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Interview with Sean Trainor of Crowne Gold

Once again kudos should go out to Mark from Digital Money World (he also runs Digital Gold Currency Blog) for pointing out to me this somewhat old interview (2002) with Sean Trainor, of Crowne Gold. The original interview was conducted Ragnar Danneskjold of PlanetGold.com. I regret to inform you that it appears that PlanetGold.com is no longer operational, but thanks to the marvelous archive.org website I am able to bring you this interview in full. So, as I am a man of few – but well chosen – words I shall now commence with the copy + paste. Enjoy!

planetgold: Welcome, Sean.

Sean: Thanks for the opportunity.

planetgold: Please tell us about yourself

Sean: I am a family man; my beautiful wife and I have been partners for many years. We have two young sons, Evan and Owen who are both gold bugs. My wife and I are from a small community in Ohio. Tired of the winters, we migrated south to Florida some 13 years ago where we live in a residential marina community and spend a good deal of time utilizing the wonderful attributes this area provides.

The desire to seek out entrepreneurial opportunities has been with me most of my life. During the 80’s I became involved in a wonderful marketing project where I enjoyed a great deal of success. I was fortunate to meet some truly positive people who shared their considerable insight and knowledge. I was involved in developing the bottled water industry from its infancy to its tipping point, and then some. After 6 successful years I began to investigate additional opportunities to which I might apply my newfound knowledge.

My research led me into the telecom industry. Once again, after considerable effort, and numerous trials and errors, I was fortunate to develop special relationships with others such that we did very well. At the peak of the Alternate Operator service industry, my company was able to help payphone providers, hoteliers, hospitals and universities manage these types of calls, while providing state of the art access to the pertinent data they needed to be financially successful in their telecom service.

the tax code is completely out of control

Eventually, my growing prosperity forced me to learn more about money and the effects it has on a person, a business, and the government. It has amazed me all along that people spend more time researching a new car, truck or clothes, than they do the government agencies that regulate their lives. Because of the telecommunications business I was forced to work with the FCC and numerous other regulatory agencies, which left me somewhat jaded. I was to discover that our firm had paid a lot more to the IRS than needed, simply because of legislative complexity, and the lack of familiarity by professionals regarding the court renderings that ultimately interpret specific legislation and federal rulings. For example, you can go to three tax accountants and get three different answers regarding a whole host of tax issues. This situation exists because the tax code is completely out of control and no one can know or understand it all.

Three years ago I spent more time educating myself on government regulations and taxes than I did running my business. Eventually I came to the conclusion that the U.S. government has circumvented the Bill of Rights with regulatory agencies. Many of these agencies rob businesses of profits while providing little to no benefit other than to proliferate more regulations. It became clear to me that the telecom industry for the smaller player was about to be destroyed by meddling bureaucrats and the future looked grim indeed. So I took all of this into account as I began to look for a new business. Once again I got lucky and moved out ahead of the curve having preserved most of my wealth while adding to my knowledge base.

planetgold: How did you get involved in digitized gold?

Sean: Two years ago, I was meeting with an accountant when he informed me of a luncheon meeting I might want to attend; I agreed. Little did I know that this meeting would set me on a course that would literally change my life. Bernard von NotHaus, a visionary fellow who frequently refers to himself as a Monetary Architect, was the main speaker.

As l was to quickly discover, Bernard’s company was making their own money. Now I don’t know how the rest of the folks in the digital currency industry cut their teeth, but my jaw was on the table when Bernard said it was legal to make your own money. NORFED is a non-profit company he had formed; it is based on a particular political agenda in common with my thoughts and feelings. NORFED stands for the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve act and the Internal Revenue Code.

Immediately thereafter I began researching the concepts of private money, working feverishly to get a grip on what might be available. Much of what I learned was quite positive and, frankly, surprised me. My own personal take was hey, if Federal Express and UPS can reform the Postal service, why couldn’t private industry have a significant impact on the Federal Reserve? However, my first serious question was how could we digitize gold and silver and make it both safe and convenient to use. Bernard introduced me to 3PSecure.com. They had a product called 3PGold. I wanted in.

planetgold: So what happened next?

the empire is the competition

Sean:I spent the next year learning about 3P Gold and both the history and concepts of private money. Needless to say the learning curve has been as sharp and tall as the empire state building. It has to be, as the empire is the competition. Of course, I have learned something about other digital monetary systems, but for the most part my analysis developed as a consequence of my own research.

During this period I met a man who has been a mentor to me for several years as a result of his books and newsletters. While at a seminar in Nevada I had the opportunity to meet him face to face. Well as it turned out he has a strong passion regarding alternative currencies and considerable depth and background on the subject. He introduced me to others who were quietly assembling a private money team with incredible credentials. It seemed a perfect match.

During this same time things were not going well for 3P Gold. Thankfully client accounts were safe and every single grain of gold was right where it was supposed to be in a contracted vault subject to external audit every month. But, the company could simply not build a future from the slim margins in the business and it became apparent that others needed to assume control.

planetgold: Tell us about the merger of 3P Gold and Crowne Gold.

Sean:On March 4, 2002, 3PSecure was taken over by Crowne Gold. Crowne Gold is the result of a merger between two leading-edge private money advocate firms. The company is comprised of a number of international shareholders, the larger ones of which include significant financial planning and investment consortiums, an international bank, an insurance company, licensed trust companies and one of the world’s largest corporate formation and management firms.

planetgold: So what is your role in the new company?

Sean: Although I am not an official officer or director as these terms are interpreted in a legal sense, I have been contracted as Director of Marketing for Crowne Gold, and I love it. What an awesome opportunity! This is truly an exciting business. Simply knowing that you are involved in an industry that may ultimately shift control of the monetary system to the people who use it, rather than be continually manipulated by those in control of the international banking cabal is heady stuff. This is truly a very big idea that admittedly keeps me up at night.

I feel like a race-horse forced to hold still in its stall

Right now I feel like a race-horse forced to hold still in its stall, just waiting to get out and run. The principals of Crowne are a conservative lot and they are insisting that various internal objectives are achieved before letting loose with a serious marketing program. The team behind Crowne Gold has been diligently developing a solid base of operations before the system is aggressively promoted.

planetgold: How might this change the current monetary system of the Federal Reserve and World Bank?

Sean: Ragnar, this is a profound period in man’s history. Never before have individuals possessed tools like the computer and the Internet. Choices now abound. The Internet, coupled with payment systems designed specifically for it, will allow users an instant, secure, and hopefully private, alternative method of exchange. There is no doubt that as private money resources expand, political currencies will come under pressure.

planetgold: What is the Crowne Gold system?

Sean:The Crowne Gold system is an Internet driven platform designed such that clients can buy and sell gold based on market prices, take delivery of gold via bullion or coin, or digitally transfer any part of their gold holdings to third-parties via a secure, encrypted, Internet payment system. Client holdings contained within the Crowne Gold system are held in high security vaults and regularly validated by external auditors as to their physical existence and are certified free of commercial liens of any kind. Crowne Gold provides a convenient method to hedge investments by owning gold while enabling them to use their investment as money via the Internet. Gold payment transfers may be initiated privately, instantly and securely from the convenience of any Internet ready computer, 24/7/365. Most importantly, the Crowne Gold system is 100% capitalized with bullion physical gold; .9999 fine.

planetgold: Where is the gold stored?

Sean: Crowne Gold currently contracts three vaults. All three are located within the United States to be easily assessable to external auditors, even though the primary principals are not US persons. Plans for 2003 are to expand vaulting arrangements to other global jurisdictions.

planetgold: What about gold delivery?

Sean: Crowne encourages clients to take delivery by offering beautifully designed one-ounce coins of .9999 fine gold that are immediately available. Crowne has also fabricated ten-ounce bars of .9999 fine gold. Kilo bars and 400-ounce bars are available for customer delivery but typically unwieldy so special instructions for shipment and insurance must accompany orders of gold in these magnitudes.

planetgold: What basic options does Crowne provide?

Sean:Those receiving digital gold in payment for a commodity, product or service, may hold their gold position for profit (expecting an increase in the spot price), use their gold account as an alternative form of instant payment via the use of email, opt out of the payment system by taking physical possession of their gold, or by selling their gold position on the spot market and taking payment in Euros or Dollars. When one sells the digitized gold they hold on account, payments in currency for sold gold may be conveyed by check, wire transfer or deposited to a debit card. All of these options now exist and can be accessed immediately right over the Internet. Plans are in progress to incorporate genius card technology in the near future.

planetgold: What are your fees?

Sean: Questions about fees are a bit like comparing apples and oranges; they aren’t the same and they rarely sell for the same price. For example, if I asked you how much a car costs, how could you answer the question without first discussing style, options, etc.? Obviously there are numerous things that set companies, products and services apart. Crowne’s fees are set forth on a schedule at the Crowne Gold web site. I refer your readers to www.crowne-gold.com for further information.

planetgold: Has Crowne Gold had, or have any fraud problems? Legal problems?

Sean: No and No.

planetgold: What is your relationship with others in the industry (e-gold, exchange providers, etc.)?

Sean:We look forward to building a mutually prosperous relationship with quality providers, brokers, merchants, newsletter writers, and referring partners, in addition to general users of the system at large. We are team players that believe there are major benefits to be had in trade associations and other types of group effort.

planetgold: What have been your greatest difficulties? Accomplishments?

Sean: Our greatest difficulties to date seem to have evolved around legal jurisdictions, funding, software, customer relations, and the training of support personnel. Since the merger, things have changed dramatically. There is now a whole new pool of resource personnel, funding, IT support, and considerable expertise in a host of specialties that will undoubtedly play a significant part in building Crowne Gold into a major player in the near future. Our greatest accomplishments are still in front of us, but we’ve come a long way in a short while and we have every reason to believe we are putting together the premier product in the industry.

planetgold: Where is Crowne Gold located and why?

Sean: 3P Gold was based in Dominica, West Indies. Their server was eventually located in Havenco, a secure international data haven. Crowne Gold has support facilities in four countries, but this may change over the next few months. Computer security and program integrity verses band-width and overall IT support has been a reoccurring topic of discussion.

server platforms are best based in secure offshore jurisdictions

It is our belief that server platforms are best based in secure offshore jurisdictions to ensure against over zealous governments from seizing client data and pursuing a fishing expedition in pursuit of their passion for citizen control. As you are aware, this has already happened to at least one company, which although formed in an offshore jurisdiction operates servers from within the U.S. Fortunately, client gold positions were not effected and the system continues to be robust and the company is a leader in digitizing gold but client information may be unprotected from predatory lawyers and government snoops.

At present Crowne’s primary server is based in Havenco with on-line backups to our own secure system in the Caribbean. Customer relations personnel are also based in the Caribbean and available during working hours by phone, fax, or email.

planetgold: What do you do to ensure customer privacy?

Sean: Crowne is a strong proponent of personal liberty and individual property rights, and history teaches us that the critical ingredient for freedom to survive is the right to personal privacy. However, this philosophical position must be balanced against the potential for the Crowne system to inadvertently become a conduit for facilitating illegal activities and, therefore, internal due-diligence procedures to protect the company and its clientele from this type of abuse have been developed.

Simply put, we are committed to the basic right for people everywhere to evoke privacy strategies to protect their families, their fortunes and their business activities; but if need be we will assist law enforcement on a case by case basis if convinced that a serious crime has taken place.

planetgold: So what’s your target market?

Sean: At the moment our target market consists of English speaking persons and Internet sales companies. No actual marketing efforts are yet underway but they should be shortly. Eventually we plan to focus on Spanish speaking jurisdictions, followed by China, Japan, India and the Middle East.

planetgold: What is Crowne Gold’s mission?

Sean:Crowne Gold has several primary goals contained within its mission statement, but simply put, it is to make available to anyone on the planet the ability to buy and sell gold and have immediate access to a secure, private, non-political, user-friendly, gold transfer payment system.

planetgold: How does Crowne Gold compare with other Digital Gold Currencies?

Sean:Crowne Gold holds on deposit only .9999 fine gold as contrasted to the US standard which is .995 fine. Of course, I cannot speak for other systems but in reading some of their terms and conditions it is unclear if others are providing this level of underwriting.

Crowne has allocated physical gold on deposit for every ounce of gold actually digitized within its system. Under typical unallocated metal account trading agreements, clients have a general entitlement to metal, and in effect are unsecured creditors. The concept regarding an undivided commodity pool is fine provided there is 100% gold to back the system. In some of the agreements I’ve read, it appears that the provider intends to get enough metal to cover their client accounts but are not actually required to have physical gold on hand to liquidate all client obligations at any given moment in time. This may not be the ultra secure position many gold buyers seek because if there is a serious up-tick in the gold market the window of vulnerability is open.

On the other hand, it is clear that unallocated gold purchases held on account through a commodities broker is the primary method by which gold is bought and traded worldwide. This is standard practice and it is the cheapest form of program to underwrite a gold payment system and it is easier to administer, which in turn allows for more competitive rates. At present, Crowne has opted for the most secure approach, which admittedly is the most expensive way to proceed.

Crowne expects to provide a level of client integrity unmatched in any other financial arena. Crowne Gold may be the only private money system which subjects itself to monthly external audits by certified public accountants. An especially neat feature of the Crowne pay system allows for double signature authorizations on a single account, a process that is now available for implementation by clients within their confidential client profile options. This option allows for transactions to be prepared by one party and validated by another regardless of how far apart the signing parties are.

There are client definable provisions for read-only access under development such that a business client’s accountant can validate gold balances for audit or tax reasons, and/or a client can allow a potential seller to confirm the buyer has adequate gold on hand prior to negotiating a deal.

An on-line currency converter is available to clients when making payments to third-parties such that one can quickly determine the value of any of 77 different currencies contrasted with any other currency including the spot price of gold, silver, etc.

planetgold: Has Crowne Gold received any correspondence from Gold Money, threatening legal action for patent infringement?

Sean: No comment.

planetgold: Thank you, Sean.

Sean:Ragnar, I want to thank you and Planet Gold for taking the time to allow Crowne Gold and I to introduce our wares to the world. I believe with the ongoing negative fiscal issues the world is experiencing, sound Gold and Silver based currencies will help reform our financially sick world.

–end of interview-

Whew! I hope you read the whole interview. Thank you for you attention!

Crowne Gold’s website: http://www.crowne-gold.com

Open up a Crowne Gold account by clicking here (by doing so you will be directly supporting this blog which is very much appreciated)

Review – Crowne Gold digital gold currency

crowne gold

I was just browsing by Mark’s Digital Money World Blog and noticed his brief overlook at Crowne Gold and I got the inspiration to write a more detailed review of this wonderful digital gold provider.

Mark mentioned that Crowne Gold is “one of the most experienced digital gold operators in the industry”. I’ll take his word on this one as he has more experience in this arena than me. But what interested me is this bit of info about Crowne Gold:

1. They fought the IRS allegation of being a tax evasion scheme and won

2. Fought the US Federal governments allegation of being an illegal money transmitter, and won

3. Been issued a full compliance on the operational side of issuing a currency secured by gold in the USA

4. Own a mint that will send one troy ounce gold medallions for Crowne Mint to clients who request their physical gold holdings

5. Provides secure server placement in friendly jurisdictions

6. Provides 100% of the business of brokering gold and silver as well as issuance of a digital gold medium of exchange

7. Own the Precious metal seat on the Panama commodity exchange

8. Client gold is subject to monthly audit by both U.S. certified public accountants and internationally certified accountants.

Now let’s get into some more detail. I will do this in FAQ format.

Where is Crowne Gold based?

The company is registered in The Republic of Panama but their customer service center is located in Carson City, Nevada, USA. Should you be concerned about this? No, because Crowne Gold is not under the jurisdiction of the United States. Also, from the above text you can see that Crowne Gold has managed to survive attacks by the United States Government and other meddling government institutions.

Now that I’ve said that, I think all you United States Citizens should read this excerpt taken from Crowne Gold’s website:

Due to increased alarm regarding terrorism, international drug dealing, money laundering, and concerns over untaxed income, the U.S. government has commenced scrutiny of a number of industries not formerly required to provide reporting on the sales activities of U.S. persons. On February 3, 2002 new software programs were installed by Crowne Gold, which will generate 1099-B reports for all U.S. Persons. The U.S. 1099-B form is an Internal Revenue Service document designed to list total annual SALES made through the Crowne Gold system, (not purchases), so in order to determine profits or losses sustained on the annual SALE of gold and silver a separate profit analysis report will be provided to clients of the system.

All account holders, be they U.S. persons or otherwise, will receive an annual profit or loss compilation based upon SALES and the purchase price actually paid for the gold or silver sold. Profit analysis is based on the accounting principal of “first in, first out.”

Please note, that the purchase of precious metal DOES NOT constitute a taxable event, only the SALE of an item triggers the calculation of profit or loss.

Note that this applies to US Citizens only! Despite what the IRS would like to think so, it does NOT have worldwide jurisdiction.

How do I go about funding my Crowne Gold account?

At the moment all transactions are handled via Bank Wire. I did see an option somewhere in their user account panel to fund via credit card but since I see no mention of that on their main website I will assume that the credit card funding options is now defunct. Here are the fees for bank wire funding:

Purchase Premium

$1,000 up to $50,000 5 percent

$51,000 up to $250,000 4 percent

$251,000 or more 3 percent

How much does it cost to transfer gold to another Crowne Gold account holder?

Hmm, now this is something that I do not like about Crowne Gold:

When you access the option to Make exchange and move gold to another e-mail address (public account number) a minimum fee of US $7.50 in the equivalent weight of gold at the then current spot price is assessed your gold exchange account. If the amount being transferred is greater than $400, the transfer rate is increased as follows: 0.005 (1/2 of 1%) on the first $75,000; plus 0.0025 (1/4th of 1%) on amounts from $75,000 to $250,000; plus 0.00125 (1/8th of 1%) on amounts that exceed $250,000.

Although this makes small transfers impossible, it does have one additional benefit of making Crowne Gold extremely uneconomical for use by your run-of-the-mill HYIP programs.

Can I take physical delivery of my gold, and if so what are the fees involved?

Yes Sir, you sure can!

The purity rate for gold traded on the world’s commodity markets is .995 and is the standard at which “Spot Price” is determined. The traditional “Spot Price” you see quoted on this site is updated regularly in accordance with world market pressures and constitutes the buying and selling rate (less commissions) for .995 gold. When taking delivery of custom designed coins and small bars there is a premium charged above the spot price to pay for the increased purity of the gold products to .9999 fine; the highest gold purity rate available anywhere in the world. The following bullets reflect the “other” costs embedded in the single add-on charge for each ounce of gold delivered as set forth below:

* Shipping and insurance to the mint from an accredited warehouse of one of the three world commodities markets
* Refined purity upgrade from .995 to .9999
* Fabrication costs charged by the mint for processing gold into medallions and small bars
* Shipping, insurance and vaulting costs to a secure fulfillment center
* Shipping and insurance costs from the fulfillment center to your desired final destination

Rates below include all the costs set forth above.

* Gold Internet Dollar coin shipped within U.S.: Spot Price + 20%
* Gold ten-ounce bars shipped within the U.S.: Spot Price + 20%
* Gold Internet Dollar coin shipped outside U.S.: Spot Price + 25% *
* Gold ten-ounce bars shipped outside the U.S.: Spot Price + 25% *

* Duty, custom, or import charges are the responsibility of the receiver

How much does it cost to store my gold with Crowne Gold?

Gold is stored under Crowne Gold’s third-party vaulting arrangements for 1% per annum. The annual fee is divided into 12 parts and assessed monthly.

How much does it cost to exchange my gold to national currency?

Sell your gold at the quoted gold spot price when you place your sell order. A minor 0.005 service fee (1/2 of 1%) is assessed at the time of sale leaving 99.5% of your cash balance available to you for payout via check, money order, or wire transfer. Bank fees and air courier charges for any form of exchange other than a normal check sent by mail will be passed on as required.

*Outgoing wires are $35 plus bank service charges. *

As far as I can tell this by far the cheapest way to “out exchange” your digital gold holdings. With most e-currency exchangers you pay fees in the range of 1-5% !

Now for a slightly minor issue. In my humble opinion Crowne Gold’s user interface could use a bit of an “face lift”. Another thing that sort of caught my attention is that their website has a template that looks suspiciously like one used by a former producer of e-currency exchange software called Gold-PHP (they used to provide some software called EXS Pro). That company has long since disappeared, and it turns out that they were a bunch of crooks. They ran with $2000 of my funds! So I hope that indeed they did not get that company to code their backend because I would be suspect them of leaving a nice backdoor, but I guess this is just my paranoia talking.

In conclusion, I think it may be safe to characterize Crowne Gold as sort of like BullionVault but with the ability to transfer gold to other accounts slapped on.

That does it for another one of my reviews. I hope you found it informative and if you wish to open an account with Crowne Gold just click on any of the links in this review, or if you’re too lazy to scroll up, then click over here. What can I say, I’m a big referral whore – lool!


Cheers everyone!

Alan out – beam me up Scotty.