$100 Ben, You Did It Again!

Chris Principe – March 2019

One of my favorite American historical personalities is Ben Franklin, born 1706 and died 1790.

Yes, Ben is known as a leader for liberty, a politician, an inventor, scientist, businessman, philanthropist and, generally, a genius in his day. He is also the only American founding father to sign all three documents related to the freeing of America from England. He was involved with the signing and drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He also negotiated the Treaty of Paris that officially ended the War of Independence. These documents brought the United States of America into being. Additionally, Ben was the publisher of the Poor Richard’s Almanac and as, a fellow publisher, I am in awe of the breath of his contributions.

Ben Franklin helped build the University of Pennsylvania, raised funds to build the nation’s first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, created the first lending library and fire company long before any government provided this for its citizens. He was the First Postmaster-General and the first Minister to France; he was against slavery as an institution and, as a scientist, proved at night with a kite and a key that lighting was electricity. After proving this, he invented the lightening rod to protect buildings as well as bifocal glasses and the Franklin Stove. His genius was centered on leveraging his contacts and connections in the areas of business, social, political, scientific and journalism into a huge network that paid him back tenfold. There are many lessons to learn from studying this man’s networking abilities.

Unfortunately, for Ben, the generations today do not know him based on his amazing life. If you ask anyone off the street today, they will know him immediately as the guy pictured on the U.S. One-Hundred-Dollar bill. Those people will not be able to tell you much else about Mr. Ben Franklin. They will easily recognize him as a “Benji” or a “Benjamin” slang terms used for the $100 bill that he is pictured on. The slang was made famous by the 1997 song by Shawn Combs (Puff Daddy) “It’s all about the Benjamins” and the 2002 movie “All about the Benjamins”. This is where the trouble starts.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank released an interesting fact. At the end of 2017 the $100 bill has surpassed the $1 bill in terms of number of bills in circulation. There are over 12.5 billion $100 bills in the world. Since 2016 over 70% of those $100 bills have been located outside the shores of the United States and are desired by every other country.

 

Just for fun let me give you a few $100 bill facts:

 

 – The lifespan of a $100 is about 15 years, the longest of any American banknote

 – It costs the Federal Reserve Bank printing presses about fifteen cents to produce

 – The U.S. $100 is the most counterfeited bank bill in the world

 – 1 Million dollars in $100 notes weighs 10 kilos (22 pounds) and fits in a shopping bag. You could walk around the mall with this all day and no one would know!

While these facts are interesting, they bear out a disturbing trend. The $100 bill serves as the de facto currency of all black-market transactions globally. That means that people involved with money laundering, terrorist financing, arms dealing, kidnapping, bribery, mercenaries, contract murders, gambling, drug money, sex slavery and many other illegal transactions choose the $100. The news isn’t all bad for the $100, according to CBS News: the $100 tested relatively cocaine free when compared to the smaller valued bills in circulation.

 

War Against Ben

The issue for law enforcement, which becomes the issue for banks, is the constant adding of regulation and requirements for compliance checking. This is needed to prevent the almost inevitable use of the $100 for illegal gains. Counterfeiting has kept pace to the point where even the banks cannot identify a fake note: not even the so-called Super Note is safe from forgery. This is like an arms race with each side matching its advances and changes to the printed banknote. There are now calls in political circles, and not just in the U.S., to eliminate the $100. The idea is that this will make it harder to move the amount of cash that illegal operations generate. This should be a real concern for many people. It is a way for the government to force people to turn in their saved cash for new bills. This is also presenting the U.S. government with a tax revenue opportunity. People who are using the $100 banknote to avoid paying tax will see no sense in hiding that which no longer has value.

Cash, Criminals Best Friend

The compliance issue for the banks is huge and is a function that – for them – provides no revenue only expense. We have seen the banks become greedy for fee revenue. Fees are earned without using the bank’s capital. This indirect income can be used to offset the cost of compliance. RegTech and compliance checking companies have boomed based on this constant flow of regulations that the banks must adhere to. KYC and KYCC are the acronyms that run the banks now in a vain attempt to reduce the criminal use of money. In years past people would brag that “Cash is King”. Try taking a large amount of cash into the bank today. You will be lucky not to end up in jail or, at least, wasting a massive amount of time answering very intrusive questions.

Bank tellers are now trained on profiling people that bring cash in. I was at a bank training session a few years ago and the trainer brought in a bag of money that was scented like marijuana so that the bank employees could identify a potential drug dealer or smuggler. Even if they do not say anything to you, the bank can fill out a SAR (suspicious activity report) on you and even put a block on any accounts with your name, be it business, personal, or retirement-related.

 

Benji’s, Or Gold
Over the course of human history, there have been relatively few stores of value as stable as the U.S. dollar has been over the past 100 years. The currency is backed by the U.S. Federal Reserve with the $19 trillion economy it represents, and with over $5 trillion held as reserve assets by foreign central banks. This relative strength means that when you have a dollar in your pocket, you can be confident in its value. Except, that is, when the bill you have isn’t actually a dollar, but counterfeit – or maybe in future eliminated from use – like the $100 – may be.
In other words, the haven of dollars is not so safe. If we look closely through history the most secure store of value has always been Gold.

GOLD is GOOD
Interestingly, during 2018, central banks bought more gold, a record amount, than any year before. This reversed a trend of central banks buying less gold each year for the last decade. Together with this there has been less gold mined each year since 2013. There has not been a new goldfield with over 5-million-ounces found since 2014. Each year before 2014 there have been several finds in the 10-million to 50-million-ounce range – but not in the last five years. The price of a kilo of gold has increased since last year from $39,000 to $42,000.
In short, the gold demand is up, and the supply is shrinking – which, according to the rules of supply and demand, means increasing value. All of this tells me that now is the time to consider an investment in gold.

 

The times are changing and many of the new trends are represented by Benjamin Franklin, the $100 man.

I have added here some of my favorite famous sayings from Ben:

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

“Halfwits talk much but say little.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“One today is worth two tomorrows.”

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”

“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

The Move Towards Instant Gratification

Chau Nguyen

Why consumers will be able to pay anyone they want, immediately and in any currency.

The biggest single trend in the world of payments today is the empowerment of consumers. The impact of the well-known M-Pesa money transfer service that is offered by mobile phone companies to their customers in East Africa is an extraordinary example. It is also a key concept underpinning the European Union’s revised Payments Services Directive (PSD2), which seeks to promote competition and innovation in the payments industry.

Consumers are not the only winners…

However, the latest generation of payments platforms and solutions do not just thrive because they deliver convenience and value to consumers; they also provide significant benefits to merchants – and, in the B2B world, to corporate treasurers as well. In essence, lower costs, faster payments and receipts, and greater information in real time about cash positions have a positive impact on the bottom line. Large and small businesses integrating their external payments platform with their global supply chain should be able to reduce the cost of generating working capital and minimize financial risk.

Today, merchants or any business working with an external payment processing platform have several options in relation to the financial benefits that are generated. The benefits can be retained, with the result that operating profit is higher than it would otherwise have been. The benefits can be passed-on to consumers in the form of lower fees for payments that are made through the platform. Or, the benefits may be given to consumers in the form of valuable “reward loyalty points”.

Loyalty points by definition benefit the consumer. However, they can also be used by the merchant offering them to build brand awareness or to gain competitive market share. In essence, the loyalty points are a mechanism whereby reduced payments costs can easily be used to fund business development. The benefits of loyalty points can be deployed and transferred across a network of participating merchants – which increases the value of the loyalty points and increases the probability that the consumer will actually use those points.

and banks are not necessarily losers

Providers of payments platforms are often seen as being FinTech disruptors. This is because they are not banks, yet are dedicated to activities that are generally and traditionally undertaken by banks. The implication is that the payments platforms are in competition with the banks and are encroaching in their business. This is partially true.

Payments platforms are better thought of as counterparties to banks rather than commercial rivals. Suppose a payments platform operator transfers money in one currency from a party in country A to a party in country B. The payments platform operator will need to have established correspondent banking relationships in both countries, A and B. In other words, the correspondent banks will receive fees as a result of the transaction. In the event that the currency in country A is different to the currency in country B, the banks should also receive fees for managing the FOREX exchange process involved.

And if the payments platform operator is clearly and effectively handling all the Know Your Client (KYC) requirements, any bank can transact with that operator with the security that all parties to a transaction have been properly identified. Over time, it is becoming easier for payments platform operators to deal with KYC issues because of continual technical advancements and improvements such in facial recognition, and other biometric technologies. From the point of view of regulators and law enforcement agencies, the rise of the payments platforms makes it easier, not harder, to keep track of money that is moving through the financial system – and, not least, because of the reduced usage of physical notes and coin.

More “wearables” means easier (and more frequent) payments

Biometrics is not the only area where technology and innovation is having an added impact on payments. For years there has been a general tendency for payments to be possible through computers that are smaller and more portable than previous generations. Transactions involving cash withdrawn from an ATM gave way to internet banking via desktop computers. Desktop computers yielded to laptops, which were followed by tablets and smart phones. Payments platforms have long been agnostic in relation to the hardware through which they are accessed.

And they will need to remain so. The rise of wearable technology means that consumers are able – and expect to be able – to conduct transactions through smart watches, bracelets, necklaces and other devices that they keep with them at all times and all places. Biometric temporary tattoos appear to be the ‘next thing’ in wearable technology.

In short, several forces are moving the world of payments towards a point where all consumers will be able to achieve instant payment execution and therefore, instant gratification. That is the point in which a consumer can, instantaneously, make a payment in any currency to any person or business, no matter where they might be in the world. Meanwhile, he/she will come to expect that the payment (or, indeed the receipt) will be handled through whichever device he/she prefers.

OlePay is a Global Payment Pooling Platform which offers merchants in 281 countries the privacy and security of a closed network. Merchants benefit from instant receipt of payments from clients/buyers around the world; instant currency exchange, and lower processing costs. Consumers also benefit from security, privacy and payment device flexibility. They may make payments from their computer, tablet, smart phone, classic (vintage) phone, or even wrist band or necklace. They earn loyalty and reward points from individual merchants that can be used to purchase merchandise or redeemed for respective currency; System Points.

In short, OlePay combines a stored payment value account which includes all the payment processing features for both global and local merchants in tandem with meaningful marketing and branding value. OlePay is a part of the WorldPayU network and supports many different payment, gift and loyalty systems.

Bio:

Chau Nguyen has been Managing Director of OlePay and OleGroup since early 2007. For 16 years previously, he was President of Great Western Group.

MAKING KYC/AML AFFORDABLE

Compliance with ever changing regulations is tedious and expensive. What is the solution?

By Dager Contreras

Skyrocketing identify fraud has heightened demand for ever-more robust KYC / AML (Know Your Customer / Anti-Money Laundering) diligence in the global battle against consumer fraud, money laundering and other criminal activities.

This activity is propelling banks, financial services, and every day businesses to seek full-service KYC / AML compliant on-boarding frameworks. However, establishing KYC / AML compliant practices is too expensive for 98% of businesses due to high costs in trained personnel, cutting-edge technology, and time-consuming maintenance.

Businesses worldwide have been outsourcing these expensive efforts to a handful of firms that have focused on large enterprises that can afford fees that the exploding small and medium sized businesses simply cannot afford. Ocular Tech was set up fill the gap and create an affordable yet far more advanced solution, Ocular Tech was established.

Ocular Tech was launched in October 2017 as a KYC / AML compliance platform with the goal of using blockchain technology to create a global identification repository system. Ocular, along with the Ocular token (OCULR), is positioned well ahead of its competition.

The future of Ocular and the Ocular Token:

Ocular is preparing to expand its ecosystem beyond KYC / AML to include other services such as banking, prepaid credit/debit card issuance, and payment processing. The next phase includes the full use of the Ocular Token (OCULR) as a Discount Token for the various services it offers and potentially expanding to other services outside of Ocular.

The Discount Token model has already been proven effective by various other projects, with the most well-known being Binance (a decentralized crypto exchange). Using this method also reduces speculative purchases of the token and focuses solely on the utility of the token. As the user base expands, the demand for the token increases.

With the developers of Bank-ID, Norway’s national identification system, Ocular will begin the expansion of that platform to create a global identification platform. This platform will allow any participant to have full control of their identity and only share such information deemed necessary for a particular transaction – be it opening a bank account, applying for employment, renting space, or applying for insurance. All participant information will always be up-to-date and verified on a continuous basis so corporate or governmental clients can be assured to have the most accurate information about their customer / applicant. By simply providing such entity with the customer’s Global ID Certificate, all pertinent information will be at their fingertips expediting what normally takes days and sometimes weeks to a process that will only take minutes to underwrite.

With already developed technology and future planned developments, there is little doubt that Ocular Tech has positioned itself prominently in the KYC / AML compliance industry by offering affordable and efficient solutions.

Ocular is the first and only full service “Regulatory-Technology (Reg-Tech)” platform with:

Unprecedented KYC personalization. It offers:

  • 100% real-time customizable on-boarding forms

  • 100% branded interface

  • Managed web and mobile on-boarding channels via –

    • Amazon App

    • Apple iTunes App

    • Google Play App

  • Exhaustive list of AML databases searched

  • Inteli-SPIDER for remote targeting and persistent daily monitoring

Ocular offers six essential services:

  • Omni-Channel Document Collection (Private and White Label)

  • Global KYC / AML with a built in Biometric AML database, including FBI, Interpol and more

  • OCU-SPIDER – The Inteli-SPIDER will report back changes to a target’s profile such as; when your employee has been arrested, when your customer Tweets about your product, when your competitor has updated pricing

  • OCU-NEWS using Negative-NEWS which monitors over 300,000 new English-language articles per day and reports information such as; when an employee has been interviewed, negative or positive news about a customer, when a competitor receives publicity

  • PCI/DSS compliant profile storage and management

Dager Contreras is a Co-Founder of Ocular Compliance Technologies Pte. Limited.

WTF – World’s Their Future

Our World needs us to work for a better tomorrow

Chris Principe – February 2019

Yes, I know, I usually write about technology and this title does not reflect that topic.

But technology it is! Over the past months, I have been struck by some interesting data that I’d like to share with you. While I am not a GREEN fanatic, I was impressed by several statistics that gave me grave concern for our world. Our planet may well be in worse condition for the next generations to come. I will tell you about a man, a great man, with a story of amazing hope and possibilities.

Technology must provide a solution for a better tomorrow. We know that there are seven types of pollution: water, air, land, thermal, noise, light and radioactivity. Our failure to contain these forms of pollution will allow them to expand and harm our future. The most serious of these environmental issues are water, air and land. As a people, we have left our earth no better than when we received it. My generation, the Baby Boomers, recognized the damage but have made it many times worse. Subsequent generations have identified the problems and have taken steps to correct it, but they are too little, too late. An increasingly larger price will be paid in the future.

The damage we have done and continue to do to our world is eye-opening. In our oceans there is an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic and 715 tons of fishing nets. Air pollution admissions into our atmosphere are estimated at 101 million tons per year. On land, approximately 72 percent of all plastic is never recovered.

Environmental concerns have brought clean energy systems to center stage. We are looking for ways to reduce our dependence on greenhouse gasses to preserve our planet for future generations. The push to eliminate fuel and gas emissions have given us different ways to provide power with renewable energy. Capacity has doubled in the last ten years – 65 out of 195 countries uses this source for 30 percent of their electricity. As new technologies emerge, they provide us with revolutionary ways to approach energy efficiency.

MEET JOHN SEARL

Professor John Roy Robert Searl is a visionary inventor of an energy solution that has earned him the name “Father of Free Energy”. John Searl passed away at age 86 in December 2018, but his desire to see his technology fully implemented for people and the environment continues at SEG Magnetic, Inc. I did not personally meet Professor Searl but spent informative time with Fernando D. Morris the CEO of SEGM. He has worked side by side with Prof. Searl for the past two decades, proving Searls’ invention is an energy generator for the masses.

Professor Searl’s story is typical of those that create a generational invention. He faced constant obstacles – from government officials equipped with misleading information to big business feeling threatened by his technology. The skeptics were always at his heels with successful efforts to prevent the world from realizing the revolutionary machine for energy creation. They succeeded in persecuting him and having his prototypes and working models confiscated. The idea of disruptive devices that could replace power plants put fear into the establishment. Through it all Professor Searl stayed true to his final mission of giving the world free energy without any of the negative side effects of current power generation methods.

The Searl Effect Generator (SEG) generates electrical power by converting natural energy based on magnetic waveforms. Free flowing electrons from the air are converted into usable electricity without any fuel. It is 100% clean energy! This electrical energy is created by using electrons to harness kinetic energy from the ambient environment surrounding the SEG as an open system of energy conversion. In this way, nothing is created or destroyed in completing the circuit. Since none of the moving parts are in contact with each other, there is no wear is produced. This gives the SEG a long and maintenance free life. The SEG can be the size of one-meter in diameter of 15kw capable of powering a home. It can also be several megawatts for powering of city electrical grids. The approach of SEGM is to build grid size generators and provide power that is pollution free. This will result in longevity and reduced cost to the consumers. In this way, Professor Searl’s hope and vision to benefit mankind will be a reality.

Fernando Morris

With the passing of Professor Searl, it leaves Mr. Fernando D. Morris as the one man with the knowledge, practical experience and ability to lead the world into a recognizing and utilizing this powerful clean energy device. Without Mr. Morris, this technology could have stayed buried as it has been for more than 50 years already. Mr. Morris has personally investigated the SEG concept and has isolated the operational functions of the technology. He has built proof of concept demonstration units at the SEGM facilities in San Diego. The SEGM company is manufacturing units which can and will provide power to homes and businesses on a large scale.

Consumers are no longer mere users of electricity. They are informed participants in the production of their power and are concerned over cost and environmental impact. Energy grids have become less centralized over time, as grids move away from power plants in favor of distributed energy sources. Groupings of smaller energy sources are less vulnerable to failure, and provide reliable, cost effective energy options which is the approach of SEGM. Planning for the energy needs of the future is no easy task. It’s a challenge to ensure reliable energy provision for consumers that drives Mr. Morris and SEGM and the SEG energy infrastructure. www.segmagnetics.com

There is a race for clean energy.

The Earth will survive, but the Human Race may not…

The Spatial Effect Generator

A new and clean solution for the world’s energy problems…

Fernando D. Morris

Oil has been a primary source of energy for the world for over 100 years now. The discovery of large-scale reserves coincided with the development of technology for extraction and massive growth in demand thanks to industrial development in the United States and Europe.

In the second decade of the 21st Century, there is a general consensus that the world’s energy needs can no longer be sustained by the decreasing oil reserves. There is widespread concern about resource depletion and environmental degradation that are common to other means of generating electrical power. In the meantime, growing industrial development in China and other parts of Asia are contributing to a rise in demand.

To date, clean/alternative energy sources such as wind power and solar power have been widely accepted. However, in terms of cost and 24/7 reliability, they have yet to reach a point where they are truly competitive with coal or oil.

Enter the Spatial Effect Generator…

Meanwhile, there is growing awareness of the potential of the Searl or Spatial Effect Generator (SEG). This appears to be a world class solution to the world’s energy problems. It can deliver what is needed without compromising the environment and without the cost of fossil fuel. It can do so more economically than a conventional generator of the same power rating.

The SEG is a revolutionary open energy system. It is designed to work in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics by a process of energy conversion at the quantum level.

The inventor of the SEG system, the late Professor John R.R. Searl, and Fernando D. Morris have actively worked together the last decade at SEG Magnetics, Inc. (SEGM). The core operations are located in California, where we are currently investigating the technical merits of SEG concept, developing proof-of-concept demo units and corroborating the science and engineering principles involved in its design and functions.

With the passing of Prof. John R.R. Searl in December 2018 the continued development is driven by Fernando D. Morris. Mr. Morris, the CEO of SEGM is the foremost authority on the SEG and has refined the concept, designs and theories of Prof. Searle into a working generator of power ready for the market.

The SEG is a revolutionary energy conversion system which takes advantage of the pattern magnetization of permanent magnetic materials. Its technology, in magnetic field control, is ready for manufacturing of 15kW versions of the SEG. The electrical forces are generated by frequency programming of one of four layered materials. The materials include: a rare earth element, a dielectric element, a permanent magnetic element and OFHC copper. This produces a new type of magnetic component. SEG works directly within the known laws of thermodynamics by process of energy conversion previously unknown at the quantum level.

SEG Magnetics, Inc. (SEGM) Labs will specialize in magnetically programming the SEG magnetic layer. That trade secret is kept deep in the SEGM vaults. The SEGM R&D project has begun manufacturing 15kW versions of the SEG. SEGM is also looking at marketing opportunities for standalone or off-the-grid electrical generators. The 15kW SEG will be the initial commercial product. This is a modest sized production plant, but it will be a model and showcase for future mass production plants of far larger capacity.

Power for off-the-grid communities or dedicated industrial equipment will most likely be the first working application for the user and proof of value examples on a large scale. The savings in power consumption costs over landline delivered electricity is estimated to be 30% in any case.

The classic SEG configuration consists of three set of rings and rollers as depicted: the smallest size unit is the 3kW version. However, the focus of the R&D project has been the development of the innermost set of rings/rollers, with its peak output of 3kW. The unit can be scaled up in the future in size and output power. The 3kW innermost ring is a part of the classic 15kW version – and proves the efficiency of the SEG.

SEGM has gained practical experience on the first stage and has determined it is more practical to array five 3kW units to produce 15kW of power. The 3kW model unit can meet any power requirement when configured in tandem, and it will be the first SEG model for production and implementation.

The 15-kilowatt SEG at a glance:

  • The SEG Stator Ring is made of four material layers and fixed to the base.

  • 12 Rollers are free to orbit around the Stator Ring. Each Roller consist of eight segments, and each segment consists of four materials layers same as the Stator Ring.

  • There are 12 electromagnets to match the number of Rollers. These are designed to extract electrical power by magnetic induction from the moving Rollers.

  • There is a conventional Power Inverter to convert the rectified DC power of the electromagnets into standard levels of AC voltage, current, and frequency for domestic and commercial applications.

  • Built into the SEG base or housing, there is a basic control and monitoring display. This has remote monitoring capabilities via the internet or control center.

The SEG Electrons service allows subscribers to lock in their electricity costs for five years, delivering predictable costs and significant savings greater than those available from any alternative.

SEG is deployed to the customer site to produce clean, reliable, affordable power on a 24/7/365 basis. SEGM manages and maintains the systems: the user only pays for the electricity used.

Benefits of SEG to customers

  • Save money on electricity

  • Lower energy costs immediately

  • Maintain predictable energy costs over a five-year period

  • Reduces carbon footprint, with no CO2 emissions.

  • Noiseless power generation

  • Reduces energy supplies risk

  • Simply replaces the utility expense with the SEG Electrons service charge

  • No capital risk – electricity, not equipment, is all that is paid for

  • No technology risk – consumed energy is all that is paid for

  • Uninterruptible power option for critical load period.

  • Remote monitoring possible

  • SEG Magnetics, Inc. is responsible for all service and maintenance

SEG Magnetics, Inc. is the leader in SEG Research and Development. Fernando D. Morris is the company’s CEO and is the foremost expert on the SEG technology. SEGM is based in San Diego County, California, with a mission to make clean, reliable energy affordable for everyone in the world.

Gold Demand Trends Full year and Q4 2018

Annual gold demand gained 4% on highest central bank buying in 50 years

Annual gold demand gained 4% on highest central bank buying in 50 years

Gold demand in 2018 reached 4,345.1t, up from 4,159.9t in 2017 and in line with the five-year average of 4,347.5t. A multi-decade high in central bank buying (651.5t) drove growth. Demand was bumped up in Q4 by 112.4t of ETF inflows, but annual inflows into these products (of 68.9t) were 67% lower than 2017. Investment in bars and coins accelerated in the second half of the year, up 4% to 1,090.2t in 2018. Full year jewelry demand was steady at 2,200t. Gold used in technology climbed marginally to 334.6t in 2018, although growth ran out of steam in Q4. Annual gold supply firmed slightly to 4,490.2t, with mine production inching up to a new high of 3,364.9t.

4% growth in annual gold demand driven by highest central bank buying in 50 years

Highlights

Central banks added 651.5t to official gold reserves in 2018, the second highest yearly total on record. Net purchases jumped to their highest since the end of US dollar convertibility into gold in 1971, as a greater pool of central banks turned to gold as a diversifier.

Annual jewelry demand was virtually unmoved: down just 1t from 2017. Gains in China, the US and Russia broadly offset sharp losses in the Middle East. Indian demand was stable at 598t (-4t).  

ETFs and similar products saw annual inflows of 68.9t down from 206.4t in 2017. Stock market volatility and signs of faltering economic growth in key markets fueled a global Q4 recovery, but Europe was the only region to see net growth over the year. 

Retail investment in gold bars and coins posted annual growth of 4%. Coin demand surged to reach a five-year high of 236.4t, the second highest on record. Demand for gold bars held steady at 781.6t, the fifth year in succession of holding in a firm 780-800t range.

2018 saw marginal gains in the volume of gold used in technology, crimped by Q4 slowdown. After healthy gains during Q1-Q3, a combination of slowing smartphone sales, the trade war and mounting uncertainty over global economic growth, contributed to a 5% decline in Q4.

Crypto-Crypt or Gold Mine?

As you probably remember, Bitcoin was the big news headlines and the dinner table talk of a year ago. As crypto-currencies soared in value, it was rightly the dominant topic of conversation. Crypto-currencies had advanced in value quite dramatically through the second half of 2017. Bitcoin increased from $1,000 each, to almost $20,000.​

As you probably remember, Bitcoin was the big news headlines and the dinner table talk of a year ago. As crypto-currencies soared in value, it was rightly the dominant topic of conversation. Crypto-currencies had advanced in value quite dramatically through the second half of 2017. Bitcoin increased from $1,000 each, to almost $20,000.​

This created huge paper profits for buyers who were excited by the continued rise in value. This buying frenzy…click the link to read more  www.linkedin.com/pulse/crypto-crypt-gold-mine-chris-principe/?published=t​

1,266 tons of Swiss gold move to Asia

Despite the opening of a number of new gold refineries in the Middle East and Asia over the past few years, the small European country of Switzerland retains its traditional place as the principal conduit for the movement of gold from West to East. Swiss refineries concentrate on taking in larger gold bars… click the link to read more www.sharpspixley.com/articles/lawrie-williams-1-266-tonnes-of-swiss-gold-move-to-asia-and-middle-east-in-2018_289102.html​