For many centuries, humankind’s most stable form of currency has been precious metals. They offer a method of hedging against the many pitfalls that come with the ownership of fiat currencies or government-issued money.  On the highly technological side, only 5 percent of people own Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, but that doesn’t mean it’s not affecting the rest of us. It's increasingly obvious that the digital currencies are affecting very real world things. 

Venezuela made the bold statement that it would start the world’s first sovereign crytocurrency.  In February, the Marshall Islands beat them to it, and passed a law through which a digital currency named “sovereign” will be legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar.  Following these trendsetters, many banks, institutions and countries will release new cryptocurrencies in 2019.  The issues will be mostly on the part of countries and organizations that are trying to make new impressions in the world markets.  They will take multiple market approaches, some of which include the numismatic and stacking communities.

Numismatists in search of something new may want to take a look at Lithuania.  The Baltic nation’s central bank said Tuesday that it will release a crypto coin aimed at enthusiasts later this year. Intended only as a collector’s item, the digital coins won’t be issued with a view to entering into circulation, the bank said.

Central banks the world over -- including Lithuania’s -- have approached cryptocurrencies with caution because of their speculative characteristics, wild price swings and use in criminal activities. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney called last week for greater regulation to bring the era of cryptocurrency “anarchy” to an end.  Numismatists take a similar stance, often referring to crypto as "fake money." 

Despite the controversies surrounding crypto, the move will show the world that Lithuania is a “progressive and innovation-fostering country, always open to new ideas,” central bank board member Marius Jurgilas said in a statement. “Introducing a digital collector’s coin, Lithuania would be the first to break new ground in numismatics.”

On the precious metals side, Airgead Coin aims to be the trend-setter in this area and is based on digitizing real-world assets in order to provide a stable currency to hedge against inflation. This is due to the fact that precious metals protect the wealth and value of central bank currencies, offer a fair value of trade worldwide and a stable saving opportunity for investors.  Airgead Coin stores precious metal coins and bars in secure storage facilities with no storage fees or management fees for holding the metals. They will offer users ease of access to their assets through the digital precious metals wallet. This allows for the safe storage and management of their precious metal coins. As a part of the Airgead Coin ecosystem, a precious metal exchange will allow the value of all coins and bars to be valued in real time. 

From the nations trying to position themselves as a financial-technology hubs to the traditional collectors and stackers, the blockchain is asserting its technological power over the world's financial behavior.  These effects are not only in market sway.  Perhaps the greatest impacts of blockchain and digital ledger technologies in 2019 will be in the systems that govern our interactions with assets, whether digital, precious metal, or collectible.