South Africa: South African fintech startup Troygold, which enables gold owners to digitize physical gold and use it for day-to-day transactions via a mobile app and gold-backed Mastercard, has secured funding from Crossfin Ventures, the angel investment arm of Crossfin Technology Holdings.
Founded in 2018 by Dane and Bastiat Viljoen, Troygold digitizes gold bullion and Krugerrands and then allows customers to buy, sell, spend and borrow against their gold. Vaulted gold bars or coins with serial numbers are digitized via Troygold’s system, offering whole or fractional ownership.
Gold is directly allocated, and customers receive an ownership certificate showing which bar or coin and what serial number they own, as well as where it is stored. The company currently has storage facilities in Johannesburg and Singapore.
Troygold currently offers two options to customers – a free gold savings account that digitizes the customer’s gold stores of value, and a Mastercard-backed gold debit card that enables gold owners to purchase goods and services at any of the 40 million Mastercard-accepting stores worldwide.
The startup has now raised an undisclosed round of investment from Crossfin Ventures to help it scale. Crossfin’s portfolio companies currently process more than US$5 billion in point of sale transactions annually from over 152 million transactions across more than 20,000 retail stores and 38,500 clients.
Chief executive officer (CEO) Bastiat Viljoen said the ongoing volatility in the global financial system and the deteriorating value of fiat currency makes a strong argument for a return to gold-backed stores of value.
“Gold has a six thousand year track record as a safe store of value and is the only money that carries no counterparty risk. In a volatile world, gold offers a safe haven asset that always maintains value. However, most gold sits in the dark in vaults and safety deposit boxes, and we wanted to ‘light up’ that gold with utility and turn it into something gold owners can use for day-to-day transactions,” he said.
Crossfin Ventures chief operating officer Anton Gaylard said his firm was attracted to Troygold due to the strong team and powerful value proposition.
“Enabling a broader market to save and transact in fractions of gold was particularly appealing, especially since gold is a finite resource that has stood the test of time and is free from the uncertainty and volatility of fiat currency and cryptocurrency. Our objective for the investment is to leverage the complementary elements of the broader Crossfin portfolio and explore opportunities for expanded banking and financial services backed by gold,” he said.