At the recent Bullion Integrity Forum in Zurich, industry professionals assembled to discuss a pertinent theme: digital transformation in the precious metals industry. Hosted by aXedras, the forum presented an opportunity for practical dialogue and showcased emerging developments that are shaping the sector.
Digitalization Takes Center Stage
The forum began with a keynote by David Tait, CEO at the World Gold Council. In a candid address, he spoke about the gold industry's future and the significance of embracing digitalization as a practical step forward. His goal is clear and unstoppable: to improve the transparency and integrity of data and gold products, to increase confidence in the gold market for all generations and hence - to make it easy and safe to invest in or acquire gold.
Robin Kolvenbach (CEO at Argor-Heraeus SA) continued this conversation by discussing how Argor-Heraeus is incorporating aXedras’ solutions into its digitalization efforts. It is gratifying that a renowned refinery such as Argor-Heraeus is fully committed to digitalisation.
Next, Mike Oswin (Global Market Structure at WGC) and Philipp Stockinger (Business Development at aXedras) offered a deep dive into the DTM Project – a venture that epitomizes the digital transformation for miners. The project has been kicked off with five concept partners from the mining industry and it focuses on three different objectives around process efficiency, ESG and KYC respectively due diligence reports.
Christoph Wild, president at the ASFCMP (the association that represents manufacturers and traders in the Swiss precious metal industry), highlighted that the industry has already started changing – digitalization is the way forward to foster trust.
The morning concluded with a thoughtful panel discussion titled “From Mines to Markets: Digitalization of the Value Chain,” which offered a balanced exploration of the ongoing digitalization process within the industry. Notably, the presence of Ben Lam (VP / Treasury at Agnico Eagle Mines Limited), a representative of the mining industry, underscored the importance of the DTM project and the broader digitalization efforts for the entire industry.
Emphasizing Transparency, Collaboration, and New Opportunities
aXedras welcomed Sakhila Mirza (Executive Director of the Board and General Counsel at LBMA) as second keynote speaker after lunch and she talked about the future of the digital ecosystem growth: “For global adoption of blockchain technology in the gold market, it’s clear that work is required on interoperability, taxonomy, data standards, and governance.” That is basically the DNA of aXedras and why it is important to regularly get together at the Bullion Integrity Forum.
This was followed by a presentation by Joe Cavatoni (Market Strategist (Americas) at WGC), who named his speaking title “unleash transparency” - highlighting the essential role of transparency in ETFs, and how aXedras’ solution facilitates traceability for physical assets held at different bullion banks globally. Joe’s input was especially encouraging as he showcased how the SPDR Gold Funds (GLD / GLDM), the world's largest physically backed Gold ETF, is solving these challenges.
Patrik Berni (Managing Director at Loomis International) spoke about the great spirit and collaboration with aXedras. He highlighted how Valcambi as a refiner, Loomis as a Custodian, and BFI Bullion as an Asset Manager worked together utilizing aXedras' solution to successfully launch a physically backed gold ETF. Scott Schamber (Managing Director at BFI Bullion) presented details of the fund: it is held in Swiss vaults, the origin of each bar can be viewed electronically at any time and from anywhere. Simone Knobloch (COO at Valcambi) presented how aXedras’ solution facilitates Valcambi in delivering transparency and traceability for each bar delivered to institutional clients and pension funds.
In the second part of the afternoon, speakers including Christoph Zangl (Co-Founder of aurumX GmbH), Diana Culillas (Secretary General at Swiss Better Gold Association), and Bruno Ciscato (Country Manager Japan at R3) shared perspectives on new opportunities emerging due to digital transformation. It is great to see that digitalization is fostering such innovative offerings. In case of the Swiss Better Gold Association digitalization will help their mission to improve working and living conditions in artisanal and small-scale gold mining communities (ASGM).
As Bruno, a distributed ledger technology specialist stated: it does not matter what technology is being applied, collaboration is key.
A Moment for Reflection
The evening event on a terrace with a picturesque view over Lake Zurich provided attendees with an opportunity to reflect on the day’s discussions. The tranquil setting was conducive to thoughtful conversations and networking among the participants.
Steady Progress Towards Transformation
The Bullion Integrity Forum highlighted the steady, but important, strides being made toward digital transformation. With an emphasis on transparency, integrity, and regulatory compliance, the forum underlined the significance of these factors in the evolving landscape.
It was great to have had such encouraging and engaging discussions and experience a collaborative spirit. The industry is navigating change, and forums like these are vital in charting the course.
Sakhila Mirza summarized: “The forum was helpful to highlight some of the use cases, and what needs to happen in order to understand how technology can support market efficiencies.”
The Bullion Integrity Forum focuses on connecting and digitalising the precious metals industry.
Looking forward to welcoming you at the Bullion Integrity Forum 2024 in Zurich!