Jason Cozens is creating a ‘digital gold standard’ backed by bullion

By Oliver Smith 30 January 2018

Will Glint bring gold back?

It’s true what your parents say.

“Money isn’t worth what it used to be.”

Since 1990 the purchasing power of £1 has more than halved.

Today you need £2.14 to buy the equivalent of what £1 used to buy.

In the real world that translates to rising prices, shrinking chocolate bars, and notes and card payments replacing coins for daily essentials.

Gold, on the other hand, is worth more than ever. You need just a few grams of gold today to buy today what an ounce would have in 1990.

Sadly gold isn’t the easiest thing to own, but Jason Cozens is trying to change that.

Pretty, but not practical. Image: Getty/Paul Katz.

Meet Glint

“The value of your money is falling all the time, and physical gold is still the most universally trusted form of money,” Cozens tells The Memo.

That’s why Cozens co-founded Glint, an attempt to digitise gold.

The way it works is super-simple. Just like Revolut’s app lets you ‘buy’ different currencies to spend on a prepaid bank card abroad, Glint does exactly the same, but with the addition of ‘gold’ as an option.

This ‘digital gold’ can be spent anywhere, in coffee shops or at the checkout, where it’s converted into the local currency when you pay.

The app doesn’t use blockchain (“great for shipping containers, terrible for fast transactions”), but all the gold you buy through the app is backed by real bars of bullion that Glint holds in Switzerland.

That means the value is linked to the real price of gold, which protects you against inflation, sharp currency fluctuations, or even Brexit.

“It’s a bottom-up return to the gold standard,” says Cozens. “You don’t even have to rely on the government to bring it in.”

“Now I am being paid in gold and I’m paying in taxis with it, on the London Underground, for my flights, my Pret a Manger, and the merchant doesn’t know or care that they’re being paid in gold.”

The business of gold

Glint isn’t a charity, however.

It’s free to put Sterling on your card and spend it, but when you convert that cash into gold (or in time other currencies like Dollars, Euros, etc) Glint take a 0.5% cut.

That might sound steep (“but cash is just free?!” I hear you say) but Cozens points out that “you will be losing money just by holding cash”.

Glint is also in its very earliest of beta stages, with only a few features and an Apple App Store rating which is middling at best.

Cozens isn’t phased, or put off by competition from Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

“Gold is created when two neutron stars collide, it can’t be faked or printed, and it’ll still be here after the last computer dies and the last human being leaves the planet.”

But will Glint be?