Benjamin Shaffer Podcast Transcript
Benjamin Shaffer joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.
Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of The Digital Executive Podcast.
Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Benjamin Shaffer. In 2019, a new gold product known as the Goldback was created. Benjamin was the one of the first to adopt it. It is a local currency system made from pure gold in spendable, interchangeable quantities.
Using a patented production process, Goldback effectively sets up a novel product in one of the oldest industries known to man. After being recognized as a local currency in Utah, many states began buying their own Goldback series. Currently there are five state series, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, and New Hampshire, and over 80 million United States dollars’ worth of Goldbacks in circulation.
Benjamin helped grow a company from an initial investment of 40,000 into one of the most bullish corporations in the United States. Benjamin Shaffer is an in-house legal counsel and contract manager for Goldback. He also works in community services, meeting the needs of their growing business network. As an attorney and as an intellectual and historian, Benjamin has studied political and economic philosophy for 20 years.
Brian Thomas: Well, good afternoon, Benjamin. Welcome to the show.
Benjamin Shaffer: Thank you for having me.
Brian Thomas: Absolutely appreciate you making the time jumping in here. I traversed the globe so far, 50 countries with podcasts.
But luckily today we’re only traversing probably a time zone or two you are being out of that Utah area. So, thank you again and Benjamin let’s jump in. Cause this is really exciting stuff. I love to talk about a DeFi, alternative currencies, crypto, et cetera. But we’re going to talk about Goldback today.
So jumping in here, you’ve got quite the career in law and asset management and entrepreneur. Now the creation of a whole alternative economy with Goldback. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?
Benjamin Shaffer: And I’m really inspired by having a system that works so much of what we experience in this world.
So much of what really matters are the things that we take for granted and the things we don’t think about. It’s like, it’s like if your car, if your car works and it’s dependable, you don’t have to think about it. It just gets you to work, but without it, or with a system that doesn’t work as well, all of a sudden everything falls apart.
Well, I. I’ve been really having a great time with Goldback. And really what I’ve been doing is throughout my career, even before Goldback, I was interested in finding a better way, not just not just a better product or a better career, a better way to do each thing because maybe it’s laziness, but if you find a better way to do it, you build a better mousetrap that they say the world will beat its path to your door because really just shaving off a few seconds here and there, shaving off or making a system so it’s more transparent or making a system so that it’s more honest, it changes everything.
And here’s a fun one. You traveled around the globe in Hong Kong, their, their subway system comes into the platform. So that if you’re coming into one of those stations where there’s a switch, you’re going from the blue line to the green line, for example the blue line will go on one side of the platform, the green line on the other, and then another story down.
It’ll be blue and green again. So that if you’re transferring from North to West, all you have to do is walk across the platform or from Southeast, all you gotta do is walk across the platform. You’ve made your exchange to the other thing and you’re off. What does that do? Saves just a few seconds for everybody who makes that exchange.
And the only people who have to trade platforms are the ones that have to actually switch to the less compatible direction, that change and simply looking, how can we save everyone a few seconds out of their day, for example. Actually, has saved the Hong Kong economy millions and millions of dollars every year so that over the lifetime of that system, you know, it might save you only a couple, a couple cents even maybe, or a buck of your time, but if they do that for the entire economy, it’s amazing how much that adds up. So a lot of times I think what really inspires me is finding a better way.
Brian Thomas: I love that. And that was a perfect example of finding a better way of giving back, helping society, making the world a better place. And along the way, we might save some money. And I really appreciate again, that example. So, Benjamin, you’ve had some early success due to some passion and a little bit of hard work.
Why did you think taking a risk to transition to working in precious metals was worth the gamble?
Benjamin Shaffer: You know, this was actually one of the questions that they asked me when I first started at Goldback the founding, the founding general counsel, his name is Larry Hilton. He’s another attorney like me and I had my own small law firm small successful law practice, just a couple of attorneys originally in Spanish Fork, Utah, and he’s like, why would you want to give up being the managing partner of a small law firm?
Just to be an employee of another company. And I’ll admit that that was a little bit hard. It was going from being the entrepreneur to just having to work for somebody else. I thought, why am I willing to give that up? And the reason I was willing to give it up, why I thought it was worth the gamble is because the Goldback is just so revolutionary.
I thought to myself, you know what, this is one of those technologies that really could upend and change the systems of the world as we know it. You know, everybody uses money, but very few of us think about what money is you know, well, money is the piece of paper in my pocket. Well, it’s not really that, I guess it’s my bank account balance.
Well, it’s not really that, maybe it’s payment processing systems. Well, it’s not really that, maybe it’s the federal reserve method of using that, the national debt to leverage treasury instruments. All that stuff is sort of true, but it’s all sort of only a partial answer. Money is the medium by which we create the exchanges in our economy.
Money also should be something of value. So, it has to be a measurement of value so that we can figure out how to measure things. And it has to be fungible. It has to be durable and transportable. And so that it doesn’t lose its value over time and all kinds of different functions, when I saw the gold back, I thought to myself, now here’s a system where if we could turn our monetary system, our economy into that.
Into the gold back instead of the U S dollar, I realized it would create transparency, it would create accountability. It would, it would have a whole different set of policies that would have to go around it in such a way that I felt like, now this is revolutionary. No one in the history of money, going back to the very first Greek King who said, why don’t we take these gold and silver nuggets and turn them into a coin?
Has done something as revolutionary for money as I think gold back has. And so I thought, you know what? If I can get into the ground floor, because it really was, it was right at the beginning of Goldback that I got involved. Maybe I can change the world with this. And if I can, I might be able to do more good than I’m doing as a lawyer in a small town.
Maybe I could really make a lasting difference for my community. And so, I felt like, you know what, so long as they’re willing to pay me a salary that’s as good as what I’m taking home with the law firm anyway. I’ll do it. And so, I asked Jeremy Corden, the inventor, I said, can you pay me as much money as I’m making, taking home at the law firm?
And he said, yeah, we’ll pay you that. We’ll give you some stock too. And so, I was like, all right, let’s do this then. So, I felt like it wasn’t so much a risk as it was almost a step up. Cause I’m making a difference for the world and now I don’t have to worry about the entrepreneurial burden of you know, doing all the books and all that stuff myself anymore. I can just focus on the mission.
Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. Thank you. And a lot of inspiration, very passionate about what you’re doing. And, and absolutely. When I did some research on you and Jeremy prior to the podcast I was just astounded at what you all are doing in this space. And again, we’re going to have to dive deeper podcast, but I so much appreciate.
What you’ve shared with us thus far. And so, Benjamin, this is a sticky point. Obviously, the last couple of years have been a struggle for a lot of Americans, but 77 percent of Americans are deeply concerned about our economy, inflation or recession and many other financial issues that are lingering here in our country and around the globe.
How can we fix this problem with our government spending once and for all to bring back a thriving economy with honesty, transparency, and accountability? Well,
Benjamin Shaffer: the main thing really is transparency, right? They say that the greatest disinfectant is sunlight and that’s never more true than it is really of money.
This is one of the reasons why I love all types of DeFi, right? If it’s decentralized, it has to be transparent. That’s really the purpose of blockchain to create a cryptocurrency like Goldback or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or something like that is that you have to know where the money is. And who’s saying what, who’s doing what with it so that you can keep them accountable with Goldback.
The interesting thing is, it leverages the most simple of technologies, the most ancient of technologies which is gold to, to give that accountability and transparency. You either have the gold or you don’t. Well, the nice thing is, is that a Goldback isn’t just a currency based on gold. Like a stable coin or like the U S dollar used to be, used to be that one paper dollar represented one dollar’s worth of gold that was held by the treasury or, you know, is locked up in Fort Knox or something.
However, that, that gold and silver that was held by the government was still held by the government. All you held was the piece of paper that represented that you could get that gold or silver if you wanted it. That’s not the way it is with the Goldback. A Goldback is the gold itself. So, what we do is where it’s, it’s just a very small fractional piece of gold.
One Goldback is one one-thousandth of a troy ounce of pure gold. And with that with that Goldback in your wallet. You’re not waiting for the promise of some other institution to be honest with you, you actually have the gold itself in your pocket. And that really, I think makes it possible for us to hold people accountable in a new way because it’s real, it’s tangible.
You know, when you talk about inflation, why, why does that run so rampant? And when you talk about the lack of transparency or the government debt, the reason why that happens is because it’s just so easy. It’s so easy for them to create more of it. And they get the, they get the immediate benefit. It’s really addicting for governments, I think, to inflate their currency, because when they print a new crisp hundred-dollar bill, they just got a hundred dollars.
And they only had to spend a couple of cents making that piece of paper, but they got a hundred dollars’ worth of benefit out of it. that’s just so intoxicating. I think about it this way. A lot of us have purchased a home. If you’ve ever gone to buy a home and gone to a mortgage officer, when they look at the piece of paper where you’ve negotiated that price and what the mortgage, what’s the mortgage amount going to be, and they, they pull up their little keystrokes and they type in that 350, 000 or the 500, 000 or whatever the house was going for.
They type in those numbers at that moment, they are literally creating that 500,000 out of thin air. You’re going to spend the next 30 years of your life trying to pay off what it took them six or seven keystrokes to do, that’s it. That’s and that created it out of nothing. Well, how intoxicating is it?
If you have that power, it’s hard to give it up. And so, asking the government to go back to the gold standard or to use a more stable form of currency, maybe even a cryptocurrency, it just hasn’t had much appeal on you know, for the bankers or for, or for Washington, DC and why not? Well. Because what we’d be doing is we’d be taking that power away from them.
They could no longer with a few keystrokes, create millions of dollars out of thin air and get the full benefit of it and have you or me be in debt for that amount for the, for the next 30 years, they would literally lose that power in order to have the money. They would have to obtain it either through taxation or through some other lawful means that allows them to accumulate an actual asset.
Well, Goldbacks, I believe if they could be more. Broadly accepted, they create all of those things at once. There, there can be no inflation in the gold back ever because you can’t make them out of thin air. You have to make them out of pure 24 karat gold. You can’t just fake it. You have to have, have that accountability and that transparency because you have to actually hand over the physical real gold.
You know, so I like to say that gold is honest money. And for that reason, it’s disfavored by dishonest people. And so it’s, it’s, it’s a hard fix. It’s a hard thing to fix. I remember Ron Paul with the with the Ron Paul revolution, he, he kept saying things like we got to get back to the gold standard, but.
I think most people who even who endorsed him and his politics or people who are interested in auditing the Fed or people who are interested in going back to a gold standard, they have this mistaken idea that there’s like a magical golden switch inside the Federal Reserve that if you could just pull that lever, bam, we’d be back in the gold standard.
The problem is there is no magic fix to these, these problems. And this is why so many Americans, I believe you said 77 percent of Americans are deeply concerned about it. Well, of course they should be concerned about it. There is no easy fix to these problems. They don’t just disappear. There’s no magic switch or silver bullet, so to speak, but there is a path and that path, I believe comes about when we voluntarily choose a better way.
For example, any business can go on to Goldback.com and look up their Goldback business signup, it’s in the menu there. Or they can scroll down and find it. They can sign up their business, put in their own business info and say, I’m a business that would like to do business in this alternative currency.
I’d like to accept gold as payment. And then they’re not really committing to anything there, except that when people bring gold in the door, they won’t turn them away. There’s no like, you know, subscription or fee or anything like that. Right. They’re just saying that they believe in sound money. And when they do that, the economy for this alternative currency grows by one more business.
Well, eventually if we get more and more people doing that voluntarily choosing to use sound money instead of fiat, it will create more honesty, more transparency, more accountability. Because people will actually have the gold in their hand, and they’ll actually hand it over. And, and so really, I, I don’t think we need to wait for the government or anybody else to fix these problems for us.
We as regular ordinary Americans can fix the problem ourselves simply by voluntarily choosing, voting with our dollars, so to speak, choosing to do something better. And I think that’s what we have here, something better.
Brian Thomas: I love it. I really, really do. And I think, you know, again, this is catching like wildfire, as you know, alternative currency anything non fiat nowadays is really starting to take hold.
As you know, though, a lot of regulators here in the U S are, you know, shunning this alternative currency. And obviously you explain that they get that, you know, that that high for printing the money and, and being in control of, of the fiat. So I really do appreciate you breaking that down and I’m really interested in learning more and, and diving into this, this part of your business so I can get the word out there.
So Benjamin, we are a tech platform and podcast. And so we ask, we ask everybody if you’re leveraging any new or emerging technologies in your business and what cool tool or tech could you recommend to the listeners that you found useful?
Benjamin Shaffer: You know, I do like to think of us as a tech company money is technology and we are using some really cool technologies in the manufacture of our Goldbacks.
This is how we can measure the exact one, one thousandth of a Troy ounce. So. You can think of it sort of like 3d printing. We’re taking polymer and gold and then some more polymer again to create a kind of this gold sandwich, kind of a laminated gold to create the gold back. And we do that through vacuum deposition technology.
It’s basically like 3d printing. I was saying, but you’re using plasma with a laser high IMS laser that lays down these goals, the gold Adam by Adam exactly where we want exactly how we want to do it. And so that’s been really handy, but you know, that’s that’s the technical side of, of the business, which we’re proud of.
That’s a patented technology we have. And we have some trade secrets involved that I couldn’t tell you, but that’s the basics of it. The other thing though, that’s a really good tech is that we partner with a group called the United Precious Metals Association. It’s basically a membership association that wants to use sound money to use gold for money.
And they’ve got some really cool things coming out now where you can have an account with them and do private peer to peer transactions. And that’s going to make it possible for us to also come out with a stable, a coin, essentially a blockchain where we’re going to have gold backs available as a cryptocurrency.
With 100 percent reserves in the vault so that people can be sure that they can always redeem a digital token for the physical gold itself. So yeah, if people want to go to UPMA.org. or to AlpineGoldExchange.com you can create an account there where you can actually use that. And I actually have really enjoyed using this as a, as a tech or an app on my phone quite regularly.
I do a lot of my banking through this alternative tech and it’s more secure. And it’s more reserved, you know, when you put your money in a bank, it’s not like the bank takes that money and puts it in their safe and just holds it on your behalf. When you give money to a bank by depositing money, they, it’s their money now, they do whatever they want with that money.
They just have an IOU on their ledger book that says we owe you some money, right? And so within certain parameters, they can generally give you your money. And so, you think of it as an asset when you have a bank account, but it’s only the same kind of an asset as any other account receivable would be.
The bank can do whatever it wants with your money. Well, we don’t work that way. Carrot Goldback and through the United Precious Metals Association, they literally do 100 percent reserves. If you, if you have an account that allows you to digitally transact in your gold, that physical gold is actually literally sitting inside a tier two vault under the ground that no one has access to without the biometrics and RFID tags and, and codes and laser curtains and all that stuff. It’s definitely very secure there. So, you know, that real physical gold actually exists. It’s not just it’s not just a promise that hopefully will be paid back like a, like a bank.
It’s a real physical asset that you already actually own yourself. Even if it isn’t in your house, that’s a cool kind of tech that I like. And you know, i’m a big fan of a lot of other cryptocurrencies. I’d like to see us Turn it into a privacy token like Monero something like that sometime I I definitely recommend those as well that i’ve found that useful because when you have when you have Something like a cryptocurrency or a gold back, you have real value because it’s something that can be verified by your peers instead of just imposed by an authority figure that may or may not have your best interest at heart.
Brian Thomas: Absolutely. Thank you again, Benjamin, for breaking that down. And we’ve talked to many guests on the show about decentralized finance, right? We talked about alternative currencies crypto. And that’s something that we fully embrace here on this platform. Again, power to the people. So Benjamin, it was such a pleasure having you on today, and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.
Shaffer Benjamin: Okay. I’d love to be on again. It’s great chatting with you.
Brian Thomas: Bye for now.
Benjamin Shaffer Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.