Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chinese Bank introduces gold and silver coin ATMs

One of the objections we often hear to the Constitutional Tender Act is that it would force the States and their citizens to "buy silver and gold coins" and carry them around in their pockets all of the time. The only way to believe this, is if you believe that you have to "buy Federal Reserve Notes" and carry around hundreds or thousands of dollars in order to buy groceries, pay car payments, pay mortgages, etc.

Of course, you don't. You can use your debit card to pay almost anything nowadays. Bank computer programs automatically compute debits and credits; they can even automatically convert the cost of items from foreign currency to domestic currency, based on whatever the current market exchange rate is.

That's exactly what can be done by the banks under the Constitutional Tender Act's conversion formulas, as this story about getting gold and silver coins from ATMs in China proves. The unfortunate part of this story is that it falls into the modern trap of thinking that exchanging one form of currency -- fiat printed money -- for another form of currency -- gold and silver coins -- is the same as "buying gold or silver coins". If you go into a bank and exchange four $5 Federal Reserve Notes for a $20 Federal Reserve Note, did you just "buy an FRN"?

Of course not. If you exchange $25USD (U.S. Dollar) for $1SAE (Silver American Eagle), you aren't buying a once-ounce silver coin, you're exchanging American legal tender currency. And all you're doing at these Chinese ATMs is exchanging ¥268CNY (Chinese Yuan) for ¥10SP (Chinese Silver Panda) or other denominations -- you're not buying one-ounce silver coins, etc.

Regardless, this story once more shows how the ConTen Act could easily be implemented.

People in Beijing can now buy gold or silver coins at ATMs after the Beijing-based Hua Xia Bank introduced five of the machines earlier this month, according to Hong Kong's We Wei Po.

The bank installed the five machines at its branches across the city in Xidan, Fangzhuang, Zhongguancun, Dongdan and on Qingnian Road.

The ATMs look like ordinary teller machines but have an additional compartment to dispense the gold and silver coins. The machines currently offer panda souvenir gold or silver coins and Year of the Snake silver coin and plate sets.

A single 1-oz panda silver coin priced at 268 yuan (US$40) is the cheapest item available, while the panda gold coin set is the most expensive at 23,800 yuan (US$3,800).

Buyers can purchase the coins using their bank cards. After they place their orders using the machine's touchscreen, their payments are verified through bank card organization China UnionPay and they can pick up their purchased items through the opening on the lower part of the machine.

If they want to purchase more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,200) worth of items, they will first need to place their ID cards on the machine's sensor to verify their identity before the order can be placed, Wen Wei Po said.


1 comment:

  1. "I wonder if there is a press release or ministry announcement that you could refer us.