An electronic payment app that allows people to pay for goods and services in gold has been launched by fintech firm Glint.
Partnered with MasterCard and Lloyds Bank, London-based startup Glint launched on Monday its multi-currency account, app and card that let users store their money in gold and convert it back to fiat currency at the point of payment.
Jason Cozens, the company’s chief executive and co-founder, said that quantitative easing and the collapse of some banks have made many realize that traditional accounts are not a risk-free option.
“Since the financial crisis, people are starting to understand that the purchasing power of their money isn’t safe,” he said.
On its website, Glint says that once users have successfully signed up and topped up the account, users can then choose to either leave the money in fiat currencies or convert it into gold, and in future any of the other supported currencies.
According to the company, the physical gold holdings are legally allocated to each individual user and held in a London Bullion Market Association Accredited Brink’s bank vault in Switzerland.
When users make purchases with the Glint debit card, users can choose which “wallet” (a particular fiat currency or gold) to spend from, and Glint does the conversion on the fly, including effectively selling the required gold to cover the cost of the purchase.
Users can check exchange rates on their phone before selecting which currency or what amount of gold they will use to make a purchase.
The company adds that users can also select the precious metal to make peer-to-peer payments.
Cozens said the app was originally aimed at wealthy people looking to store their wealth outside of the banking system, but research showed that there was interest across the financial spectrum.
“Look at a student who grew up during the financial crisis. They have a mindset that says they believe in independence about savings,” he said.
Glint, which is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, was launched in Europe on Monday and will be rolled out in Asia and the US next year. Cozens added that he expected the app to prove particularly popular in India and Germany, according to CNBC.
TechCrunch noted that so far, Glint has raised £6.1 million. Backers include most recently NEC Capital Solutions and the Tokyo Commodity Exchange.
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