Brett Arends’s ROI: In Zimbabwe, digital gold beats bitcoin

by | May 18, 2023 | Stock Market

You think you’ve got problems? Consumer price inflation in Zimbabwe is running at 75% a year. And that’s only the official rate. The International Monetary Fund thinks it’s nearer 175%. Either way, you get your paycheck and you run, not walk, to the supermarket.

No wonder the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, is trying something new. Or rather, something very old. It is launching a new “digital currency.” But don’t think bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin or any of that jazz. Read: Zimbabwe is launching gold-backed digital tokens: What you need to know Think: Gold. Old fashioned gold bullion. The Reserve Bank is selling digital tokens that effectively give you an ownership stake in a small amount of the gold bullion in its vaults. The tokens, which use blockchain technology, can be easily exchanged from one person to another through online accounts, known as digital wallets. And while the future direction of gold is anybody’s guess, it’s a reminder that the yellow metal, near record highs at just under $2,000 an ounce, remains a respectable asset as part of a broader retirement portfolio. “Holders of physical gold coins, at their discretion, will be able to exchange or convert, through the banking system, the physical gold coins into gold-backed digital tokens,” the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says. “The digital tokens held in either e-gold wallets or e-gold cards will be tradable and capable of facilitating Person-to-Person (P2P) and Person-to-Business (P2B) transactions and settlement. It therefore means that the gold-backed digital tokens would be used both as a means of payment and a store of value.” The International Monetary Fund has cautioned Zimbabwe about the move, warning of pote …

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