Information: As Precious as Gold
In the United States and other economically advanced countries, we tend to take information for granted. With the proliferation of smartphones and ubiquitous data networks, we literally have information at our fingertips 24/7. But in less developed countries, that’s not the case. Information is as scarce and valuable as gold.
Slowly, but surely, that’s beginning to change as technology creeps into the furthest corners of the world. In Peru, a new company is using basic text messaging technology to help local gold miners.
Peru is home to some 150,000-200,000 “informal” artisanal miners. These laborers scrape out a living mining gold by hand on small concessions. They sell their metal to local buyers, and that’s where the problems can begin. Without knowing the current spot price of gold, miners can easily be tricked into accepting a lower price.
That’s where the North American startup Ulula comes in. The company offers a free service that provides miners with instant access to the current gold spot price via text message. All they have to do is text “oro,” meaning “gold” in Spanish, to a short code. In return, they get the current gold price in both US dollars and Peruvian sol. The messaging system went live in January.
According to the Financial Times, the company hopes to sign up 16,000 Peruvian miners to the service. While less than half the population has internet access, Peru’s statistics agency says 87% of homes have at least one mobile phone.
The service isn’t just about helping miners. A Canada-based non-profit group funded the project and hopes it will also improve the environment. A message aimed at raising awareness about the hazards associated with the use of toxic mercury comes along with the gold price. Miners often use the heavy metal to bind fragments of gold together before burning them. This releases the mercury into the air and leaves the gold behind. The process creates waste that often gets dumped into waterways.
Information is just as important for investors in developed countries as it is in places like Peru. And while it’s easy to come by in places like the US, it can still be difficult to get good data. We oftentimes suffer from information overload. With so much data at our fingertips, it can be hard to process it into a usable form.
At SchiffGold we have developed a platform to help streamline all of the information you need to buy gold and buy silver. With our interactive price charts, you can not only find the current live spot price for gold, silver, and platinum, you can also analyze historical prices, price ratios, and compare the relationship between metals with easily customizable charts.
We want you to have all the information you need to invest in precious metals. After all, information is precious, just like gold and silver.
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