Goldcorp deposits 3,000 ounces of gold in blockchain 'milestone'

TORONTO (Reuters) - Goldcorp Inc made the first gold deposit on Tradewind Markets’ new digitized trading platform, the companies said on Thursday, with 3,000 ounces of bullion from its Red Lake mine complex in Ontario.

As old-school gold trading increasingly moves into the digital era, the deposit represents a “milestone” as the genesis block, or first step in the blockchain on Tradewind’s newly launched VaultChain, the companies said.

“The combination of blockchain and gold is really the first way for investors to directly own gold in a financial instrument with no ongoing administration and storage costs...that eat away at the value of the gold that you own,” Goldcorp vice president, David Stephens, told Reuters.

“We think that can have a big impact on the institutional market for gold investment.”

New York-based Tradewind uses blockchain, a tamper-proof shared ledger that can automatically process and settle transactions using computer algorithms, as part of a system tailored to precious metals that securely identifies participants, registers gold and settles transactions.

Financially backed and spun off from U.S. stock exchange operator IEX Group, Tradewind says the current gold market takes too long to settle trades, gives an opaque ownership record and has potential for errors that require manual reconciliation.

Other gold blockchain services for trade and supply chain tracking have been developed, including the recent partnership of California’s Emergent Technology Holdings with Canadian miner Yamana Gold.

Goldcorp said its deposit is the first to use blockchain in the recording and managing of gold in an institution. The Vancouver-based company said it will use VaultChain to directly sell gold to dealers and banks and work with Tradewind to add new services.

“There’s now a base from which gold is digitized and that creates all kinds of opportunities for increases in the usage of gold,” Stephens said. “Anything that gives gold more utility has to be beneficial for the price.”

Tradewind, whose investors include Goldcorp and investment firm Sprott Inc, will store gold at the Royal Canadian Mint.

“We believe that our technology will enable gold producers like Goldcorp to overcome existing limitations and move into the electronic age,” said Tradewind President Matt Trudeau in a statement.

Blockchain is currently used in the diamond industry and planned for cobalt mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Diamonds get digital fingerprints that are tracked by blockchain as gems are sold, providing a forgery-proof record of the gems’ origin.

Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Bernadette Baum