Gold and Silver are Money Again

As of today you really can pay your taxes, your credit cards, your mortgage, shop at Costco, and buy your groceries without so much as a bank account while using sound money.

The fact that Texas announced that it withdrawing its gold from Manhattan and is creating a state gold depository generated a good deal of interest because there would also be a way to transfer gold to others via said depository. So much interest that Texas received calls from all over the United States from folks that wanted to be part of such a system. The articles covering the future Texas depository cumulatively received millions of views. What was missed in all of this coverage is that a functional, and legal depository that allows anyone in the country to pay and save in gold dollars already exists. In Utah.

The United Precious Metals Association in Utah has gold and now separate silver accounts that act as checking accounts do at any bank or credit union. The way it works is that members deposit Federal Reserve Notes (or paper dollars) into their UPMA account which in turn translates them into golden dollars (or silver). The golden dollars are based off the $50 one ounce gold coins produced by the Treasury of The United States. They are legal tender under the law and are protected as such. So if I were to deposit $1,200 FRNs then I would have $50 golden dollars.

UPMA is the only institution in the country that I know of that doesn’t have a buy/sell spread on their Golden Eagles or Silver Eagles. This means that all my $1,200 FRNs once converted to gold could be spent the next day without losing anything to any sort of premium. The price of a Gold Eagle is 5.8% above spot but when you ‘cash out’ you do so at 5.8% above gold spot. This effectively removes that barrier from sound money.

This year the UPMA released a gold backed debit card via American Express. The way it works is that a member may spend up to half of their gold or silver dollars in any given month period using the card. When I interviewed the founder of UPMA today, Larry Hilton, I learned that the way the card works is that they have made a contract with American Express so that UPMA members can use what are technically credit cards as a debit card anywhere American Express is accepted. The members are added on as ’employees’. Right now there are already hundreds of people around the country using this method of payment. They are literally spending gold on groceries without losing anything to premiums or in transaction fees to UPMA. In fact they get 1% cash back in gold.

This service is available to anyone in the United States and requires no credit check whatsoever. Using the billpay service online one can pay for what American Express can’t such as credit card bills, property taxes, or your mortgage. The golden dollars are simply converted right back into FRNs and paid out. When asked Mr. Hilton affirmed that there are many people that don’t store anything in the banks anymore thanks to this service. They are obsolete if you want to use sound money. There are no fees associated with the use of the card. Members that store more than $50 in golden dollars do pay a small storage/membership fee of 10 golden cents or $2.50 FRNs and an additional 0.25 FRNs for every additional $50. These $50 Golden Eagles can also be withdrawn and sent to you directly.

The United Precious Metals Association has the full backing of Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes who also uses the service. The legal foundation was set up in 2010 and 2012 here in Utah where the vault is located. Many members of the board including General Counsel Larry Hilton are lawyers that specialize in law regarding the use of legal tender.

An elected board of members makes regular audits to assure that all of the gold and silver is there and reports to the general membership every year at the monetary summit. This year it will be held on October 17 in Salt Lake City. The vault is insured from theft and fraud via the Llyods of London. They hold a 100% reserve ratio.

Accounts with UPMA can be opened on their website by anyone residing in the United States. They require only a name, a zip code, and an email address. It takes about five minutes. They can be reached for questions during normal business hours at 888-210-8488 or via email sends e-mail).

The full half hour interview with founder of UPMA Larry Hilton will be published here sometime in the upcoming week when I can figure out how to edit some of the static out of it. In the meantime feel free to post questions in the comments.