GoldMoney is the largest digital gold currency on the Internet. As of February 28, 2007 the company was holding just under $200 million dollars in gold bullion for clients.
This company is run by a very sharp businessman named Mr. James Turk. He has been dramatically successful at building his global gold business and looks to the future with total confidence. GoldMoney is clearly a company we can count for safety, convenience and unequaled strength in the coming decade and beyond.
(Q) Can you start by telling us your current title and relationship with GoldMoney?
I am the founder and chairman of GoldMoney.
(Q) Who would be your perfect customer and what is your target market for GoldMoney products?
I’m not sure what would constitute a “perfect” customer because we value all of our customers. Our target market is people and companies who want to purchase gold and silver in order to diversify the risks they incur by holding national currencies.
(Q) Which phrase better describes GoldMoney and why? “Good fences make good neighbors.” or “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
I don’t think GoldMoney can be adequately described by either of the above. What’s more, both phrases are valid. GoldMoney is a service that we provide, and people choose to use it voluntarily. So it can act as a bridge between neighbors. Then again, people often buy gold or silver because of these metals’ safe haven status, just in case something bad happens to the dollar or other national currencies.
(Q) GoldMoney has experienced dramatic growth in the past several years. What would you say are the 3 main reasons more clients using your products?
Our customers know that
1) their gold and silver are safe and secure
2) the rates at which they buy and sell physical gold and silver from us are very competitive
3) the convenient access to their metal that we offer provides them with excellent liquidity
(Q) I love the concept of gold as a medium of online commerce and how easy it is to use as an international unit of exchange. Do you feel GoldMoney is best suited for global commerce or more accurately described as a convenient personal way for individuals to buy and own gold?
It’s both. Companies use GoldMoney because it is well suited for global commerce. Individuals use GoldMoney because it is a great way to buy and own gold.
(Q) What do you feel are the two biggest advantages of using GoldMoney? Why would someone use it for online retail sales of a product?
The two biggest advantages are
1) our exceptional governance, which provides our customers with the assurances of integrity that their metal is safe
2) our website is easy to use and informative
Online retailers may choose GoldMoney for several reasons, but perhaps most importantly, are its low-cost and certainty of payment.
(Q) Clearly, GoldMoney is such a successful business it could be operated from almost any country in the world, why did you opt for its current jurisdiction and how is that better for your client’s safety?
We believe that money should be a neutral tool in commerce. In other words, it should not be subject to political and other influences. Also, we want to operate in a country where there is a strong respect for the rule of law, and further, that the legal system is based upon traditional Anglo-Saxon common law because it is based upon property rights. The Channel Islands — which are located in the English Channel — meet these requirements, which explains why it is one of the world’s largest financial centers. I understand that over $1 trillion of assets are managed there.
(Q) Do you feel that GoldMoney is a great way to transact business on the Internet given its advantages over credit cards or other currently popular means of e-commerce?
Yes, without any doubt. Also, given that the Internet is global, why should any national currencies be used? The Internet needs its own, global currency, and gold is perfectly suited for that role. After all, that is the history of gold — it is international money accepted throughout the world. The same thing cannot be said for many national currencies.
(Q) I was reading an article this week when preparing to write these questions. The article praised GoldMoney and the use of digital gold currency but to my surprise, around the last sentence in the article, it said something to the effect that GoldMoney was very popular way to purchase gold online but had not picked up many retail merchants in the past years. Do you feel that it’s important to the growth of GoldMoney to expand your operations to include more business and personal retail users? Are you making any extra efforts to attract this commercial market or are you happy growing as a successful online ‘saving’ model and secure place to accumulate wealth?
We are happy with our progress in all respects. Most people see gold as a place to save money, so it is not too surprising that most people use GoldMoney as a place to accumulate wealth. But it is still early days. As people begin to learn and understand the benefits of digital gold currency (DGC), they are beginning to use it. It’s like anything else new — adoption takes time. But adoption is happening because DGC offers many benefits, particularly its low cost compared to less efficient payment mechanisms like credit cards and bank wires.
(Q) In today’s Web 2.0 world, online discussion and socializing seems to be a very good way to interact with the public and gain new quality customers. I subscribe to the GoldMoney email list and read your Alerts, but why isn’t there a GoldMoney blog or forum discussion area?
We tried that in our early days, with mixed results. We found that if a customer has a question, for example, they prefer to deal with it privately through our customer support team.
(Q) I know that Gold-Cart.com allows merchants to easily accept GoldMoney and a few other digital gold currencies. Do you recommend Gold-Cart.com to retail customers? Why or why not?
I do not make specific recommendations of any service. Do banks and other financial institutions recommend any of their customers? They don’t. I remain neutral because many of our customers compete with one another, so I let the market decide. Customers will choose which service they prefer, and the company that provides that service will prosper. In this regard, GoldMoney itself is a good example. We are by far the largest DGC.
(Q) We know you are bullish on Gold, but GoldMoney recently started offering digital Silver – my second favorite metal. Where do you see the digital silver part of your business going in the next 24 months? Why?
Silver is indeed an important part of our business and will remain so. Our customers who own silver get the same governance and other protections they also get with gold. The only difference is that silver cannot be used to make payments, at least not yet anyway. That new feature may be added in the future.
(Q) If a broader war erupts in the Middle East, Gold and Silver are obviously a very safe place for preserving personal wealth. Many people and I suspect families will be moving some funds into Gold. Why should Joe Public, who is a 45 year old, 50k $ a year, married with a mortgage regular guy use GoldMoney to keep his family’s long term money safe? Why not a Saving & Loan account or a US bank CD? Do you ever make a conscious marketing attempt to reach such a customer or is GoldMoney really for ‘Gold Bugs’ only?
This is a good question, and it explains why John Rubino and I wrote our book, The Coming Collapse of the Dollar. Its principal objective is education, to explain some of the monetary and financial problems that exist as well as what “Joe Public” can do about it. Also, much of my current writing that is posted on various websites like Kitco.com addresses basic issues in money and finance, and I write for everyone. It is not a marketing attempt, but if people like what I write, they often visit the GoldMoney website. They can then compare our services to other companies and choose what works for them.
(Q) Open2Exchange allows trading of GoldMoney in an open trading floor. Since it’s not a speculative type exchange, but rather a way for customers to get a better price when buying or selling their gold in the secondary market, would you like to these types of ‘open market’ transactions grow or disappear? Some GoldMoney customers love this type of secure ‘open trading’, how do you feel about it?
I have no strong feelings about secondary markets one way or the other, but we always have to be cognizant that we are following the law in the Channel Islands so that GoldMoney is not misused in any way.
(Q) I know the GoldMoney does a lot to verify ‘who’ all of your users are….this is very important is today’s financial world. I would like to take this opportunity to give you a special praise for going above and beyond what is ‘required’ of GoldMoney in the KYC department. What jurisdiction’s set of laws does GoldMoney follow?
Thank you. We follow the law in the country where we operate, Jersey, Channel Islands.
(Q) What does GoldMoney do to prevent any sort of illegal activity with its users?
We have found that verifying the identity of our customers acts as a deterrent to illegal activity. Basically, the law in Jersey, Channel Islands requires us to follow the same standard that banks follow. Even though we are not a bank, the law applies to all financial institutions.
(Q) Is GoldMoney a licensed Money Service Business (MSB) in the United States?
No, we do not have any business presence in the Unites States, and therefore do not fall under US jurisdiction.
(Q) When will I see a TV commercial for GoldMoney? Do you advertise in the mainstream print media? Do you feel that is important?
We advertise only on the Internet for the simple reason that our business is entirely Internet based. I can easily imagine though some time in the future expanding our advertising to mainstream print media.
(Q) Most of the articles I read, end with some wild speculation that digital gold currency ‘could’ be used for terror financing and it seems that any new financial technology today automatically gets that ‘possible’ label from day one. Having been at the top of the digital currency industry for a number of years, can you tell me, is there any situation past or present which has been positively linked digital gold currency with any sort of terror financing?
I am not aware of any.
(Q) I believe it is not only OK but required for government agencies to make such statements, its their job, but do you think it is unfair or irresponsible for the press to so often speculate on possible terrorist involvement with digital gold currency?
There is a difference between what “has” happened and what “could” happen. When people read these statements about how DGC could be used, I believe they accept them at face value. In other words, DGC is no different from any other tool or service — they can be used in proper or improper ways. Even good things can be put to bad uses. We don’t want that to happen with GoldMoney, which explains why we are so careful with our Customer Acceptance Policy and following the letter of the law where we operate.
(Q) In the US, prepaid cards have become second nature for most shoppers. From prepaid Visa cards to cell phone minutes, more prepaid cards are hanging on the end of isles in front of consumers than ever before, when can I expect to see a $25, $50 or $100 GoldMoney card hanging in my shopping isle?
I don’t have any view on that. I’ve never looked into it, and am therefore not even sure whether it is a viable business model.
(Q) In December of 2005, Businessweek came out with a series of negative articles on e-gold. The articles only discussed the negative aspects of the business and did not talk about any of the positive items. How did you feel when you first read that those articles? Did that negative press impact GoldMoney’s business?
That article clearly stated that GoldMoney is different from E-Gold, so I was not concerned by it. We continued our same growth path after the article came out, so I don’t believe it had any impact on our business.
(Q) GoldMoney has been so successful and experienced such strong growth over the past years, after those articles came out, did you feel the need to counter that bad stuff with any positive items, news or ad campaigns for digital gold? Why or why not?
My focus is on GoldMoney, not other companies. If GoldMoney was the subject of inaccurate reporting, I would of course respond. Over the years I have seen a lot of GoldMoney wannabees, but there is only one GoldMoney. The media coverage given to GoldMoney over the years has been accurate.
(Q) I know expanding your business by offering Silver to clients made a lot of people happy, myself included. What is the next big area of growth for GoldMoney? Are you planning any additional product roll outs?
The next big product roll-out is coming within a few weeks. We call it Customer Funds. Our customers will be able to place national currency on deposit at a bank in Jersey, which will facilitate our customers buying and selling of metal.
So for example, let’s assume you want to take some profit by selling some of your silver. Right now, we are required to wire the proceeds back to your bank account. Then when you want to buy again, you have to wire the money back to us. That’s expensive and time consuming. In a few weeks you will be able to deposit the proceeds of your sale into a bank in Jersey, and earn interest on that money while you are waiting to re-enter the market. Or similarly for new purchases, you will be able to wire money to the bank and earn interest, and then enter the market at the moment you are ready.
We’ve been working on this new product for several months. I has required a lot of programming and back-office planning, but I think it will be a major step forward for GoldMoney. It has also been the new service most requested by our customers, and we always pay careful attention to what they are telling us.
(Q) If I gave you the platform to directly reach 300 or 400 million people each week with your digital gold message, what would it be?
Everyone needs to understand gold, so that each individual can decide whether he or she wants to own some. This message basically explains the objective of my writings, on the GoldMoney website and elsewhere.
(Q) What is the most important idea, concept or vision you wish to provide your current or future clients? (safety, value etc)
Gold is money, but about 100 years ago we stopped using it as currency. Gold was not as efficient as other forms of currency, so gold-substitutes became predominant. But today’s technology is changing currency, just like it is changing in many other areas of our lives. The important point is that gold can now circulate more efficiently and safely than national currencies. I don’t expect national currencies to be replaced anytime soon, but I do expect in the years immediately ahead that gold will emerge as the predominant cross-border currency for international commerce. In other words, gold will once again fulfill its traditional role as global money.
(Q) How much gold do you have right now in you pocket? Do you ever carry a favorite coin or two for good luck?
I carry two 20-gram bars that I purchased over 20 years ago when I lived in Abu Dhabi. But I have always been carrying gold in my pocket since I lived in Thailand 30 years ago. I learned there that gold is money, and it is always useful to have some tucked away just in case.
That concludes my full interview with Mr. James Turk. I would like to take a moment to thank Mr. Turk for answering my questions.