GoldMoney founder sees Bitcoin not as the ultimate store of value, but the ultimate transaction medium
Recently-launched Netagio sees a world of opportunity in Bitcoin, but not in the way that some critics from the gold crowd may think.
In an interview with MINING.com, CEO Geoff Turk said that gold is still the "ultimate store of value," while Bitcoin (BTC) is the ultimate transaction medium.
After all, you still can't pay for a new dining set with gold bars. But with more and more merchants accepting BTC, you can trade the digital coins for anything from jewellery to furniture to dinner … the list grows daily.
"I don't see them as competitive but complimentary," Turk, a co-founder of GoldMoney, said.
As the CEO of GoldMoney, Turk has more than a decade of experience investing in and storing precious metals. But around this time last year he started seeing potential in Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has soared from less than $20 per BTC in January 2013 to a high of $1,242 in November.
Last week, GoldMoney – one of the UK's biggest precious metals storage firms – announced the launch of Netagio, a digital currency brokerage.
Like its parent company, Netagio's offer is to "protect something of value," Geoff explained. But unlike gold, Geoff is highly uncertain about Bitcoin's usefulness as a store of value; he said it's not something we'll be able to assess in our lifetimes. Gold on the other hand has been used for thousands of years.
The digital coin's biggest appeal, according to Turk, is its ability to transfer value cheaply, quickly and securely.
For now, Netagio's business is to provide safe offline storage of Bitcoins. But eventually the company will offer a variety of Bitcoin-related services, including Bitcoin trading.
Currently, buying and selling coins is extremely cheap, and sometimes free, which is why Netagio doesn't plan on limiting itself to offering a storage and trading platform for the digital currency.
"There's a lot more in the offering than just buying and selling," Geoff said, adding that eventually stocks could be traded on a completely decentralized ledger thanks to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. "It's a very powerful concept."
Geoff is certainly not the only one that sees Bitcoin as a game-changer. In New York Times piece published Tuesday, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen – whose firm has invested nearly $50 million in Bitcoin-related startups – says that one of the biggest consequences of Bitcoin is that it allows the transfer of digital property from one pseudonymous person to the other "such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer."
"The consequences of this breakthrough are hard to overstate," Andreessen writes.
Exactly what kind of Bitcoin-related offerings Netagio will roll out next is still unclear. The company is also interested in other digital currencies – of which there are dozens – but for now its focus is on Bitcoin.
"It's very, very early days," Geoff said.