DigitalTangible has been providing customers with blockchain-recorded metals ownership from its San Francisco location. Today in a welcome move for sound money-lovers across the pond, DigitalTangible has just announced their new partnership with Bitgild (Netherlands) and BitcoinCommodities (Germany) to serve the European market.
It’s not smart property (yet), but ownership of DigitalTangible’s gold and silver is recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain using Counterparty, Colored Coins and Mastercoin. The metals are stored with DigitalTangible’s Swiss vaulting partners, who link the goods to crypto tokens upon purchase, and the stock is viewable by customers at all times.
Metals will be listed in Euros and will be purchasable by check, wire transfer or—of course—Bitcoin. Peer-to-peer sales are also available with no fee taken by DigitalTangible. Once purchased, metal ownership is recorded via Counterparty.
As an example, here’s the ownership record of a 10 ounce gold bar:
Each of DigitalTangible’s assets is tracked by what they call proof-of-custody. This form is used to record which company is responsible for transporting and storing the metal.
And speaking of storage—vault services are totally free this year. Taariq Lewis, founder of the crypto-metals fusion company, says:
“There are no custody fees in 2014 with DigitalTangible. It's possible because our customers trade often between physical assets and Bitcoin. Thus, the fees are very nominal due to velocity of transactions.”
Bitgild founder Jeroen van Zon is a firm believer of Bitcoin and is pleased to expand his company’s reach:
"Looking towards the future, we strongly believe in the power of Bitcoin and the blockchain. It is the only means of payment proven to be 100% reliable in terms of speed, fraud (non-existent so far), and payment costs (near zero).
“Our core business has shifted to towards servicing customers paying with cryptocurrencies. As Europe's largest online precious metals dealer accepting Bitcoin, we look forward to partnering with companies like DigitalTangible who clearly have a long term vision of the industry.”
DigitalTangible’s founder Taariq Lewis doesn’t anticipate that only Europeans will use his company’s European metals storage, either. He intends it for anyone looking to store their wealth elsewhere:
“We are seeing a growing demand come out of US customers seeking new offshore precious metals investing and trading opportunities. European customers want to purchase precious metals in familiar denominations and store them close to home. Teaming up with Bitgild and BitcoinCommodities will increase our marketplace liquidity and expand customer freedom.”
Tokens can, of course, be sold to anyone and called in for physical metals delivery by the current owner. This novel approach to proof of ownership, moving away from mere possession to required knowledge (“Who knows the private key for the gold bar?”), is paving the way for smart property. It’s been said that possession is nine-tenths “of the law,” but in the not too distant future, “possession” may be replaced with “knowledge.”
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