One of the safe havens against times of economic uncertainty are precious metals. Historically, this has been gold for the most part. The problem however with owning gold is that it is not a particularly liquid asset. Thus it is more useful as a long term hedge against the economy. However with the invention of cryptocurrency cards, combined with DGX, an ERC20 token which is directly tied to one gram of gold, verified by a third party, stored in a secure vault in Singapore, we now may finally have a "gold card" worth using.
The idea of a gold card is not new, Peter Schiff has long been a proponent of a debit card which is backed by gold rather than fiat. He is in fact the CEO of Euro Pacific Bank which at the time of writing actually offers a card backed by gold. This card is not particularly easy to obtain however and it does come with drawbacks, namely high fees. EuroPac's card charges 4% on gold purchases up to $4,999, 3% on purchases up to $19,999, only decreasing to 1% fee on purchases over $1,000,000. On top of this, you need to pay 0.5% when selling the gold on your account to fund your card. This results in up to paying up to 4.5% to fund your card with gold when using EuroPac's system. The good news is that blockchain developers are now organically coming up with an alternative.
TokenCard held a successful ICO on the 2nd of May in 2017, raising almost $13m worth of cryptocurrency at the time. Since then, they have been working hard to bring us the first cryptocurrency backed Visa branded debit card. They have successfully started rolling out their card to European customers just this month and I just got my hands on one.
As of this moment the only tokens that are available to use on this card are TKN (the official token of TokenCard), ETH and DAI (a USD stablecoin). I have however been in contact with the people over at TokenCard, asking if they have any plans to add support for DGX, effectively making their card a gold card as well as a cryptocurrency card. The good news is that they got back to me and confirmed that the owner of TokenCard is a huge fan of DigixDAO and adding DGX to their card is at the top of their list of tokens to add.
Once DGX has been added as a funding source to TokenCard, we essentially have the ability to own gold which is incredibly liquid, as we can essentially hold and spend it effortlessly through the card. TokenCard also offers low fees, only when topping up do you pay a minor 1% fee when topping up by TKN and 2% fee for all other tokens and the exchange rate of the tokens you are using to top up are using a variety of exchanges to get the best spot price at the time of top up. No crazy spreads or fees, we're talking best market value.
It's worth mentioning that there is a gold card that offers even lower fees, Glint. Glint only charges 0.5% on every transaction made, making it pretty much the cheapest gold backed card on the market. With that said, Glint is just that, a gold backed card and a card that supports many other fiat currencies. Glint does not support cryptocurrencies. With TokenCard, you are storing the cryptocurrencies in your wallet, to which you own the private keys, until you decide to top up your card from your cryptocurrencies. This means that you can trade your cryptocurrencies in and out of the app with other people and you are not tied just to one system. It works just like any cryptocurrency wallet. So Glint may be a superior alternative for those looking exclusively for a gold card without the benefits that a private cryptocurrency wallet card hybrid also comes with, as it has lower fees.
There are a few other cryptocurrency cards which are on the horizon. One of the most promising is Crypto.com, which provides cards that offer perks anywhere from 1-5% cashback in MCO tokens on every purchase that you make with the card. If they add DGX to the platform, getting cashback for spending gold sounds like the dream card to me. Whether or not they deliver on this card and the promises however has been the subject for debate, with no clear timeline for release. It is worth mentioning that the cards have been successfully delivered in Singapore already for quite some time and a USA release is said to be within weeks at time of writing.
For now however, I'm happy with my TokenCard and will be even happier when they add support for DGX and I can hold and spend gold in this time of growing economic uncertainty. We're due a recession and I want to have some money in precious metals to be protected from the coming downturn.