Renowned cryptographer Philip Zimmermann, who moved his smartphone encryption firm Silent Circle to Switzerland four years ago, has signed up to the metals-backed crypto Tiberius Coin venture as chief science and security officer.
Zimmermann, who was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society in 2012, came to Switzerland to further develop his anti-snooping Blackphone away from invasive surveillance techniques in his native United Statesexternal link. He is also known for inventing the Pretty Good Privacy email encryption system in the early 1990s.
At Tiberius Coin, Zimmermann will be responsible for overseeing smart contract security.
Tiberius coinexternal link presents something of a departure from the projects he is most closely associated with. Developed by Zug-based commodities investment group Tiberius Asset Management, Tiberius Coin (T-Coin) is a crypto token backed by a basket of metal assets that aims to reduce the type of price volatility associated with other cryptos, such as bitcoin.
T-Coin comes in three ‘flavours’: those backed by metals used in technology (copper, tin), electric vehicles (cobalt, nickel, aluminum) and the precious metals (gold, platinum, palladium). According to Tiberius Groupexternal link CEO Christoph Eibl, the relatively predictable price range in which these metals trade will provide a stable foundation for the token.
Coffee for Copper
The asset-backed tokens could be used either to trade metals or for a wide range of other purposes. “You could buy your coffee with 20 grams of copper. Blockchain technology would enable you to use metals as a means of payment, which is nothing other than what we have seen hundreds of years ago, which is called bartering – goods for goods,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Markets.
Eibl plans to launch T-Coin later this year with the intention of having it listed on exchanges by November.
Following the wild price fluctuations of bitcoin and other crypto assets last year, so-called ‘stable coins’ are currently in vogue. The price of a single bitcoin rose from around $1,000 at the start of 2017 to $20,000 in December, before dropping down to under $7,000 now. Such volatility makes it impractical at the moment to use bitcoin as an everyday currency.
Other tokens are being produced that are backed by gold, diamonds, oil and even real estate. But T-Coin believes it will have the edge by providing a wide basket of metals to increase price stability. There are currently well over a thousand ‘altcoin’ tokens in existence of all shapes and sizes.