From the beginning, Independent Currencies has been exploring the possibilities of merging precious metals with banknotes. Paper money has often served as a stand-in for real gold. New technologies open doors to innovative hybrid banknotes.
Our experience has two distinct areas of expertise: 1) physical commodity bearer instruments in cash, and 2) commodity-backed cryptocurrency.
First, cryptocurrency: perhaps the biggest innovation for commodity-backed money is the arrival of the blockchain. Tokenized commodities free investors of the need to take heavy physical delivery. Although a level of trust is required in the custody of storage, commodities in tokenized form go a long way to alleviating physical barriers to ownership and trade.
Where does the banknote come in? 1) regardless of the blockchain, an authentic banknote is a familiar, physical cue that signifies value. 2) Cash is the most unencumbered form of transacting available. 3) Cryptocurrency in all forms are limited by their onboarding process, while cash is easily obtainable.
We are well positioned to offer banknote design to te commodity token ecosystem. A variety of options exist today to make this possible; chips can be embedded on banknotes or cards, acting as unique wallets. The simplest option has always been the paper wallet - nothing more than a piece of paper with a public and private address. Over the years, we’ve created paper wallets with varying levels of complexity.
These commodity-holding paper products are an evolution of a gold-backed note. Traditionally, paper has been used as a stand-in for redeemable precious metal. Of course, this requires trust that these pieces of paper are honored. Tokenizing a commodity and creating cash as unique wallets would allow the tokens to be redeemed at any time. Not only that, the wallet address could be checked, and its value can always be verified. These cash-like products would then function not as stand-ins, but as bearer instruments with real value.
This brings us to the genuine bearer instrument product. Innovative technologies now exist to infuse real gold into a substrate, creating a form of cash with a genuine commodity value. We have been optimizing the design process for substrates with unique properties, to maximise the visual effect, and reinforce the powerful story of a gold-infused banknote.
“Tokenizing commodities would seem to satisfy the most, in terms of familiarity, decentralization, value and useability …For the designer, this is good news. The symbolism of gold, silver and other commodities are so deep, and span the entirety of Human history. The timeless allure of gold speaks to us on a primal level. It grounds us to the Earth, to our physical mortality, and our eternal potential.”