What is wonderfully surprising is the spontaneous emergence of a pure gold currency in a remote region of southeastern Venezuela around the towns of Tumeremo and El Callao. The region abounds with precious metal ores and has a long history of luring prospectors and miners seeking their fortunes. Today, however, many of the larger mines are controlled by the government military, which is battling local gangs and guerillas. Despite the violence and lawlessness, jobless Venezuelans from far and wide are flooding into the area to work in thriving illegal mines in exchange for payment in gold nuggets. As a result, gold flakes, which are peeled off raw nuggets with hand tools, have become the currency of choice in the region with prices for commodities and services quoted in grams of gold. Half a gold gram buys you a one-night stay in a local hotel, while a meal for two at a Chinese restaurant and a haircut will cost you a quarter of a gram and an eighth of a gram, respectively. The gold flakes are carried in people’s pockets—usually wrapped in the nearly worthless bolivar notes. While some shops are equipped with scales to weigh the gold flakes, most sellers and their customers have become so familiar with the flakes that they evaluate them by sight. For example, the barber and his customer who transacted for the haircut agreed that three gold flakes equaled the one-eighth gram price (approximately $5.00). Gold is also starting to penetrate the nearby cities, such as the regional capital Ciudad Bolivar, as stores in shopping malls gladly accept the gold in exchange for dollars from miners who are seeking to cash out.
Joseph T. Salerno
October 28, 2021
Venezuelans Turn to Gold Nuggets as the Local Currency Implodes
[From reading the article you can see how the use of other precious metals would also be a useful currency as well. Brass, steel, and copper jacketed lead would seem to be quite useful in getting and maintaining access to the mines and protecting private mints.
This may be coming soon to a country near you. Prepare appropriately.—Joe]