The Wisdom of Simplicity

OWNx Team Global Finance and Economics, Money & Financial Technology

You can sense it, can’t you? Fatigue is setting in. The degree with which technology has changed the world in the last decade has been enormous. Yet a common refrain among our friends and family goes like this…

“If technology is supposed to save me all of this time, why do I feel like I have less of it to enjoy my friends and family?”

The answer seems obvious. The average American receives between 50 and 70 push notifications on their phone every day. This is hyperconnectivity to a world in which relationships are diluted; a world that is increasingly polarized in how to deal with a diverse set of socioeconomic challenges. It is fear of missing out on “the new thing.” It is technology owning our time — not liberating us to enjoy our lives.

And it’s not going to get better anytime soon. We are on the verge of a massive acceleration in global change due to new technologies coming online in areas ranging from robotics, to AI, to healthcare, to financial services. Few are prepared to deal with the adjustments humanity will need to make to accommodate this disruption.

So what is the answer?

Take control now. Make a conscious decision to ruthlessly eliminate anything that does not contribute to your economic, physical, spiritual, and relational health. That may be a tall order, however, those who make the choice today to prune all but the essentials in life will find themselves happier and more fulfilled in the years to come.

This may sound a little odd coming from a company that provides access to gold and silver. However, it is at the heart of why we do what we do. Smart. Simple. We believe that the need to live life with those two words in mind will emerge as a mega-trend of its own. It only makes sense, then, to apply them to how you manage your silver and gold investments.

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Silver: The Magic Metal

OWNx Team Gold & Silver Market, News & Current Events

Okay. It may be a bit of an exaggeration to call silver bullion a “magic” metal. However, in the age of high tech, there is little argument that it is one of the most versatile industrial metals. For decades it has been used in solar electric panels. It is used as an anti-bacterial in clothing. A tiny bit of silver is even used in every smartphone created today.

For decades there has been concern about the impact on your health from smartphone radiation. As new 5G technologies are deployed, your smartphone is going to be in an even more constant state of data exchange between them and their cell towers. That means more radiation.

Now, a French company claims that their silver ink passive antenna will protect you from smartphone radiation. They even have a handy-dandy little guide to help you perfectly place the silver patch in the exact spot on your phone for maximum protection. Now, whether or not you believe that smartphone radiation is a concern isn’t the point. What is interesting is that once again, silver bullion is the metal of choice to solve problems in high tech applications.

When the economy is humming along, as it is now, silver is consumed by industrial applications at a rapid clip. The Silver Institute is forecasting that green technologies alone will use 1.5 billion ounces of silver by 2030. That is why we have maintained our position that industrial applications for silver will put a floor under the market for the next two decades, and could send the price of silver much higher.

Silver bullion is often seen as playing second fiddle to gold bullion. When it comes to powering the future economy in a very practical way, however, silver wins hands down. Another reason why you might want to add to your own personal stack.

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Inertia Interrupted: New Megatrends Are Emerging

OWNx Team Global Finance and Economics, News & Current Events

Inertia is a powerful law of physics. A body in motion stays in motion until energy is applied in a new direction. It’s what we’ve experienced in the geopolitical and economic realm for decades. Momentum was building toward a world with ever-increasing centralized control and authority. National government’s power was expanded. Financial institutions became “too big to fail.” Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have become dominant players in retail, social media, and smartphones.

Then something happened. In Europe it was Brexit. In the Middle East it was the Arab Spring. In the United States it was the election of Donald Trump. Each of these were polarizing events; each in different areas of the world; each impacting different cultures. Together they have created enough energy to disrupt the momentum of centralism and much more. The principles of localism (making decisions in communities vs. national governments), separation of powers (check and balances), and jurisdiction (proper authority) are all storming back into the social conscience.

Citizens are questioning the wisdom of world leaders and re-examining their own beliefs about who should have the proper jurisdiction to make decisions that impact their states, provinces, territories, and local communities. You can feel the shift. It is not subtle. It has caused tension between those who embrace the disruption of inertia, and those who want to nudge the momentum back onto its previous course.

The question is, has the shift in momentum reached critical mass? Can the previous path be restored? Increasingly, the answer suggests that we are in a new era. Previous megatrends across social, economic, and geopolitical spheres cannot be restored. Instead, new megatrends will be defined over the next decade that will carry us well into the 21st century. It will take five to ten years at least to establish a stable path.

It is difficult to imagine the implications of this level of disruption, or to begin to quantify the impact. Both the short and long-term economic impact are in question. Analysis ranges from a new era of prosperity to a full-blown financial system meltdown. Who is right? What role does the emerging world of cryptocurrencies (real currencies, not ICO scams) and blockchain technology have in moving the needle toward either scenario? How will all of this impact the price of gold and the price of silver in the years ahead?

Reality is, you can find newsletter writers and analysts to echo back to you whatever outcome that you want. Unbiased–and accurate–analysis is rare because removing bias and seeing the world for what it is rather that what was is very difficult.

The new megatrends will be established upon a new set of guiding principles. The question is, will the principles for their foundation be idealistic and relative, or results-proven and immutable? At OWNx, we prefer the latter. However, we also understand that everyone has a limited sphere of jurisdiction. As such, we live by example. Our part in applying energy to the emerging megatrends is in how we treat our clients. It is in the tools we provide and in the partnerships we form.

Smart, simple access to physical gold and silver is just the beginning. We have our eye on the megatrends and are intentionally and diligently aligning with them where they align with the principles both we and our clients share. It’s going to be an interesting decade ahead.

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Decentralization is the New Mega-Trend

OWNx Team Money & Financial Technology, News & Current Events

One word you’ll hear a lot in the financial world is “decentralization.” We use it frequently and doubtless you’ve encountered it in other blog posts, podcasts, and books discussing the subject of money. But today, let’s dig a little deeper into what decentralization means, and look at some practical ways it is being implemented in our society.


To summarize, the concept of decentralization is the tendency and desire to gravitate away from larger, highly regulated entities toward smaller entities that allow for more individual freedom. Merriam Webster defines it as: “the dispersion or distribution of functions and powers.”

Certainly this concept applies to the financial system, but it is also interesting to note the trend of decentralization across other areas of our lives, and the practical steps that have been taken to implement it.


Centralized entities are prevalent throughout our society, from social media platforms, to large businesses, to educational insitutitions, news media, and beyond. Until recently, these entities were growing at an incredible pace. So what has caused their growth to slow?

Let’s look at Facebook, for example. The largest social media platform in the world has recently undergone a rather steep decline in use and growth. There are several reasons for this, including:

  • Ads – Users are tired of having their Facebook feeds spammed with ads they did not opt in to see. This has resulted in lower engagement for businesses on the platform, and even paid ads aren’t getting the reach they used to due to changes in the FB algorithm.
  • The Algorithm – Many users don’t like the fact that the Facebook algorithm changes constantly and heavily filters which posts they see in their feed, limiting their connection with family, friends, and news sources they actually want to hear from.

These are aspects of centralization and high concentration of power (to say nothing of the recent privacy debacle), and people are gravitating away from the platform toward others that allow for more individual freedom, such as Instagram and MeWe.

Another example of decentralization in action is found in the dramatic increase in the small business survival rate. Increasingly, consumers are moving away from larger entities, and channeling that support toward smaller local companies whom they have a stronger relational connection with. In this digital age, personal touch matters more than ever.

Similar shifts are occurring in the spheres of media, education, and government. There is no question, decentralization is on the rise, with people taking action to implement it in their own daily lives.


This brings us back to the issue of money and the financial system. Unlike many other spheres, financial institutions have been steeped in the centralization of big banks for longer than anyone can remember, making solutions to the problem much more hazy and uncertain.

Without a doubt, the monetary system is also moving towards decentralization, as we have seen with the crypto craze. However, at this time no one is quite sure what a decentralized monetary eco-system will look like.

In some cases, the surrounding confusion can lead to paralysis, as people are uncertain of how to proceed and whom to trust. Some were burned by volatility in the crypto market. Others simply aren’t sure where to start when it comes to protecting their wealth and savings as the investment landscape begins to shift.


In times of uncertainty, the stability of gold and silver provides a way to apply the concept of decentralization to your investments. Owning them allows you to:

  • Protect your wealth
  • Build your savings
  • Secure your investments in proven, tangible assets

Our platform puts control in your hands. You have the power to choose when and how you want to save and invest, and where you want your assets stored. This flexibility allows you to operate outside of larger entities without depending on them for your financial security.

Despite the foggy horizon regarding the future of the monetary system, you can rest assured knowing you own assets that have been proven throughout history to protect against times exactly like these.

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Centralization vs. Decentralization: The Battle is Underway

OWNx Team News & Current Events

Right now we are witnessing an epic battle between two competing principles – centralization and decentralization of systems that influence our culture. Let’s look at two examples and how they are creating major cross currents in the world today.

The Global Monetary System

For several hundred years, the world’s monetary system has trended toward increased centralization. So much so that today, money creation and management around the world is concentrated in the hands of national governments or privileged, monolithic entities that have central government approval. Within the last fifty years, further consolidation has occured as the Euro currency displaced the currencies of previously sovereign nation states.

The rules by which currency exchange is conducted are written by those who control the flow of funds. This exposes a little known reality – money at its core is not an item, such as a Euro, dollar, gold, or silver. Rather, it is an agreement between the people in a community (in this case, nation states) to use various items as a medium of exchange and store of value. Today, the contract is negotiated between nation states, and the system they have designed requires moving every person’s assets through a highly controlled and efficient system.


In the last decade, there has been an explosion of avenues for people all over the world to directly share their views with one another. A person in Africa has immediate access to the “feed” of people they are connected with in the Americas and vice versa. Ideas about how the world should be ordered are exchanged at the speed of light. Decentralization of how ideas and concepts are birthed lies in direct contrast to the system of money that gives resources to the world economy, which can bring those ideas and concepts into reality.

Decentralization is Winning

This tension between principles is playing out in the marketplace today. Not satisfied with the existing system of control over resources, those who are collaborating in cyberspace about how the world should be governed are turning to another source – cryptocurrencies and decentralized trade of the ownership of assets.

The marketplace of ideas is making a statement. Decentralization is favored over centralization. The decades-long domination of mainstream media is dying as social media continues to grow. Now, the centuries-long domination by the global monetary system is being challenged by cryptocurrencies and micro-loans.

The trend toward global decentralization reaches far beyond economics. It is producing a massive global culture shift with implications that have yet to be fully understood, and are not likely to be entirely manifest for another decade or more. While not in the prediction business, we can offer an observation. In the future, real, tangible items such as gold and silver will become more important to a wider group of people. Not just because of the likely volatility that will accompany the transition to a decentralized, technology-based world. But also because, like a cold drink of water on a hot day, they remind us that we are still real, physical beings in need connection to a physical world.

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What Does the End of Cryptomania Mean for Gold and Silver?

OWNx Team Cryptocurrencies, Gold & Silver Market

Now that the cryptocurrency world is well established on a glide path into the trough of disillusionment, it’s time to reflect on what that means. First of all, it means the hype that “Bitcoin will replace ___________” (fill in the blank with your favorite entity/item that Bitcoin was supposed to bring an end to) has died down. It also means that the hype surrounding the blockchain (again, fill in the blank for what it might replace) is also coming to grips with real world applications and limitations.

In the ashes of the trough of disillusionment, hundreds, if not thousands of start-up projects will fail. Scammers will be sent packing. These are necessary and good things which will give birth to an environment that will produce solutions based on reality instead of hype.

Fresh innovation will spring from the newly discovered zone of reality. Limitations will be solved, or new iterations of distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrencies will move the sector onto a new plane. The mad scramble of cool ideas backed by easy money will settle into a rhythm of building systems that are not just viable to launch (most ICOs), but are sustainable over the long-term.

That means a whole lot of people who were in their venture capital/ICO funded silos will have to emerge and form partnerships to, as we wrote about in February, begin the real work. We won’t see the full fruit of these partnerships for months, if not years. Google, Netflix, and Apple did not arise from the 2001 tech bust in 2002. Or 2003. Or 2004.

Furthermore, the world at the time was ready for tech giants to emerge. We’re not so sure that is the case in 2018. When it comes to something as important as money and monetary systems, it appears that the people of the world are not going to be satisfied with the big banks absorbing and monopolizing financial technology.

More likely is that over the coming years, we will witness the birth and baby steps of a new monetary eco-system. It will begin as an awkward dance with the existing national currency systems. Friction will grow between those feeding this new system and those interested in maintaining their monopolies. However, like the internet in 2000, new and exciting ways to imagine the future of money have been unleashed.

That genie is not going back in the bottle.

2017 was a quiet year for the price of silver and gold. As the new monetary eco-system begins to take shape, we anticipate the price of gold and silver to become more volatile, albeit with an upward bias. As much as some of the crypto die-hards want to believe, the emerging monetary eco-system is not yet ready to be dominated by electronic digits as a store of value. We say “yet” because it still could happen someday… After the wild west is tamed by a period of harsh reality and new concepts of what money can be are more widely adopted.

Silver and gold bullion will continue to play a vital role in whatever emerges. That could take the form of crypto backing. Or, it could take the form of precious metals taking on more of a role as a store of value, and less as a medium of exchange. Financial technology does enable the mind-bending concept of separating those monetary functions into distinct monetary items. But that is a subject for another post.

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Gold IRA and Retirement Planning in the Age of Digital Everything

OWNx Team Money & Financial Technology, Retirement Planning

Technology is invading every aspect of our lives–including our finances. In a world where it seems like everything financial is being digitized, people are looking for a trusted link to physical reality. Opening a gold IRA as part of your retirement planning is one way to create that link.

Some of the primary principles of investing are: stability, sustainability, and longevity. Each of these requires time to develop a track record of results. Gold and silver have been part of the monetary system for 5,000 years of recorded history. They’ve existed since the planet was formed, and they will be here as long as it remains. They have a proven track record.

Meanwhile, digital assets such as cryptocurrencies have been in existence for just over a decade. As we now see, the present reality is that cryptos as a group are not a trusted asset class. Individual projects are promising, but even those lack the crucial ingredient that forms trust – long-term proven results based on measurable reality.

5,000 years vs. 10

Our position is clear. There is a place for the new digital financial world. It is important, however, to embrace it in a way that does not introduce unneeded complexity or risk. Our commitment therefore is to provide our clients with smart, simple tools that enable them to manage gold and silver as retirement investments.

When you buy gold and silver online within your IRA, you connect to both the past and the future like no other investment can. This connection can bring stability to your retirement portfolio as technology continues its relentless march through the financial world.

Curious about how easy this is? Click here to see the details, or call us at 800-701-3546 and ask for our IRA team. It really is smart and SIMPLE.

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Financial Technology – Delivery Delayed

OWNx Team Money & Financial Technology

The pace of change in the world of money and banking is crazy fast right now. Today, we want to focus on the word “crazy.”

Inevitably, when something new and exciting comes along that you want to be a part of, it is very, very (did I say very) tempting to jump in and be on that cutting edge of innovation. And to be sure, there are times when that is the appropriate strategy. Particularly if the innovation is a major shift within an existing industry.

However, when a completely new industry that has no proven, results-based track record of acceptance and sustainability, caution is warranted.

Such is the case with the dizzying innovation that is the current financial technology/cryptocurrency/blockchain/smart-contract/DLT revolution. We read daily that “this new technology” (a very broad and abstract description) is going to change the world.

Conceptually, it looks great. However, the innovation which is arguably ground zero in this fledgling industry – Bitcoin and the blockchain – is showing signs that it isn’t going to perform the function it was originally intended to perform. That is, to be another form of money.

It’s an Awesome Idea – But is it Sustainable?

Serious questions are being raised about the sustainability of Bitcoin–and even the underlying blockchain technology. It’s miners require enormous power consumption, and there are serious limits on the number of transactions per second the blockchain can reach in its present state. Furthermore, the cost per Bitcoin transaction has ballooned from just pennies to up to twenty dollars.

Apologists claim these problems can be overcome. We’ll see. However, one thing is becoming clear. We are still in the phase where the true, long-term capabilities and limitations of the blockchain are being discovered. The implications of those reality-based capabilities and limits will impact millions of people and thousands of businesses who have already invested heavily in both the technology and infrastructure.

Leave out startups who are developing new apps on the Bitcoin blockchain, many of which are expected to fail (that’s the nature of VC funded startups). The list of companies–large and small–that invested in infrastructure to accept Bitcoin as payment is significant. And they are finding that their investment was premature.

In the last few months, payment processor Stripe, gaming company Steam, and software giant Microsoft have announced they are no longer accepting Bitcoin as payment. Ironically, the Miami Bitcoin Conference will no longer accept payment in Bitcoin.

“Organizers of the North American Bitcoin Conference said Thursday that they’ll no longer take bitcoin as payment for the $1,000 tickets they’re selling. Turns out, the transaction fees and processing times associated with the volatile cryptocurrency are just too much of a burden.”

The Bottom Line

The Financial Technology revolution promised smart, simple solutions to the secure and private exchange of value between individuals. It hasn’t delivered. But that doesn’t mean it won’t.

In fact, we are confident that ten years from now, the world of money will be vastly different than it is today. However, gold and silver will always be a part of the monetary system. Building a way for you to interface with those solutions through the OWNx platform is our goal. Smart, simple access to gold and silver is just the beginning.

It’s going to take time to get it right. OWNx has provided clients with the ability to buy gold and silver online as titled, fractional ownership of physical bullion for nearly ten years now. We’re deliberate in our actions and patient in our strategy. Taking that to the next level and serving you over the next ten years is what we’re working on now. That’s what we owe you, and we intend to deliver.

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trough of disillusionment

Cryptos Enter The Trough of Disillusionment – Now the Work Begins

OWNx Team Cryptocurrencies

Our first post of this new year was just thirty days ago. Entitled “2018: The Year of the Crypto Hangover?” we introduced you to the hype cycle that impacts nearly every technological breakthrough–including cryptos and the blockchain.

What we are now witnessing is the beginning of the crypto market’s slide into “the trough of disillusionment.” It follows the peak of inflated expectations, which is when new technology is held out as the answer to all of mankind’s problems (hyperbole admitted).

But then reality rears its ugly head, and the markets react. Negative press begins in earnest. Doubts are cast on the viability of the technology and its promises. Yet that is when the real work begins.

The early pioneers in technology serve a useful purpose. They bring forth new ideas that humans have never before thought possible. It is rare, however, that implementation of the initial ideas end up being the “gold standard” – the ones that produce applications that truly transform society.

It’s in the trough of disillusionment that the hard questions are asked:

  • Is the original technology viable?
  • Are there limitations that everyone has overlooked (blockchain transaction scalability)?
  • Can those limitations be overcome?
  • Is it going to require a new iteration or evolution of the initial technology?
  • Is there a newer application of technology better suited to solve the problem?

Now we get to watch innovative companies ask and answer these questions. This is the time to take a deep breath and be patient. Terminology that has been loosely thrown around will now be cleaned up. Clarity will emerge, and the cream will rise to the top.

And that is what we are excited about.

Digital assets are here to stay. So are cryptocurrencies. So is digitized ownership of real assets such as silver and gold bullion (which we’ve been providing our clients for years). Those are all three very different things, yet over the last 12 months, they were a conflated mess. That’s about to change.

The slide into the trough of disillusionment began a bit earlier than we expected. It’s no fun for those who were on the front of the hype cycle curve. Yet 2018 and beyond will be an exciting time for those who have waited to build their solutions based on the answers to these hard questions. We’re on task. We’ve been asking those questions for months.

The answers are forthcoming. Now the work begins.

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Gold, Silver, Fiat, and Cryptocurrencies – Welcome to the Dance

OWNx Team Cryptocurrencies, Global Finance and Economics, Money & Financial Technology

A new monetary ecosystem is emerging. But you probably already knew that. What has yet to be determined is just how the historical forms of money are going to play together with the new kids in town.

Imagine if you were the owner of a dance studio that for decades had been churning out the most widely-acclaimed dance production in the city. It was made up mainly of traditional waltzes with an occasional polka number thrown in. While predictable, the audience was comfortable with the consistency of the experience.

Then one day, you’re told that you have to open your production to a new and more energetic form of dance. It is a combination of jazz and hip hop. Not only that, but few if any of your performing crew fully understand it, and nobody is very good at it. Oh – and the company owners are under pressure to choreograph a new production to be released in the not-too-distant future.

Welcome to the world monetary system.

National fiat currencies, along with traditional stalwarts of gold and silver (waltz and polka), are being asked to put on a world-class production that now must include a bevy of cryptocurrencies (jazz and hip-hop). Seasoned professionals must work alongside a mix of newcomers (solid projects) and some who have no business even being on the dance floor (ICO scams).

Meanwhile, the instructors (regulators) either are throwing their hands up and walking away, or are trying to control the newbies with rules they don’t understand or agree to. Some of the seasoned veterans on the team have abandoned the waltz, and are joining this exciting new dance that has yet to be defined.

I say again – Welcome to the world monetary system.

Related: Are Cryptos Money? Not Yet.

How Will This End?

There are several possible outcomes to such a situation:

The cast fights among each other and the instructors blow up the whole thing by getting heavy handed. Nobody comes to the show and the dance company folds. It is a decade before another company comes to town.

The new style completely confuses the traditional cast and they all quit, leaving the town to adjust to a completely new production – one that they aren’t sure if they like, and can’t see themselves getting comfortable with.

Or, the traditional cast, along with the instructors, take a deep breath and begin to speak some wisdom into the newbies. They shape a new production based on the experience and values and elegance of traditional waltzes, which brings a bit of order and sanity to what otherwise looks like chaos.

Frankly, the latter outcome seems most likely. Gold, silver, and national currencies will always have a place in the emerging monetary eco-system. The 5000 year history of gold and silver will anchor the new system to reality – both literally and figuratively. Governments will not give up their national currencies. It is unrealistic to expect them to. And the crypto world still has to figure out who can dance and who the pretenders are.

Just how much influence each style of dance has on the final production will depend a great deal on two primary factors:

1) How quickly (if at all) will the newbies kick the pretenders off the stage by themselves?

2)  If the instructors are called in to bring order, will it be the traditionalists, or open-minded realists who decide how to run the final production?

Definitely interesting dynamics in the world of money. Welcome to the dance.

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