BY TOM JACKSON
South African fintech startup Troygold, which enables gold owners to digitise physical gold and use it for day-to-day transactions via a mobile app and gold-backed Mastercard, already has over 5,00 users across its two markets – South Africa and Singapore.
Founded in 2018 by brothers Bastiat and Dane Viljoen, Troygold digitises 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 digitised 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 digitises 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, which in April announced it had raised an undisclosed round of investment from Crossfin Ventures to help it scale, already has over 5,000 users thus far across South Africa and Singapore, achieved fairly organically.
“Troygold’s mission is to solve the access and liquidity problems of owning physical gold. We’re building the financial tools to allow gold, history’s oldest form of money, to function alongside fiat currencies in the modern financial system,” Bastiat Viljoen told Disrupt Africa.
“Globally, fiat currencies are being debased and enormous liquidity injected into the market by central banks worldwide – effectively, the world has become dependent on a debt-based, paper financial system. The market has been looking for alternative stores of value, as has been seen in the recent rise of cryptocurrencies. Similarly, we decided to respond to the market demand by building the digital rails for history’s oldest form of money – gold.”
Innovative global companies like Glint, Goldmoney, andOneGold have led the charge on the digitisation of gold globally, and Troygold is doing the same in emerging markets. Backed by family and friends, then a family office, prior to the Crossfin round, Troygold is now working on expanding its offering further afield.
“We’ve set up the infrastructure to expand into the US in 2022, but will be looking to raise a USD cheque before such an expansion,” he said.
The startup charges a monthly account fee based on the account tier, and spreads income from gold sales and purchases. So far, it has made over US$4 million in revenue, a figure that is steadily growing.