Is Bitcoin As Good As Gold?

Gold and Bitcoin have been used synonymously as safe havens and currencies. What is a safe haven? It is a place to park wealth or money when there is a high degree of uncertainty in the environment. It has to be something that everyone can believe in even if the current institutions, governments or players in the business game are not available. The wealth has to be kept safe in times of trouble. What are the risks to someone’s wealth? There is theft by robbery if it is a physical asset. There is damage by fire, flood or other elements. There is the legal issue in not being able to determine if the asset is really yours or not. There is access risk in that you may own the asset but may not be able to get your hands on it. You may own the asset but may not be able to use it due to some restriction. Who else do you have to rely on to be able to use your wealth – spending it, investing it or converting it into different units of measure (currencies)?

In cases like cash or currencies, you may have the asset and can freely use it, but it does not have value due to a systemic issue. There may be too many units of the currency such that using them would not purchase very much (hyperinflation). There is also devaluation – where a currency is arbitrarily devalued due to some economic or institution issue. Most of these issues come from too much debt and not enough assets to pay for them. A currency devaluation is like a partial or slow motion bankruptcy for a government or issuer. In a foreclosure scenario, the creditors (or users of the currency) would be getting a fraction of what the asset (or currency) was originally worth.

No Liability

One key aspect for both bitcoin and gold is that in creating either of them, there is no liability involved. National currencies are issued with interest attached, which means there is a liability to the issuer of the currency. The currencies due to being centralized can also be “delisted” or have their value altered, devalued or swapped for other currencies. With Bitcoin, there would have to be consensus among the players for this to happen. Gold is nature’s money, and since it was found, there is no one really in charge of how it works. Gold also has the history of being used as money for thousands of years in virtually every culture and society. Bitcoin does not have this reputation. The internet, technology and power grid are needed for Bitcoin to function, whereas gold just is. The value of gold is based on what it is being exchanged for. The value of Bitcoin is similar to buying a stock or a good: It is determined by what the buyer and seller agree it is worth.

Bitcoin Issues

Are there regulatory, institutional or systemic risks with Bitcoin? The answer is yes. What if a bunch of central banks or governments took over the Bitcoin issuance? Would this not lead to control issues that could either stop the Bitcoin transactions or impair them? What if the justification was to stop terrorism or illegal activities? There are also technology issues like who controls the internet, the electrical energy involved in mining Bitcoins, or other issues in infrastructure (the electrical grid, the nuclear grid, the internet servers, the telecom companies etc.) Regulatory risks can also run the gamut from restricting who buys Bitcoins, how many can trade each day or perhaps issuing trillions of units of fiat currency and buying and selling Bitcoins with them which would cause convulsions in the prices of the unit, leading to mistrust and lack of use? Gold does not have these shortcomings. Once it is mined, it cannot get destroyed. It is not reliant on technology, infrastructure or any institution to make it valid. Since it is small and portable, it can be taken anywhere and still be useful without any other mechanism needed. The prevailing institutions can be changed many times and gold will still be valuable.

Gold is a classic safe haven because it does not need institutions to exist, is very hard to forge, cannot be destroyed by the elements and does not have issues of access or restrictions. Physical theft and restriction may be factors, but gold fares better than currencies or digital currencies at this point in time.

Do you want to:
Learn how the world of money really works without the need of a time consuming or expensive course of study?
Discuss what you want to achieve according to your horizon?
Restructure your finances to achieve your goals?
Advice that is not affiliated with any institution or any product – an independent opinion?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, contact me at: Contact me, Joe Barbieri by email at joetheinvestor.today@gmail.com, my web site at http://www.joetheinvestor.ca or by telephone at 647-286-8020 for an independent consultation on what your options are. Note: This article is intended for people who want to learn about the world of finance and how to research for themselves. If you would like to buy or sell investment products, or specific advice on investment products, tax or legal issues, please consult your investment advisor, accountant or legal counsel

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Fake Gold Coins

If you’re collecting gold coins or investing in them, there is a good chance that sooner or later you will be introduced to a dubious specimen that you would wonder about whether it’s a real thing or a counterfeit. It’s not easy at all to recognize fake gold coins and you may not spot them at first (and probably even at last either), but you should know at least a few things that may help you not to fall into a trap.

The oldest way to check if the coin is real was simply biting it – please note, I don’t recommend doing it, but rather just mention it. You must have seen it in movies about old times, treasure hunters, and pirates. It may seem odd but in fact, there is a very rational explanation for it. Gold is very soft metal, comparing to some base metals, such as copper or bronze for example, and biting a real gold coin would leave some teeth marks or at least leave a feeling that it’s biteable. Again, I would not advise testing fake gold coins this way for two reasons: if it’s a fake, you may break your teeth, and if it’s a real thing, you may ruin it by biting (and possibly break your teeth anyway).

Another way to check if the coin is a fake is to listen how it jangles. Fake gold coins sound dull and boring according to people who have very good ears. Again, this test may rather be not always reliable and you would have to spend years listening to real and fake gold coins to learn how to tell them apart.

Nevertheless, jokes aside, the most reliable way to check if your coin is real, is to ask a professional. Get you coin to your local coin dealer and most likely he or she will have enough experience and appropriate equipment to check if your treasure is genuine. There’re several devices developed for this purposes, but they may be quite expensive, hence not always accessible or affordable for general public fiddling with gold coins.

There’re a few things again that you can try even if you have no access to or desire to communicate with your local coin dealer:

Check for the coin details. If you don’t have a real coin to compare with, find a photo online and compare very little detail of the original with the one you’re checking. Look at the space between letters, look at the size and number of elements – it may sound stupid, but counterfeiters do miss such simple things for some reason and they even do grammar mistake, especially when then do it in foreign languages, so check spelling as well.

Find a coin forum (CoinForum for example), become a member, and ask there – there’re plenty of real experts and they will help you or at least will give you some pointers. You can usually attach a link to a web page or put a photo of the coin in question.

Check the coin weight and size. If you don’t have a coin catalogue, you can almost always find these details online. Fake gold coins are usually lighter and sometimes even smaller in diameter.

Check the coin rim (edge). Fake gold coins sometimes are made in halves and then soldered or glued together and sometimes you can see a very thin (or not very thin) seam on the rim of a fake coin.

Dare your seller to make an “acid test” – gold is a noble metal so it will not react or dissolve in nitric or sulphur acid. Hmm, this one is a bit too extreme as if your coin is not 99.9% fine gold, which is quite common for real gold coins, the test will still damage the coin, so this one is for your information only.

Be very careful whom you’re buying from. Buying online is fine, but see where your seller is, check his or her feedback, and check that this feedback is for selling gold coins, not for buying 5c post cards.

Another way to avoid dealing with fake gold coins is to buy only professionally graded or “slabbed” coins. Those are coins in plastic capsules (slabs) that have been graded and authenticated by such services as PCGS or NGC or some others. They usually cost a bit more than not slabbed ones, but they guarantee authentication and that’s worth it. Click here to see some of the slabbed gold coins, which are selling now.

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Gold History – Relationship Between Gold and Money

Up until the last century, coins were worth something in their own right thanks to their precious metal content whereas today they simply have a token value. While the use of precious metals in backing western currencies has long-since ceased, the qualities that made it so functional are still deeply ingrained in the human psyche. Despised for two decades by many in the investment community, gold is making a serious come back.

It is no coincidence that it has been a symbol of wealth for thousands of years and not just as a decorative item. The combination of durability, purity and portability has been an overriding factor for its monetary use, as has its physical qualities of malleability and ductility that allow for easy division. Its relevance in the modern financial world is more significant than ever, given its resistance to mass production. Unlike other commodities, it is not subject to the substitution effect when prices get too high.

There are many useful lessons from the history of the Roman Empire which used gold and silver coins as part of their currency. Following a build up of deficits by a series of lavish emperors, Nero used the excuse of the Great Fire of Rome to reduce the gold and silver content of coins, thereby creating a greater number of them, starting with the same amount of precious metal. By the time the empire folded, its percentage inclusion was close to nought. While it took the Romans several centuries to achieve the dubious honour of total devaluation, the fast-moving Americans are doing their best to beat them.

After Rome’s decline and departure from Britain, the country survived a prolonged period without an organised national currency although foreign coins were widely used. This was partly a reflection of the decentralised culture of the Saxon invaders which depended more on local trade and coinage rather than national. As England emerged from the Dark Ages she attracted the unwanted attention of marauding Vikings including one of their later descendants, William the Conqueror. Their imposing castles and cathedrals were soon thereafter to be found throughout England after the invasion of 1066. Just as unflinching Roman roads scarred their trail over the Celtic land and culture, so the Normans stamped their authority on the defeated Saxon foe with their constructions. One of the earliest examples is the Tower of London which is of course still standing today.

Next in the series Gold History coming soon.

Toby Birch at http://www.guernsey-gold.com brings impressive credentials to the Gold Industry. He is neither jeweller nor e-commerce guru jumping on the gold bandwagon; rather, Toby has 20 years experience as an international fund manager dealing successfully in precious metals, mining stocks and natural resources. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and is police cleared to sell gold. Learn why gold must be an essential part of your investment portfolio visit: http://tinyurl.com/ycbtav7

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