Photo by Aaron Munoz on Unsplash

Democratizing physical gold ownership.

This startup is bringing wealth creation to all.

old has been used as a store of value for all of recorded history. It holds its value forever, and isn’t subject to the fluctuations and political risk associated with fiat currency.

Most of us know that a good balanced investment portfolio includes some gold (it has often outperformed the stock market), but the average person doesn’t have an easy, efficient, and legal way to buy and store physical gold.

So Ashraf Rizvi and his team decided to tackle this problem, and democratize physical gold ownership. Riz (as everyone calls him) is a Wharton grad who went on to be Global Head of Commodities Trading at UBS Investment Bank. He knows that wealthy people can easily buy and store gold as part of their diversified investment portfolio — one day he thought to himself, “Why not bring that bring that access to all?”

The Digital Swiss Gold app.

So Riz put together an all-star team and founded Digital Swiss Gold (DSG), a new fintech digital platform. Using their mobile application consumers can buy as little as a gram of gold (approx $60 USD). You actually own the gold, and it is stored for you in a vault in Switzerland. Blockchain technology is used to track, validate, and audit transactions. It’s as easy as a digital currency, except that it’s actual physical gold ownership. Safe and secure.

Digital Swiss Gold is headquartered in the US (and Jersey), but has chosen India as their first market. India is a market of 1.3 billion people, eager to access gold ownership. Just a month after launch, Digital Swiss Gold already has had over 30,000 app downloads.

Riz and his team have also launched a US brand, Gilded, using the same safe-and-secure digital platform to provide gold ownership to American consumers and investors. Every transaction is recorded on a private permissioned blockchain and independently verified for audit and assurance.

From a regulatory standpoint, one of the challenges of this business is that it’s subject to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws. Digital Swiss Gold has turned this into a competitive advantage, as they have developed and integrated a digital workflow that makes it 100% compliant with these regulations. Many companies make customers jump through all sorts of hoops in order to meet KYC and AML regulations before they can make a purchase. With Digital Swiss Gold it’s a fast and efficient process, right within the app.

Democratizing access to physical gold ownership isn’t an easy issue to tackle. There are these regulatory compliance issues plus the logistical complexity of sourcing the gold, tracking it, and storing it in Swiss vaults. Then there’s the whole digital layer, with complexity from Blockchain to the mobile app. Turning all that into a seamless consumer user experience that is safe and secure takes a pretty amazing team of professionals. Which is exactly what Riz has assembled.

I’m a Silicon Valley guy. I teach entrepreneurship at Stanford, coach startup CEO’s at Miller Center, and run the 4thly Startup Accelerator. Also, I love tacos.