In a world-first tech breakthrough - with ties right here in Australia - you can now buy real, physical gold and store it in your crypto wallet.
Aussie cryptocurrency exchange Cointree has partnered with globally renowned gold investment fintech Rush Gold, in a tie-up both businesses say will make gold investment more accessible.
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The partnership will see Cointree bring Rush Gold's Gold-as-a-Service software to its platform, allowing investors to buy, sell and own gold bullion directly alongside any of the 280+ cryptocurrencies available.
Investing in gold
At present, there are a few ways to invest in and own gold.
The most popular, and perhaps most attractive, way of investing in gold is buying the physical product. This can come in the form of bullion, coins or bars, and it's the sort of thing you can purchase from the Perth Mint.
Owning coins is recommended for new or small-time investors, as it means you can invest within your means and also gives you the freedom to sell a percentage of your investment; if you buy a large gold bar, you can't just chop it in half to sell a percentage of it.
You can also invest in a gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), gold futures or publicly listed gold-mining companies, giving you exposure to the precious metal and its prices without owning the physical product.
However, these options are derivatives of gold, meaning they are subject to much more volatile price fluctuations than physical gold.
Gold in your crypto wallet?
Gold is seen as a 'safe haven' investment, thanks to its millennia-long history of use as currency and store of value, so it makes sense that crypto investors burned by 2022's rollercoaster would be interested in gold.
Jess Renden, COO of Cointree, said the decision to offer gold through its platform was driven by demand from crypto aficionados.
"About a quarter of our members said they were keenly interested in gold," she told Yahoo Finance.
"The ability to provide investors with access to gold bullion is really exciting and has been very well received.
"By offering a service to purchase gold directly through the platform, we are able to assist our investor membership - who are primarily young, retail investors - in better understanding how to diversify their investments and hedge against market risk."
The process is simple: deposit funds, receive gold bullion in the form of a digital title with details on where and how your gold is stored.
Rush Gold CEO Jodi Stanton said, compared to gold futures or ETFs, Cointree's offering gave investors direct title to gold bullion.
"We want to make it very accessible for people to buy, sell, trade and own gold," she said.
"There are high costs involved with buying securities or ETFs and our platform enables people to be an outright owner of the physical metal."
'Still early days' for crypto and gold innovation
Both Renden and Stanton agreed that despite the hit cryptocurrencies had taken in 2022, digital currencies and blockchain technology were here to stay.
"We're early days on all of it, including gold and the digital-finance sector," Stanton said.
"There is a lot of innovation to come that we haven't even begun to understand yet.
"Gold is a risk-off asset and there are interesting things that can be done with it from a transactional point of view, as we find out what it means to have a physical asset represented on blockchain record-keeping systems.
"And this is an Australian story. We're one of the world's top producers of gold, in a strong regulatory and financial-services environment, but we don't add value before we export our gold. We want to change that."
And while NFTs are the popular talking point at the moment when it comes to the world of blockchain technology, Renden said the sector had matured significantly in recent years.
"We've had naysayers since the beginning but the industry has only matured," she said.
"Commonwealth Bank, PayPal, Visa, these are just some of the names getting involved in crypto, which validates our beliefs that the technology and purpose behind digital assets are here to stay.
"We're interested to see what happens as the market matures further and we start to remove barriers for people to invest, whether it's in a cryptocurrency or physical gold."