Ashraf Rizvi, Founder & CEO of Gilded tells TechGraph, “We are in a digital-first economy where investors’ perspective towards gold, or for that matter, any asset class, is slowly but surely shifting to a digital model.”
Read the interview here:
Could you help give a sense of how far Gilded has come since its existence? From when it began to where it is now?
Ashraf Rizvi: I started Gilded with the objective of democratizing gold ownership and not relying solely on fiat currencies for financial safety. We have achieved that goal by creating a 100 percent digital platform that allows investors to seamlessly purchase real 999.9 pure gold with just a few clicks or taps on their laptop or smartphone.
Gilded has successfully established a solution that bypasses the typically cumbersome steps attached to buying real gold on the open market. Our processes are completely transparent; we offer our investors the best rates and purest quality of gold since we procure it directly from the Swiss refineries and store it for you in wholly secured vaults. Once purchased, the property belongs to the owner, and they can do as they please with it.
I am a strong advocate for holding gold in a well-diversified portfolio, as gold has historically offered great value over a long period. Gold is held and accepted by almost all governments globally, making it trusted and stable, unlike other assets. Our effort is to take this precious commodity and make it available to as many people as possible and help them in their financial journey.
How is Gilded utilizing its sectoral expertise and digitalization to solve the unsolved financial gap?
Ashraf Rizvi: Gold has been an integral part of Indian culture for a long time and will continue to remain so, given its history, store of value, and religious and cultural significance. Gilded might seem to have a millennial-centric approach due to the digital and technological aspects.
Still, since we are making the ownership of a traditional asset like gold easier, it also has an appeal for the older generations. With the rising wave of wealth-tech, the older generations are also becoming accustomed to digital investments, and we believe this will continue to support our business expansion.
Talking about the core gold business, what is the AUM growth that you are targeting for FY 22-23?
Ashraf Rizvi: Looking at FY 22-23, We expect considerable growth in several key geographic areas. Steady growth is expected in the United States and the Middle East region due to successful partnerships in the B2B and B2B2C sector. We worked tirelessly to secure these partnerships by demonstrating its value proposition as an authority in digital solutions for gold.
We are hopeful that the AuM growth for the 22-23 fiscal year will match its expectations through meeting its marks and executing initiatives as we branch out in these identified regions.
How is Gilded leveraging technology to enhance the customer experience?
Ashraf Rizvi: Gold has always been an integral part of Indian culture and has existed for thousands of years. Today, in a fast-evolving world driven by digital disruption and COVID protocols, how we consume products, services and information has also changed.
We are in a digital-first economy where investors’ perspective towards gold, or for that matter, any asset class, is slowly but surely shifting to a digital model. The marriage of trust in gold with the convenience of technology will only make this asset even more valuable and popular in the eyes of digital natives.
What are the new trends in the gold industry?
Ashraf Rizvi: We are already seeing a significant shift towards digital in almost all aspects of life due to Gen Z being more comfortable with it as digital natives. In the coming years, we expect the wave of wealth–tech platforms to rise exponentially as the younger generations expect technological innovations to empower them with control and autonomy over their financial decisions.
Hence, we intend to tap into this emerging trend by marrying new-age technology like blockchain with an asset as traditional as gold. The ease of a wealth-tech app, the possibility of fractional investments, and the availability of information such as live gold prices will provide an experience to Gen Z that they are usually drawn to.
As more and more investors and businesses become attuned to how their money can advance or obstruct the causes they care about, sustainable investing is anticipated to become increasingly popular. Individuals can now opt to invest in gold untethered to harmful practices on an environmental and social level.
Eco-friendly gold, ethical gold, recycled gold, and sustainable gold are attainable depending on the gold provider. Because the term sustainable relates explicitly to practices that do not inhibit future generations in any way, not all eco-friendly, recycled, or ethical gold can be considered sustainable. However, depending on the investor’s preferences, they can choose which gold aligns with their principles.
What are the tools and technologies to redefine the way of making investments in gold in the new normal?
Ashraf Rizvi: Blockchain is one of the most interesting new technologies to be introduced in our society. In its simplest form, blockchain is a database, and, as with other databases, it collects and stores information electronically in a digital format.
Gilded uses the open-source Hyperledger Fabric enterprise platform, initially created by IBM, as the private permissioned blockchain that records ownership of the physical gold stored for Gilded clients within Brink’s vaults. It is not a cryptocurrency and has no requirements for consensus, heavy computing power, or potential reward requirements.
Gilded transforms gold ownership by creating a digital record for a physical asset. Ownership can transfer instantly, around the clock, without the requirement of moving the physical gold bar; instead, the digital record tracks the movement of value. This transforms gold from a store of value into a medium of exchange and a true alternative to cash. Gilded is using blockchain to make gold digital, mobile and usable as a new and improved store of value for the 21st century.
What is your position when it comes to liquidity?
Ashraf Rizvi: India has always favored gold in times of crisis. When you sell your physical gold, you must go to the store and then get its authenticity checked, and even after all this, they offer lower than market rates, i.e., a lower selling price than the purchase price. Digital gold, unlike traditionally held physical gold bars or coins, can be sold easily, right within the same solution in which it was purchased.
This shows that you not only buy hassle-free but also sell hassle-free. Investments and income should be planned well and in advance to ensure the investor or the family never face financial hardship serious enough to fall back on their invested gold. However, digital gold is generally considered an easier and more convenient sell if the situation arises.
What are the new plans in the pipeline?
Ashraf Rizvi: In alignment with Our new goals as a company, we have made several changes to our overall infrastructure that is now evident and public-facing. The most significant update of late is our entirely revamped website. We felt that a major overhaul of our company website was paramount to emphasize our new overall goals as a financial service.
Our new website offers full comprehensive descriptions and insights on our current offerings, plus a well of knowledge related to all things digital gold education.
In addition, prospective clients can learn more about Gilded as a company—our story, our team, and our ethos as a brand. We couldn’t be more excited with the announcement of this launch. We feel our new and improved website does a magnificent job capturing our company’s culture and collective goals as a digital gold platform. You can find solutions for Financial Advisors, Family Offices, Individuals, and Institutional Investors.