HayekGold from Anthem Vault Represents Physical Gold on the Bitcoin Blockchain

Bitcoin Magazine
HayekGold from Anthem Vault Represents Physical Gold on the Bitcoin Blockchain

Financial technology company Anthem Vault today launched HayekGold (the ‘hayek’), a digital token that enables more people to own and spend gold. Each hayek represents 1 gram of gold stored in the secure, world-class vaulting facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, and will be purchased at the market value at the time of the transaction.

“We use the latest, most secure technology – the Bitcoin blockchain – that fuels hundreds of other crypto-related platforms,” said Anthem Vault founder and CEO Anthem Blanchard. “The hayek coalesces the most trusted store of value in history, gold, with the world’s most secure exchange network, Bitcoin. Gold is hardly volatile and can help create a more anchored currency and savings plan.”

Blanchard, a lifelong advocate of decentralized sound money, is the son of James U. Blanchard III, who helped restore Americans’ right to own gold bullion. The Hayek name leaves no doubts about Blanchard’s political leanings. “First of all, we love F. A. Hayek, one of the greatest contributors to the Austrian School of Economics,” states the HayekGold website. “He wrote a number of valuable books and articles about the free market, price theory, and more throughout the 20th century. Second, Anthem Vault’s CEO is named Anthem Hayek Blanchard. His parents loved F. A. Hayek’s work so much that they named their son after him!”

Anthem Vault’s initiative was previously referred to as HayekCoin. Anthem Vault decided to change the name to HayekGold to help clarify exactly what the crypto-asset is and how it works.

“When most people talk about cryptocoins, they are referring to a digital currency that can be mined (created) with a computer,” notes the HayekGold website. “HayekGold, however, does not involve any digital mining. Sure, the physical gold has to be mined in the traditional sense (by digging into the earth!), but the digital tokens can never be created out of thin air. They can only come into existence when real gold is deposited into Anthem Vault.”

Presumably, the company also wanted to avoid associations with “altcoins” of dubious reputation and trustworthiness. In fact, HayekGold runs on the Counterparty infrastructure, which is a layer on top of the Bitcoin network. That means that HayekGold is not an altcoin but a part of the Bitcoin ecosystem, and every transaction is recorded on and secured by the real Bitcoin blockchain.

Anthem Vault provides individuals with an efficient and liquid way to buy, own and sell physical, 100 percent fine gold and silver bullion. All metals are securely stored with an independent world-class vaulting facility in Salt Lake City, Utah and are insured for loss by theft or natural disaster. Anthem Vault’s offices and operations team are based in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company is incorporated as a Nevada corporation and regulated as a precious metals dealer by the U.S. Treasury.

Other gold companies are discovering Bitcoin. In May, BitGold, a Canadian corporation with offices in Toronto and Milan and a network of secure vaults for gold storage, announced the public launch of the BitGold platform, a software service that connects gold storage with payment networks, resulting in a banking-like platform for gold.

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Chamber of Digital Commerce: More Action from FinCEN is Inevitable

The FinCEN action against XRP II LLC (Ripple) took many by surprise early last month, although many in the Bitcoin community were not shocked to see an organization with such close ties to a digital token face backlash for “willful violations” of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and failure to implement appropriate anti-money laundering (AML) procedures.

The Chamber of Digital Commerce has been quick to gain an in-depth understanding of the action taken against Ripple Labs, and the Washington, D.C.-based trade association plans to discuss the implications of the regulatory action in a public briefing June 4th at 1 p.m. EDT.

Before their briefing, the Chamber of Digital Commerce was willing to answer a few questions related to the Ripple case via email. Chamber of Digital Commerce President Perianne Boring provided input on the Ripple case with added assistance from Carol Van Cleef of the trade association’s advisory board.

Changes to the Ripple Protocol?

In the minds of many digital currency advocates, the most troubling aspect of the Ripple action was the agreement to make regulatory compliant changes to the Ripple protocol. Of course, as Boring pointed out, Ripple Labs seemed to disagree with this assessment of the deal with FinCEN via a piece in the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ article contained statements from Ripple Labs Bank Secrecy Act Officer Antoinette O’Gorman:

“All that Ripple had agreed to, she said, was to build enhanced ‘analytical transaction monitoring tools for monitoring transactions across the protocol’ and to furnish information drawn from that monitoring to U.S. authorities upon request. The changes had ‘nothing to do with the protocol itself,’ she said.”

Boring added that this would be a key point of discussion during the Thursday briefing. When speaking specifically about what changes Ripple Labs would have to make due to their agreement with FinCEN, Boring stated:

“This is consistent with FinCEN’s minimum standards for money service businesses, which states that ‘money services businesses that have automated data processing systems should integrate into their systems compliance procedures such as recordkeeping and monitoring transactions subject to reporting requirements.’ Given these expectations, as a practical matter, the analytical tools must either be incorporated into the protocol or be built on top of the protocol to enable the company to monitor transactions.”

More Action to Come from FinCEN

Due to the swift action from FinCEN and their partner agencies on the Ripple situation, it should come as no surprise to find that the Digital Chamber of Commerce also finds more action from FinCEN against various businesses involved with token issuances and crowd sales to be “inevitable.” Boring pointed to a May 6th keynote speech by FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Cavalry at the West Coast AML Forum in which the director indicated that a series of supervisory examinations of virtual currency businesses has recently been launched by the IRS.

Boring added:

“Please note that it is the IRS that conducts such examinations for FinCEN. Any deficiencies detected in these examinations are then reported to FinCEN. FinCEN then may decide to take enforcement action. With the laser focus right now on these businesses, we expect more actions are inevitable.”

The president of the Digital Chamber of Commerce also noted, “IRS examinations are not the only way that virtual currency businesses may find themselves vulnerable to enforcement actions by FinCEN.” She pointed to ongoing criminal investigations and even press coverage as two other activities that could trigger an investigation by another regulatory body such as the SEC.

Public Briefing on the Ripple Action

In an effort to bring more clarity to the current regulatory environment in terms of token issuances, crowd sales, and other activities surrounding digital currencies, the Chamber of Digital Commerce is holding an industry briefing on Thursday, June 4 at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT). The key points of the briefing will be to:

Discuss the implications of the first civil money penalty action against a digital currency company;
Gain a more in-depth understanding of what it means for companies in the ecosystem;
Evaluate what steps need to be taken immediately to minimize or eliminate potential violations;
Assess how to prepare for upcoming Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) examinations by the IRS.

The briefing will be held via telephone, and participants can register before the start of the event to receive the dial-in information.

As part of her final comments, Boring added a few notes about the importance of regulatory clarity in the digital currency ecosystem:

“Investors don’t fear regulation; they fear uncertainly. Gaining regulatory clarity is an important part of the development and growth of this industry.”

In order to help with the ever-changing regulatory landscape in the digital currency industry, the Chamber of Digital Commerce has put together the first AML compliance course specifically designed for businesses involved with bitcoin and other digital assets. Boring noted, “The Chamber will continue to take a leadership role by advancing the public-private sector dialogue, offering educational webinars and training sessions, and serving as a clearinghouse for information sharing within the industry.”

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SpectroCoin Launches A Bitcoin Debit Card For Eastern Europe

European Bitcoin exchange and payment processor SpectroCoin launched a debit card earlier this week that can be loaded with digital currency and spent at anywhere major debit and credit cards are accepted.

A press release by London-headquartered SpectroCoin said the debit card can be issued to residents of 150 countries and is accepted at merchants around the globe.

The startup, which also has offices in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, is focused on bolstering bitcoin adoption in Eastern Europe, a region largely overlooked by most digital currency companies. The debit card is SpectroCoin’s latest effort to make spending bitcoin easy in the region, something the startup holds is crucial to the long-term success of the digital currency.

“For SpectroCoin users, it means broader spectrum of withdrawal options, as they are no longer dependent on their bank card and do not have to wait for wire transfer to be able to withdraw cash, which means quicker and cheaper link between bitcoin and cash for SpectroCoin users,” SpectroCoin co-founder and CEO Vytautas Karalevičius told Bitcoin Magazine via email. “It is a step towards being one-stop shop for bitcoin.”

Fees and spending limits

To order the card, simply go to the dashboard of your SpectroCoin account and click on the ‘Order Debit Card’ section toward the bottom of the screen. From there you will be taken to a screen which will prompt you to fill in an order sheet; shipping the card to you takes 4-7 days and costs €7. After you receive the card, you can manage your card form SpectroCoin account.

For point-of-sale purchases, no fees are charged but a one percent fee is tacked on when loading the card with bitcoin. Using the card to withdraw cash through an ATM in United Kingdom costs €2.25; in any other country there is a €2.75 fee.

The maximum loading limit and card balance is €10,000 for verified users; €1,000 is the maxium cash withdrawing limit. To get verified, a card-holder must provide a form of ID and a utility bill. For unverified users, the limits of are one-fourth that of verified users.

SpectroCoin was unwilling to share who issued the card when asked by Bitcoin Magazine, but did say it was issued by a company in Gibraltar, an overseas British territory south of Spain, which is regulated by the country’s Financial Services Commission. Gibraltar is part of the European Union, and as such local financial companies are also regulated by E.U. governing bodies.

SpectroCoin’s announcement comes a week after Bitcoin Magazine reported on another European exchange, BitStamp, which released a debit card as well. Their card is similar to the Baltic startup’s, including the fees and spending limits, but BitStamps’ also allowed for users to receive a digital debit card.

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