Founders: Douglas Jackson, Barry Downey
Industry: Digital Currency
Year Founded: 1996
Year Defunct: 2014
E-gold was founded by oncologist Douglas Jackson and attorney Barry Downey in 1996. The pair originally backed the services accounts with gold coins stored in a bank safe deposit box in Melbourne, Florida. By 1998, G&SR (the system operator) was an Affiliate Member of NACHA and a Full Member of NACHA's The Internet Council. E-gold was a digital gold currency operated by Gold & Silver Reserve Inc. (G&SR) under e-gold Ltd. that allowed users to open an account on their web site denominated in grams of gold (or other precious metals) and the ability to make instant transfers of value ("spends") to other e-gold accounts. The e-gold system was launched online in 1996 and had grown to five million accounts by 2009, when transfers were suspended due to legal issues. At its peak in 2006, e-gold was processing more than US$2 billion worth of spends per year, on a monetary base of only US$71 million worth of gold (~3.5 metric tonnes), indicating a high monetary turnover (velocity) of about 28 times per year (for comparison, annual velocity of US$ is about 6 for M1 and less than 1.6 for M2.
The company was launched two years before PayPal but did not manifest exponential growth until 2000. By 2004, there were over a million accounts. It was the first successful digital currency system to gain a widespread user base and merchant adoption, noted July 13, 1999 in the Financial Times as “the only electronic currency that has achieved critical mass on the web”. It was also the first non-credit-card payment service provider to offer an application programming interface (API) enabling other services and e-commerce transactions to be built on top of it.
After initial demonstration of an e-gold Spend via Palm Pilot in February 1999, e-gold introduced support for wireless mobile payments. E-gold was used by both individuals and merchants for services including metals trading, online merchants, online auctions, online casinos, political organizations, and non-profit organizations.
From 1996 through 1999, currency exchange services referred to as “InExchange” and “OutExchange” were directly supported on the e-gold platform. This arrangement exposed the system’s operator, G&SR, to the financial risks attendant to provision of exchange services. It also tended to inhibit third parties from offering exchange services on an independent competitive basis.
E-gold's early success may have contributed to its demise. E-gold's store of value and large user base made it an early target of financial malware and phishing scams by increasingly organized criminal syndicates. The first known phishing attack against a financial institution was made against members of the e-gold mailing list in June 2001. The technique was refined with attacks against the digital gold systems like e-gold and later used to attack other financial institutions starting in 2003.
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.: Classic fit
.: 100% Soft cotton (fibre content may vary for different colors)
.: Light fabric (5.2 oz /yd² (176 g/m²))
.: Tear away label
.: Runs true to size