Gold forgery is a prevalent problem, but not for the reason you might think. In the last three years, around $50 million worth of gold bars stamped with Swiss refinery logos have been found to be fraudulent. This so-called ‘dirty gold’ is deliberately disrupted with wrongly branded logos. It’s difficult to detect, and often professionally done, making the fraudulence even harder to find.

The issue with dirty gold goes further than the obvious, however. Much of this gold is mined unethically, by child or forced labour and often funding conflict. So, while people thinking they are buying responsibly sourced gold, in reality they’re investing in fraudulent and unethically mind gold.

Difficult to track

Fraudulent gold bars are difficult to track, largely because many of them are so well made and adhere to gold standards. These are not gold counterfeits: they are, in fact, real gold, often of good quality, however wrongly branded. The problem, essentially, comes down to their source and where, exactly, the profit from the gold is going.

Not only is the gold mined in conflict conditions, it is directly funding those conflict conditions.

For many purchasers, there is no way of knowing any better. These bars are so realistic that many professionals could not tell the difference. The only way to truly track them is to identify the serial numbers and check for duplicates – a monumental task. So, significant amounts of conflict gold are unintentionally circulated.

We need tech for proper auditability and control

Tokenizing gold. It’s a more reliable alternative to merely trusting cryptocurrencies, yet it still understandably scares a lot of people.

Tokenized gold allows people to reliably track their gold through a combination of blockchain, artificial intelligence and often the Internet of Things. The gold can be traced with the assurance of technology that will ensure that the gold bullion being exchanged is legitimate and clean gold. Even outside of tokenization, blockchain technology can still provide a compelling use case for tracking gold through RFID tags or other tracking systems.

Clean gold is a necessity. Most companies and consumers have no desire to source conflict gold. That is why we need this technology to reliably trace gold from mine to smelter to eventual distribution and trade.

While it’s possible to fraudulently replicate the unique codes on a gold bar, a blockchain-backed system with AI could identify a replicated serial number or identification code and pinpoint the fraudulence. This is where blockchaint technology excels.

Our platform STAMP tracks any asset from fuel to gold to any other precious metals. STAMP Supply is our supply chain tracking solution, which can also, of course, be applied to the gold supply chain. Find out more here or contact us about a demo here.