Gold is going digital.
The London Bullion Market Association, which oversees the world’s biggest spot gold market, will seek proposals including the use of blockchain for tracing the origins of metal, partly to help prevent money laundering, terrorism funding and conflict minerals, according to Sakhila Mirza, an executive board director.
“Blockchain cannot be ignored,” Mirza, also general counsel of the LBMA, said in an interview Monday. “Let’s understand how it can help us today, and address the risks that impact the precious metals market.”
Markets in commodities from crude oil to diamonds and even tomatoes are looking at using the digital ledger technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin — known to some as “digital gold” — to track ownership. Tracing gold supply is key to preventing metal that funds armed conflict from entering world markets, identifying owners and maintaining security from mine to vault.
The LBMA has pushed ahead with efforts to modernize a trade that until recent years relied on phone auctions to set a key benchmark price for the market.
“For us, it’s a question of where the gold comes from,” Mirza said.