Several companies, among them Paxos, have issued stablecoins backed by physical gold. But an Australian startup wants to go beyond tokens to target the entire supply chain of gold.
Brisbane-based Meld announced late Tuesday that it had partnered with Algorand and the Australian gold industry to integrate the supply chain of gold on blockchain.
“At the core of the Meld ecosystem is the partner network,” the director of Meld Gold, Michael Cotton, told Decrypt. “Unlike other solutions, Meld is developing an industry solution that interconnects the entire supply chain, creating efficiencies such as decreased costs, increased transaction speed and greater liquidity.”
According to Cotton, what sets Meld apart from other players in the space is that consumers will be able to transact over the counter and online with gold dealers. Businesses big and small, such as pawn shops, scrap metal dealers, mints, refineries, and vaults will be able to join the partner network to refine and sell their gold. Furthermore, traditional bullion investors and new users will be able to tap members of the partner network to withdraw and have their gold delivered to them on demand.
“Local bullion dealers gain a variety of advantages by adopting the technology,” Cotton said. This “includes increasing their product range, giving them access to increased inventory, reducing their exposure to market movement and creating long-term revenue streams by onboarding users to the network.”
As for why it chose the Ethereum competitor, Algorand, Meld said in a press release it was the platform “best-suited to connect all components of the gold marketplace: bringing suppliers, dealers, and buyers directly to where they want to trade their assets.”
With the gold industry on the Algorand blockchain, the companies expect users will be able to find buyers and sellers quicker, trade instantly, and track the origins of their gold—all from a digital wallet or in person with a partner dealer.
Despite the support from Algorand and some members of the Australian gold industry, Meld faces significant challenges. The first is convincing small businesses like pawn shops and scrap metal dealers, which are usually local face-to-face businesses, that they absolutely need blockchain and tokens. Another issue is how Meld will verify the quality and reserves of gold amongst partner members, especially considering stablecoin markets are notoriously tricky to audit.
Nonetheless, Peter August, the CEO of the Melbourne Mint, remains optimistic about the project. “Many companies have tried to create their own version of gold-backed tokens, but what Meld is doing is new: they’re using blockchain technology to not just emulate but improve the actual gold market.”