Nick Giambruno: Rick, you've been in the resource market for decades. We recently discussed how you're looking very closely at gold-backed cryptocurrencies. This is where the resource market is intersecting with blockchain technology and decentralized databases.
What made you interested in gold-backed cryptos?
Rick Rule: Well, first we believe that the potential audience for gold and cryptos is very similar. The people who believe that there should be mediums of exchange that aren't government-sponsored will adopt both cryptos and gold.
Second, we saw how the distributed ledger could make the inefficiencies of the gold trade go away, to the benefit of all users.
Third, we saw a circumstance where there was a proliferation of crypto products that were in and of themselves faith-based currencies, floating abstraction. Dogecoin is an example that started off as a joke, and then got a bid.
We believe that using the distributed ledger technology to make gold trading more effective was something that the market wanted, and secondly a logical extension of the Sprott brand, which is in some investors' minds synonymous with precious metals. We already manage well in excess of $4 billion in exchange-traded precious metals on the New York Stock Exchange, and thought an extension of our brand to a crypto product was a logical thing to do.
What was holding us back was the technological capability internally to cause that to occur, and when IEX [Investors Exchange] – the sort of flash boys guys – came into the equation and in fact approached us about being their partner in enabling distributed ledger and blockchain technologies in gold, that was just an offer too good to pass up.