With news like this recovery story coming from the UK, paper currency and digital cryptocurrency don’t stand a chance…
Paper sunk at the bottom of the sea will not survive 100 years, nor will a flash drive cryptocurrency hard wallet, notwithstanding the fact that the micro-processing technology would be obsolete 100 years later regardless.
Here’s a story fresh from The Guardian:
Salvage firm hopes to net gold worth £125bn sunk by German U-boats
Britannia’s Gold aiming to cash in on two decades of painstaking research into location and cargo of lost ships
Britannia’s Gold, a UK firm that has spent 25 years analysing cargo lost at sea, will set sail in secret from an unannounced port to explore the first cluster of shipwrecks it hopes will yield treasure.
If successful, the loot will be taken to a secure location, from which the company will negotiate a price with the UK government for its return.
It takes years and year and years of time and effort to research something that may or may not be a goldmine. There is also vast amounts of energy used in the exploration. And we are talking about precious metals sunk in both WWI and WWII. The story continues:
The company plans to explore dozens of shipwrecks stretching from the north Atlantic to the Caribbean, believing it can recover around 2,000 tonnes of bounty.
Will Carrier, operational director of Britannia’s Gold, said the company had an unrivalled opportunity thanks to painstaking analysis of insurance records discovered by one of its senior researchers.
“He came across a document written by an adviser to wartime chancellor of the exchequer Reginald McKenna, in amongst a box of last will and testaments of deceased sailors.
Two thousand tonnes. That is not an arbitrary number, it is a very large number. If one is to believe “official” gold reserves numbers, then only five countries in the world hold more than 2000 tonnes each. In other words, gold that has been sitting and the bottom of the ocean for 100 years can be cast into new bars and coins (although the coolness factor of sunken gold treasure is nearly priceless) and it will be as good as when it was originally mined and cast.
Although reading between the lines, if the UK is looking to get 2000 tonnes of gold over time, they could use that gold to supply the insatiable global appetite for gold.
Most of the precious metal was gold or silver being moved to the US to pay for the war effort, or to parts of the British empire, mainly from Glasgow and Liverpool.
Many of these ships were sunk by German U-boats lying in wait in shallow waters off Ireland as they tried to choke off the UK’s ability to import and export.
The first stage of the salvage effort will see Britannia’s Gold deploy a vessel with state-of-the-art technology that allows it to stay in position above the wrecks.
There, its staff will analyse data sent to the surface by a remotely operated vehicle, which will explore wrecks at depths of up to 5,500m to determine the position of valuable material.
Britannia’s Gold, has already raised money from private investors and its own directors but is seeking further investment via crowdfunding business Angel EQT, in an effort to raise the £8m it needs for the first salvage mission.
Several points there. Gold and silver were (and are) money. Period. They were used to pay for the war effort. Exactly. Another point is that it is very expensive to and painstakingly slow to get to even the first ship they are trying to explore. After an undisclosed amount of private investment, the team still needs another 8,000,000 British Pounds just to begin the exploration – and there is no guarantee that this is the final costs to retrieve the gold which may not even be there, or if it is, not even be retrievable.
The firm will also have to tread a careful path with the government, which is technically the rightful owner of the cargoes.
It would be obliged to hand any cargo brought into British waters over to a government official known as the Receiver of Wreck, unless it negotiates an alternative arrangement first.
That means it will have to land the cargo elsewhere and agree a split with the government before it returns to British waters.
Of course the government wants to get it’s hands in the cookie jar, and The Guardian leaves no room for interpretation that the British government is the “rightful owner” of the gold.
Nonetheless, there’s no way that paper currency or Bitcoin would ever be able to compete with the timelessness, rugged durability, and high stakes demand that gold and silver offer.