Last week, we noticed Fox News discussing the possibility of gold making a comeback as an everyday currency. Not the return of the gold standard, or investing in gold, but gold in your pocket, used to buy groceries or tip bartenders. You see, a quick switch back to the gold standard might be improbable, host Stuart Varney said, but what about the “creeping use of gold as a medium of exchange?”
One point of evidence that Varney pointed to in support of his pet theory is the impending arrival of gold vending machines to U.S. shores. Gold vending machines? Varney must have been referring to Gold to Go, gilded contraptions made by a German company named Ex Oriente Lux AG.
Gold to Go machines (tagline: The gold ATM) are currently operating in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Arab Emirates. Reuters reported in September that the company plans to issue machines in Florida and Las Vegas soon, and Thomas Geissler, chief executive of Ex Oriente Lux, says the company hopes to issue a “couple of hundred” machines this year.
“Times are changing. We’re keeping pace and going a step ahead. GOLD to go® has developed the world’s first gold vending machine,” the company’s website reads. In this globalized, always connected, 24/7 world, who has time to wait around for bullion shipments anymore?
The standard Gold to Go machine dispenses gold bars ranging in weight from 1 gram to 1 ounce, as well as South African Krugerrands, Australian Kangaroos and Canadian Maple Leaf coins. All are dispensed in “in a precious gift box.” And “alternative product portfolio” is also possible for individual locations.
What about security? Not to worry, as a Gold to Go ATM is “largely burglar-proof and tamper-resistant,” plus comes equipped with “money-laundering and smurfing protection.” And consumers know they are getting good value because the machines have a “10-minute update frequency” on their product pricing. One simply has to navigate the 19-inch touch-screen, select a product out of the windowed showcase and then make the purchase with bills, coins or credit/debit cards.
So kiss that crinkly paper and those jingly coins goodbye, Gold to Go is sure to take the country (nay, the world) by storm.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com