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He Said What? Gold Is a Useless Metal?

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A couple of days ago, CNBC commentator Jim Leventhal made a pretty astounding comment. When asked about gold, Leventhal said he had no interest in it because gold has no uses as a metal.

No uses?

What?

Peter mentioned Leventhal’s comments on his podcast last Friday. Peter conceded that Leventhal is a smart guy. He has a degree in molecular biology from Princeton, an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, and he’s a CFA.

This guy has got a mind. Yet he knows nothing about one thing and that’s gold … I’m like, “What?” Gold has no uses as a metal? I mean, as a matter of fact, gold has more uses than any other metal on the planet. It is the most useful metal that exists. If you don’t believe me, just Google it yourself and you’ll find out. And yet, this guy doesn’t think it has any uses as a metal.”

Peter pointed out that gold would be used in even more things if it wasn’t so expensive.

Just about any metal that’s used for anything, if you used gold, it would do it better. But the reason that they substitute lesser quality metals is because gold is so much more expensive. So sometimes, even though gold is better, it’s not enough better to where it’s worth the extra cost. But sometimes it’s so much better that you need to pay the extra cost and then you use it.”

We’ve reported extensively on the use of gold in technology and healthcare. In fact, there have been two new medical-related uses for gold reported in just the last few weeks.

According to AsianScientist Magazine, scientists in from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a promising anti-malaria drug. Researches created a class of gold-containing molecules that impair the malaria parasite’s metabolic function, leading to parasite death. This new drug is even effective against strains of malaria that have developed resistance to traditional anti-malarial drugs.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Queensland have developed a universal cancer test that just takes 10 minutes and requires nothing more than a mobile phone.  According to Forbes, scientists discovered a unique DNA structure that appears to be present in all types of cancer cells, including those from breast, prostate, colorectal and lymphoma.

Researchers say they don’t know if they have discovered the “holy grail” for all cancer diagnostics, but they do think this DNA structure could be a universal marker for cancer.

We designed a simple test using gold nanoparticles that instantly change color to determine if the 3D nanostructures of cancer DNA are present. This led to the creation of inexpensive and portable detection devices that could eventually be used as a diagnostic tool, possibly with a mobile phone.”

These are just two of many recent healthcare breakthroughs using gold. Some of them are quite amazing. For instance, last year, a team of Chinese researchers announced they were able to partially restored the sight of blind mice by replacing their deteriorated photoreceptors – sensory structures inside the eye that respond to light – with nano-wires made of gold and titanium.

And healthcare isn’t the only sector using gold. We also see a growing number uses of the yellow metal in electronics, computers and other high-tech applications.

In fact, demand for gold in tech applications grew for the eighth consecutive quarter in Q3 2018. Over the past decade, the tech sector accounted for more than 380 tons of gold demand annually. That’s 13% ahead of central bank purchases during the same time period.

So, to say gold “has no uses as a metal” is simply absurd.

Peter said this mentality stems from a general disdain for the yellow metal in the mainstream investing world.

People who are professional money managers, that go to the Wharton School and are CFA’s and that are in the industry for so long, they are basically taught, it is drummed into their head, that gold is this awful investment, that’s it’s nobody buys gold. It’s just your gloom and doomers, and guys with tinfoil hats. They’re the conspiracy theory nutjobs. I mean, no real money manager would ever buy any gold, right? And so they have such a negative opinion of gold that it actually goes to the extremes. Not only do they think gold is useless as an investment, they think it is also useless as a metal. I mean, they think it has absolutely no value whatsoever.”

These may be smart people. They may know a lot about a lot. But when it comes to gold, they’re really pretty ignorant.

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