Bitcoins have certainly come a long way. Just two years ago, the cryptocurrency traded at less than $4. In January of this year; however, the price of a single bitcoin was at about $900, after reaching a previous high of $1,200 at the end of 2013.
As major retailers, both online and offline, begin adding the currency as an accepted payment method, increasing attention is now being focused on the virtual currency.
In particular, there is now heightened attention on keeping bitcoins safe. Compared to online wallets, BTC exchanges are often considered somewhat safer for storing bitcoins because the coins are stored in what is referred to as "cold storage." Fox News estimates that more than 90 percent of Bitcoins deposited in exchange are actually stored offline, while a small percentage is kept online to allow for immediate redemption.
Still, despite best efforts, keeping bitcoins safe is not always an easy task. Many people investing in bitcoin are often concerned about a variety of factors, including currency fluctuations, exchanges shuttering their doors, or hackers accessing their stored coins. Investing in Bitcoins is not without risk, as evidenced by the recent closing of bitcoin bank Flexcoin, which shut its doors after losing approximately $600,000 in a hacking attack.
Now, a new startup is offering investors a revolutionary opportunity to keep their bitcoins safe by converting them into gold bars. Netagio, a London-based cold storage bitcoin vault recently opened in January, offers customers the opportunity to mitigate their risks by trading their bitcoin for gold bars. Like most other exchanges, Netagio retains the vast majority of customers' bitcoins offline in order to protect against theft attempts by hackers. Users are able to take advantage of free-to-use accounts that are further protected by two-factor authentication security. The accounts can also be set by customers so that access can only be gained from pre-established, user-defined locations.
In an extension of its original services, Netagio is now making it possible for customers to convert their Bitcoins into physical gold bars with just a few clicks. The 100g gold bars are fully insured and can be stored within a maximum-security vault in a highly secure storage facility located in Switzerland. The vault, which is secured under armed guard, is considered safe from all potential military and civilian risks. Customers also have the option to have their gold bars delivered to their address, at their expense.
Netagio customers can also take advantage of the opportunity to convert their gold into bitcoins. In order to make such trades, customers will need 100g gold bars that can be delivered to the company, which will credit the client's account with bitcoins.
Exchange rates are calculated based on the most recent prices for bitcoins and gold. Customers are required to pay a 1.99% commission on all purchases. The fee is paid in bitcoins. Customers who purchase gold using bitcoins also pay a 0.03 percent storage fee annually. There are no storage fees charged for storing bitcoins with Netagio.
The move toward being able to exchange bitcoins for gold and vice versa could be an indication that more gold bugs will soon express interest in the crypto-currency. As gold is one of the oldest currencies in the world and is often viewed as a safe harbor currency, the move by Netagio to allow customers to exchange their bitcoins for gold as well as vice versa presents a bold new move in the world of bitcoin. As bitcoin continues to emerge as an asset class and the demand for reliable trading and storage services rises in demand, more such services may soon be on the horizon.
The Bullion Bitcoin exchange, also based in London, also recently announced that it will allow investors to trade gold bullion and bitcoin. One of the primary differences that exists between Netagio and Bullion Bitcoin; however, is that the latter will not be open to retail investors and will be restricted to only those high net-worth clients that are defined by the Financial Conduct Authority. Traders using the exchange are required to place a minimum 1kg gold subscription. The price of gold will be fixed by Bullion Bitcoin in bitcoin twice daily. Traders are allowed to submit bids and asks for gold and bitcoin during those sessions.
Anthem Vault, based in Nevada, has also announced that it will offer US investors the capability of purchasing incremental amounts of silver and gold bullion using bitcoin. Investors are able to make purchases as low as $25 using instantly locked-in prices, according to International Business Times. Compared to credit and debit card payments, bitcoin purchases of bullion are considered less risky, a tremendous benefit when it comes to large orders of silver and gold.