Friday , 19 July 2024

The Relationship Between Precious Metals, Cryptocurrencies and Technology: What You Need To Know

What is the relationship between precious metals and technology now, and how will it change in the future?

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Precious metals in industrial technology

Gold’s main demand driver may be physical gold investment and jewellery, but around 8% of global gold demand went into technology in 2020, according to Statista. Gold can be found in many electronic devices as part of circuit boards, computer chips and connectors as it’s…highly conductive but doesn’t tarnish easily.

Platinum is also an invaluable industrial metal used in computers, medical treatments and in automotive applications, which account for the largest share of platinum production, as it is essential for reducing harmful diesel emissions in vehicles. Other industrial uses include as a chemical catalyst in glass products, including LCD screens, hard drives, laptops and pacemakers.

Palladium is also used in catalytic converters. It helps to reduce emissions from petrol and hybrid cars and is also used in electronics and dentistry to a lesser degree.

[Silver, however,] is the most diversely and widely used precious metal in an industrial setting…[accounting] for well over half of silver demand… Its antibacterial qualities are used in medical devices and procedures and silver’s conductivity is essential for semiconductors, RFID sensors, batteries, LED chips, electrical switches, solar panels and almost every device in production today.

Are precious metals being usurped by technology?

…Physical gold or other precious metals are a tangible store of value [but] alternative currencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, or digital tokens, which are a digital representation of value, are designed explicitly for existing only in the cyber realm. It has only been through new technologies, ironically underpinned by precious metals powering computers and displays worldwide, that cryptocurrencies have grown in value. Is their convenience undermining the value of physical metals, or can they co-exist inside and alongside digital technology?

Digital Currencies

…The key differentiating factor between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies is that the former does not rely on a central bank or single administrator overseeing the currency. Instead, it uses complex algorithms to create a decentralized digital ledger system that holds all the transactional information about the currency within it. This ‘democratization of currency was bitcoin’s central ethos when an anonymous person or group developed it in 2008…

149 Terrawatts of Power and Growing

#$$4$ Bitcoins are created through a process called mining. This involves an army of high-powered computers (nodes) working on a complex math problems. The volume of computing power now required is so vast its combined electricity usage is greater than the entire country of Pakistan. Energy consumption is becoming a genuine risk to the value of cryptocurrencies, alongside the hazards of a lack of regulation, with environmental advocates calling into question…their sustainability.

The Future of Investments

…Gold and silver have been mined for centuries, while bitcoin has been mined for just a decade. Both have their place in the armour of investments, satisfying risk-averse safe-haven investors  (precious metals) and risk-taking speculators (digital currencies).

Precious metals have enabled the technology revolution and the growth of digital currencies but their value has endured for thousands of years, and they won’t yet be usurped by the technology they helped to create.

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One comment

  1. With technological wizardry still in its infancy, I would expect precious metals to soar in scarcity, demand, price, value, and importance throughout this and future centuries if we’re smart enough to prevent politicians from dooming humans to start over again at about the Bronze Age.