold. Now, we know that there are tokens out there that are backed by physical bullion. 

Hong Kong-based HSBC just recently released their own gold-backed token.

But this idea is different, very different. Whereas HSBC’s gold token is based on gold reserves above the ground, this is based on proven gold resource yet to be mined.

This is a game-changer.

You see, ever since I started in the investment industry back in 1994, I had an eye for future innovations, trends and patterns. One of the first books I read early on in my career was Adrian Berry’s “The Next 500 Years.” I’ve read it cover to cover several times. I still go to it as a resource.

But it wasn’t just the future I was interested in; Adrian Berry predicts the future based on human nature from antiquity. So I’m also addicted to knowing history. Everything came from somewhere in the past. Even you and me. Knowing the historical timeline of everything helps me understand the future of it.

Even Bitcoin.

So let me give you a little bit of a history course on the virtual currency.

My tiny, unconventional investment firm was talking about this crazy idea of a digital currency beginning in 2010 and 2011. Bitcoin (BTC) is a cryptocurrency (a virtual currency) designed to act as money and a form of payment outside the control of any one person, group, or entity.

This removes the need for trusted third-party involvement (e.g., a mint or bank) in financial transactions. For skeptics about the intentions of governments and central banks, a virtual currency like Bitcoin was the holy grail.

But would you believe that I was talking about a “cryptocurrency” as far back as 1997? In that year, I was an up-and-coming editor and market analyst for a newsletter called Taipan. Taipan doesn’t exist anymore. But its issues are archived.

Here’s an image of Taipan, September 1997 issue: WD gauntlet taipan

Cyber-money, Ecash or cryptocurrency… whatever you want to call it, the idea of a tradable and usable currency outside the prying eyes of the government isn’t new.

But the concept — of cryptocurrencies in theory and practice — is even older than you think.

Believe it or not, the roots of Bitcoin and blockchain technology stretch back much further. And when you look back at the evidence, It’s like uncovering a hidden connection between the cutting-edge and the ancient.

Picture this: hundreds of years ago, on the Micronesian island of Yap, they had a currency system involving massive stone disks known as rai. And when I say massive, I mean bigger than a human.

brian gold

These disks weren’t your everyday coins; they were more like symbolic representations of wealth and value.

Now, here’s where it gets really interesting. These rai stones were no ordinary rocks — they were carved from limestone quarries on the Palau islands, a whopping 250 miles away from Yap. And get this, they were transported across the open Pacific Ocean without the fancy technology we have today. 

Talk about a feat of human ingenuity!

Archaeologist Scott Fitzpatrick from the University of Oregon puts it best: “They are one of the world’s most intriguing coins.” And he’s not wrong. These stone disks hold a unique place in history, representing not just a form of currency but a testament to the human capacity for innovation and creativity, even in ancient times.

At first glance, it might seem like comparing apples to oranges — huge stone disks on one hand and a complex digital currency system on the other. But beneath the surface, there’s a striking similarity between bitcoin and rai: they both rely on a communal ledger system for transparency and security.

Rai coins are large discs with a hole in the center, weighing up to 5 tons and 4 meters in diameter.

Brian's Gold Image 2

Obviously, you can’t carry this money around in your wallet or keep it in a safe at home. Because of that, Rai coins just lay around in the streets of the island without any danger of being stolen. They have been the island’s currency for 80 years. During this time, no new coins have been manufactured or taken out of the circulation.

So let’s break it down. In the world of bitcoin, this communal ledger is called the blockchain. It’s like a public record of every bitcoin transaction, stored across multiple computers on the internet.

This blockchain ensures that everyone can see who owns what bitcoins and where they’re being spent, all without the need for a central authority like a bank. Now, flip the coin to ancient Yap, and you’ll find a similar concept at play.

While they didn’t have computers or the internet, the Yapese islanders had a communal ledger of their own. It was a system based on trust and community consensus, where everyone knew who owned which rai stone through oral tradition and social agreement.

So, whether you’re talking about bitcoin or rai, the underlying principle remains the same: a decentralized ledger system that provides transparency and security without the need for a central authority. It’s a testament to the timeless ingenuity of human beings, finding innovative ways to manage and exchange value across the ages.

Fitzpatrick and his colleague Stephen McKeon recently delved into this fascinating comparison, shedding light on the shared traits between rai and bitcoin in a fresh study.

“Rai were like prized possessions, valued by the Yapese people, yet they were too hefty and fragile to be carted around casually,” they explain. So, once a rai found its spot, it tended to stay put. But here’s the kicker: when ownership changed hands through gifts or exchanges, the new owners might not live nearby. 

To keep things crystal clear, the Yapese relied on an oral ledger — a sort of storytelling tradition passed down through the community.

Imagine this: tales whispered through generations, detailing who owned which rai and how they changed hands. It wasn’t just about wealth; these stories documented everything from wedding presents to political deals to, yes, even ransom payments.

Now, shift gears to the digital realm, and you’ll find a similar vibe with bitcoin. Sure, the ways we use it today are worlds apart from ancient stone currency, but at their core, they share a key feature: the ledger system.

“As with the rai stones, information about bitcoins’ value and ownership is managed collectively,” notes McKeon. “It’s a distributed financial system, different from the centralized setups we’re used to with traditional banks.”

So, whether it’s tales whispered under Yapese moonlight or lines of code zipping through the internet, the essence remains: a communal ledger system ensuring transparency and security, uniting past and present in a curious dance of currency and culture.

But today, something really special is happening in the cryptocurrency market. I see it as the ultimate fulfillment of a true currency’s role in the modern economy – the merging of the old with the new.

I’ll explain it in Part 2 of this series of the new gold currency. 

Or you can find out more here now.  

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Brian Hicks

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Brian is a founding member and President of Angel Publishing. He writes about general investment strategies for Wealth Daily and Energy and Capital. For more on Brian, take a look at his editor’s page.

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