first majestic silver

Silver Price Squeeze Could Set Off Major Fireworks to the Upside

April 7, 2024

Coming up don’t miss an exclusive interview with Corey Maita from MintID. Money Metals’ Mike Maharrey talks to Corey about how he has used unique technologies and innovation to fill gaps in the retail bullion market and how he’s created products in direct response to counterfeiting concerns.

So be sure to stick around for a very informative and interesting interview with the founder of MintID and Bullion Works, coming up after this week’s market update.

Another week, another record high for gold.

On Wednesday, the monetary metal surged above $2,300 per ounce. It took a bit of a breather Thursday ahead of today’s key employment report. As of this Friday morning recording, gold prices are advancing again and come in at $2,335, gaining another 4.1% for the week.

Turning to silver, it made a significant breakout of its own this week. The white metal shot up above the $27 level to a fresh 2-year high. Silver currently trades at $27.53 an ounce to post a robust weekly gain of 9.5%.

Platinum is up 2.0% since last Friday’s close to trade at $941. Palladium is actually down 1.5% this week and is now checking in at $1,035 per ounce. And finally, copper prices are up better than 6% this week to reach their highest level in more than a year.

Well, as gold prices continue to reach new heights, bulls are eying even higher highs. Detractors, meanwhile, are pushing the narrative that gold has gotten too expensive.

They could both turn out to be right, though for different reasons.

In terms of depreciating U.S. fiat dollars, there can be little doubt that gold prices will continue to gain over time. The official inflation rate may rise or fall from here, but inflation itself is here to stay.

Those in the deflation camp have for years, and in some cases decades, been calling for gold and most other assets to suffer massive price collapses. At this point, the deflationists have been totally discredited. But a few still stubbornly persist in their belief that a deflationary depression is coming.

For some reason, they just don’t get that inflation is built into the machinery of our monetary system. It’s not the 1930s anymore. Back then, politicians and central bankers were still constrained by the remnants of a gold standard. The U.S. Treasury still minted coins made of silver. The Federal Reserve had no access to a digital printing press.

Today’s Fed can create unbacked currency in unlimited quantities with the click of a few keystrokes on a computer. Moreover, today’s Fed has vowed that it will not tolerate deflation for any sustained period of time. Fed officials won’t even tolerate a positive inflation rate that they arbitrarily deem to be too low.

Gold’s surge to new records reflects the Fed’s ongoing campaign of currency debasement. Yet the gold naysayers may have a point about the precious metal being too pricey – not in terms of dollars, but in terms of other hard assets.

In recent years, gold has outperformed silver, platinum, palladium, and copper. In fact, despite rallying of late, all of those other non-gold metals all still have a long way to go in order to post new all-time highs.

Metals analysts have noted that structural supply deficits exist in these markets, perhaps most glaringly so in silver. It may only be a matter of time before chronic supply and demand imbalances trigger some sort of reckoning in the price-setting mechanism on futures exchanges.

Given that silver in particular is a small market that attracts some highly leveraged players, a price squeeze could result in some major fireworks to the upside. Silver is certainly gathering some upside momentum, but the timing of when it might accelerate toward new highs may depend on how the Fed’s shifting stance toward inflation plays out.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell seemed to confirm last month that central bankers are giving up on trying to get inflation down to their arbitrary 2% target. Powell indicated rate cuts would come later this year even if inflation stays elevated at current levels.

But this week, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari suggested that persistently high inflation may require policymakers to cancel rate cuts – and even consider rate hikes.

Neel Kashkari: Ultimately, we've been surprised in a good way that the economy has been very resilient, even though we've raised interest rates a lot. So, if we continue to see strong job growth, if we continue to see strong consumer spending, and strong GDP growth, then that raises a question in my mind, well, why would we cut rates? Maybe the dynamics that we have right now are actually sustainable.

Interviewer: Here's another question. Are rate hikes off the table?

Neel Kashkari: No, they're certainly not off the table. I don't know of anybody who's taken them officially off the table. I don't think they're very likely. Even me, I think I'm on the more hawkish side of the committee. Even for me, I don't think it's likely. I think if we continue to be surprised that inflation is more persistent. The first thing I think we would do is just hold rates here for an extended period of time to see if that ultimately does the trick. But ultimately, if we get convinced that that's not enough to bring inflation back down to our target in a reasonable period of time, that I think we would consider raising interest rates from here.

Kashkari is admittedly more hawkish on inflation than most of his central planning colleagues. He may be playing a sort of “good cop, bad cop” routine with markets to try to discourage exuberant investors from aggressively front-running the Fed’s likely rate cut.

In any event, central bankers have no actual intention of eliminating the inflation problem. They will never raise rates high enough or constrict the money supply tightly enough to deliver true price stability.

Given the inevitability of further currency depreciation, gold isn’t done going up in terms of fiat Federal Reserve notes. And the moves in other metals may just be getting started.

Well now, without further delay, let’s get right to our exclusive interview with the creator and designer of some very exciting and unique bullion products that are taking the retail market by storm!

Mike Maharrey: Greetings. I'm Mike Maharrey. I'm a reporter and macro analyst for Money Metals, and I'm here today with Corey Maita. Corey has a lot of experience in the precious metals industry. As a seller, he provides resources and training for investment advisors to help them supply clients with physical precious metals, and most recently he's gotten into the minting business. His company MintID has come up with some pretty fascinating innovations that we're going to talk about here today. So Corey, thanks for taking a little bit of time to chat with me. Hope you're doing well.

Corey Maita: Yeah, no, absolutely. Appreciate you having me and appreciate Money Metals for retailing our products. It's been a great relationship.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, well, we're excited to do it. We're going to talk about some of those products as we roll through this, but before we do that, I just wanted to talk a little bit, since you are somebody that's been in this space for quite some time and have a lot of experience in the world of metals, I want talk a little bit just about the dynamics we're seeing in the marketplace right now. We've kind of had a year and maybe even a year plus where we were kind of range-bound in price. And it seems like just in the last month or so we've had a bit of a breakout with gold setting some new records and silver breaking through some resistance levels. And I was just kind of wanting to get your take on it. What is your view of this current rally? You think it's start of something long-term or is this maybe a preview? How do you view what's going on right now?

Corey Maita: Yeah, no, I've definitely seen a lot. The run-up in 2011, we were selling anything that wasn't nailed down, so I've kind of seen it all. But no, I think we built a really good base at probably, I'd say, the $22 mark [for silver]. We've built bases at 15 and now I think really our base is probably in the 22s. This week's been nice. We're up in the 27s. And I remind my customers, I'm like, "That's how fast it can happen." We're sitting here, hem and hawing that there's no movement and then over a two-week period we get this pop. What I'd say is I think that we're headed to 30, if I had to put a number on it, maybe end up somewhere in the 28s.

And then like always I think we'll see probably a pullback, but I just really, I always look at where are we staying at kind of long-term. It'd be nice to start building a higher base than 22, and then obviously get some run-ups and then obviously all the other factors that you know, worldly factors, economic factors are going to play into probably some of the peaks here. But again, I think the market's really strong. We supply a lot of the major retailers in the United States, and it's definitely steady. There's definitely people entering the marketplace, and then there's some people taking profits too. And it's good for the market when people bought at 17, 18, or even at 22 and can make five bucks an ounce, I think everybody's happy.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, for sure. I mean that's the name of the game, right? Buy low, sell high, that's what we all hope to do. I'm particularly bullish on silver just given some of the supply and demand dynamics. You've got a situation where we've seen some market shortfalls in terms of the supply and demand, and the Silver Institute, they're talking about record industrial demand this year. And of course we're seeing a lot of push from the green energy sector, which is in a way kind of recession-proof because a lot of that's being driven by governments. And then you've got the silver/gold ratio or the gold/silver ratio, however you want to say it, where you've got a situation where I would argue that silver is still pretty significantly underpriced compared to gold. What is your view of the silver market just in terms of those kind of dynamics that we're seeing?

Corey Maita: Yeah, I mean, I think in regards to silver, yes, there's always going to be this industrial demand that gold doesn't have, which I think long-term is definitely in our benefit. I think the run-up with gold is also attributed to world banks and financial institutions and a lot of the uncertainty by some of the big major funds out there that are adding gold, they don't necessarily always add silver. So when you look at silver, we've got industrial demand and we've got retail demand and backers' demand if you want to call it. So I feel like there's just with the industrial side of things for silver, I just think that there's a lot of upside coming to silver. I mean, it's kind of wild to think in my whole career we've been trading, sadly, within a $10 range of silver except for really the peaks, runs, the mid-2000s. Again, I think that most people that I talk to, financial advisors and some of the bigger players, are definitely bullish on silver and where it's going to go.

Mike Maharrey: Well, let's talk a little bit about MintID. And the first question that came to my mind, I was looking over the company and I thought, "What motivates somebody to get into minting?" If I was going to wake up one morning and think, "I think I might check out a new business," I don't think minting would be on my list. How did you get involved in that side of the business? What kind of motivated you to start this company?

Corey Maita: Yeah, I mean, while we work with ISO 9,001 mints, we're not necessarily doing the minting. We're working with highly qualified IRA eligible mints and sourcing from the best possible places in the United States, the Metalors and some of the other big major refiners. So yes, there's definitely some help to this, but the biggest thing was I was the owner of a retail shop back in the day in my early career and we decided to have a showroom or a coin shop, whatever you want to call it, and buying was always a big part of why you want to own a shop. You just never know what's going to come in. And so we had this guy come in, he set an appointment and he comes in and a big part of his retirement was gold. And if you've seen as much gold and silver as I have, you can look at it, hear it, touch it, and know that there's something wrong.

So sadly, this guy brought in 60 gold bars. I'm not going to name the company and what it was, but it's on the internet that they've had some counterfeiting issues with their packaging, and that's what he brought in. And sadly, I had to look the guy in the face and say, "I really just don't believe that these are genuine." Tamper-evident casing, the whole nine. Sadly, he did buy them on a major platform, not a retailer, a platform is what we'll say. And to the platform's credit, it was the Wild Wild West back then. This was some years ago. A lot of this has gotten better, but we took them down to get melted and tested and assayed and they were all... He had 60 fake one ounce bars, and he was just absolutely crushed, devastated. And again, this was a part of his and his family's, wife's retirement. And so that's really what led to MintID.

There has to be anti-counterfeiting. There's got to be something that protects the consumer, that gives them peace when they're investing so much of their assets into our industry. So really, MintID is anti-counterfeiting. We want you to feel good that what you're getting is genuine. And so that's really where the idea came from. And then from there it's like, "Okay, well, how am I going to do it? What am I going to do it with?" Well, you can't do it with the R codes, you can't do it with holograms, you can't do it with the invisible ink, the micro texts, the serial numbers, the UV ink, because all of that really can be counterfeited and it's been shown to be counterfeited. So that's what led to near-field communication, AES 128 bit encryption. Then now, here we are. I actually just looked up before this interview, we have over 377,000 authentications on the platform of people verifying their metals. So that's really where MintID came from.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, it's really cool. It's like you've taken the world's oldest money and combined it with cutting edge technology, and it's kind of a neat when you think of it in those terms. Can you kind of explain how it works? If I was to buy a MintID product, how does it work? How does this authentication system work?

Corey Maita: So you download our app, so obviously, you buy a bar, a round from Money Metals, you download our app. There's two ways, there's two schools of thought to this. The stackers, preppers, the people that want to be unanimous and not know who's got what, they just download our app, continue as guest. And again, it is near-field communication. So wherever your NFC reader is on your phone, you would tap that to the RBlue MintID NFC chip, it goes out to the servers, the servers decrypt the information that's on the chip, and that information gets passed back to your phone. What you receive back on your phone is a unique serial number and all the information for that specific bar.

So again, that is all encrypted. Each chip is unique, it is locked, so there's definitely... Again, we've went through all the security measures when it came to this product, and so yeah, that's really... It's as simple as that. I mean, Android in the early days was the only one that would really let us tinker with NFC technology. And then iPhone, iPhone 8, I forget which iOS system, I think it was iOS 13, started letting us tinker with NFC and use it in apps. Yeah, once we had both Android and Apple, it was time for launch.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah. So when you say near-field communication, it's not like I could scan my neighbor's gold across the street. You have to be in very close proximity. The first question my wife asked when I was telling her about it, "Well, can people use this to track your metals?" And I'm like, "No, you have to be right on it." So I'm correct in that, right?

Corey Maita: Yeah, correct on it. You've got to be millimeters from it. We're literally different frequencies than... People think of skiing and they've got in their chip, they can go through other ski lifts and track their vertical climb and how much they've skied all day. Where we're different than that, you have to be very, very close to receive the data. And remember, it's battery-less right? So it's not like when you go to the grocery store and you're using your phone for Apple Pay or Android Pay, that all has battery, that all has power. So that's why you get better range with those. Ours is there's no battery, it's going to more or less live forever, and you've got to be super close.

Mike Maharrey: The thing that I thought of was that they've used some of this technology in the airline industry to track bags and the little chips are embedded in the bag tags. And again, you have to be right on it with the scanner. You can sometimes watch them, they'll load the plane and they'll scan the bag tag as it goes across. And so, probably similar to that.

Corey Maita: Pretty close.

Mike Maharrey: So you kind of answered this question, how did you come up with this idea, but my next question is how big of a problem is counterfeiting and tampering in this industry? You gave a really powerful anecdotal story, but more broadly, how do you view this as a problem that kind of plagues the industry?

Corey Maita: For me, throughout my career, I've seen it. Obviously, I've seen it in the bullion industry. I did a lot with rare coins. I was the president of Teletrade Auctions and COO of Stack's Bowers Auctions. And so we've seen it in pre-1933, numismatic, bullion, PCGS is using something similar. They're doing a lot with their holders. It's becoming more of a problem because technology is just getting... And materials, everything is getting so much more advanced than it was in previous years when we first started. I mean, even like the minting, the machinery, the things that we can do at these mints now from when we started is just light years above. It's just like anything. It's like we started with a black and white TV, and now look at us where we are. And it's the same thing in our industry.

So what people are doing, and a lot of the counterfeits that we're seeing is you may be buying a 10 ounce silver bar or 10 ounce gold bar and there's going to be silver in that bar, but crosshatched within that silver is going to be another material. And so it's the hopes that if you bring it in somewhere and they shoot it with their gun, they're going to shoot the gold piece of it or they're going to shoot the four nine gold piece or three nine silver piece.

I think just like anything, the technology and the counterfeiters are getting more... Are benefiting from all of these technologies and just the way that we can build bars and things like that. I'm a part of a lot of different numismatic and bullion communities and it is reported. I'm not going to sit here and say it's a problem that's sweeping the whole industry, but it is a problem. And again, MintID kind of solved that.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, it's peace of mind, right? I mean, you were telling the story about this guy, he's got all of this money that's part of his retirement and you just feel for that guy because imagine the agony that would cause.

Corey Maita: It was heartbreaking, to be honest. And all we could do was again, show him, get the assay, get it all back to really prove to him, "Hey, look, this is what it is." So yeah.

Mike Maharrey: So how do you embed the chips? What's to stop somebody from just plucking it out? How does it work in terms of it being tamper-resistant?

Corey Maita: Yeah, so on the one ounce MintID rounds, each tube of 20 comes with a tamper-proof, tamper-evident NFC chip. So over the top of the tube we have a chip that goes over the tube and essentially says that this tube is sealed. When that seal gets broken and you scan the chip again, it's going to show that this tube has been opened. So for us, that's stock gap number one. Yes, but you would have to buy 20, you'd have to buy a full tube. Beyond that, each one of our products has a MintID, again, NFC encrypted chip on it.

We went through a lot of different adhesives. We've came up with the best one for our product. I can tell you it's not easy embedding a microchip on a big hunk of metal and getting it to work. So that was one of our big problems was, "Okay, well, we've got this, but how do we really make it work on metal?" So we solved that problem. And then as far as the chip, we protect the chip, we embed the chip slightly deeper than the surface of the bar, and there's a protective ring around it so the chip doesn't get damaged if it was in shipment or something like that. But in regard to someone peeling off the chip, yeah, I mean, we hope that when they peel off the chip that they break one of the security cuts, they break our antenna and that chip is dead. The chip is designed to die once it's removed.

There's also some other features in there that I can't share on how we can get that chip to break. But yeah, just like anything in this world, if you want to sit there and soak it in alcohol or water and peel it off and everything, yeah, I guess you can't do that, but at the end of the day, we go back to what MintID is and that's anti-counterfeiting. So why would somebody want to go through the hassle of buying a genuine MintID bar just to go through and do all of that to finally hopefully get it off, not break it, just so that they can only make one counterfeit bar. If I'm a counterfeiter, I want to go buy a bunch of old Republic Metals bars and I want to counterfeit all of those because, one, there's no money involved in doing it, and two, it's going to be something that has no counterfeiting on it. Why pick my product?

Mike Maharrey: Right. Yeah, that's a great point. I mean, there's no money in it for the counterfeiter when you really think about it like that, because like you said, you have to buy the bars individually to get the chips, so you're making no money. That's its own deterrent.

Corey Maita: Right. And then again, when you melt it, you get whatever the going rate is, 97% a spot. So again, it's MintID. A lot of people want to talk about the encryption, but at the end of the day, it's about deterring people from picking a MintID product to counterfeit because just 99, jeez, I guess 0.9% of the industry doesn't have any counterfeiting. And the people that do, I've been to the mints where they do UV inks. And literally it's a stencil and they spray UV ink on the bottom of a bar. Anyone can do that. I could run up to Michael's right now and get some UV spray.

Mike Maharrey: Right. Your company, and it's really a great entrepreneurial story because you have identified problems, a specific problem for the consumer, and come up with a way to solve that problem and then along the way, you've had to solve a lot of technical and engineering problems. You could probably write a book on entrepreneurial operations with what you've done here. It's pretty cool.

Corey Maita: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, it definitely wasn't easy, especially in the early days of NFC. I mean, Apple wouldn't let us touch anything NFC. So back in the day, one, I'm talking with chip companies all over the world, which there's not many here. So was I surprised when we had a chip shortage for automobiles? No, I was not surprised in any capacity that we had a chip shortage because yeah, it was in the early days. It's really flying all over the world trying to meet with people to see if we can make this happen, and yeah, finally got done.

Mike Maharrey: I want to touch on one more thing before we go. You do sell some products that are not with the NFCs, and we sell several of those. And one of the things that was brought to my attention just recently because we ran a promotion on it, is the breakable one ounce pop bullion round, which, if people can imagine, it kind of looks like a pie that's been cut into four pieces that you can literally break into pieces that would be ideal for a barter situation. How'd you come up with that idea?

Corey Maita: Yeah. Being in business, obviously I know that MintID is not going to be for everybody, and that's okay. But I definitely still work with an amazing group of people that helped me bring some of my thoughts and creations to life here. But yeah, yeah, pop bullion kind of came about because anything divisible was really just coming out of Switzerland. And the premiums on that are honestly very high compared to anything else that we make here in the US. I definitely think that people like it. I mean, it really goes straight at the whole stacking mentality and what if we have to use this to barter with in the future.

So yeah, we started pop, it's been amazing. I know you guys are just crushing it in this first week of sales, but it really, for me, pop, I think is just really cool in one sense that you can really break this round and make it four quarter ounce pieces. And then I think it also solves this problem of being really expensive and it's a USA made product. There's some other fantastic stuff that's coming from overseas, but it's just expensive. And with silver, we don't like those big premiums. So yeah, we've got five ounce, 10 ounce pop in store for everybody. So one ounce was kind of the first go round of the series. But yeah, we're excited for it.

Mike Maharrey: Yeah, I really like that idea and it definitely targets a kind of a certain type of stacker who is concerned about the... I hate the word preppers because it has kind of a negative connotation, although I think everybody should be a prepper in terms of just being aware of the possibility of anything from civil unrest to financial collapse. We both live in Florida, the hurricane, where all of a sudden you can't use credit cards and whatnot. So yeah, definitely solves the problem for folks, and that's one of the objections you will sometimes get when you start talking about gold and silver as sound money. People will say, "Well, it's just not practical carrying around ounces of silver or ounces of gold," and this solves that problem in a very real way. So I really think that's a neat innovation.

Corey Maita: Yeah, no, you get twofold, right? I mean, you get... If that's you and you want to quote, unquote, prep, or have the ability to barter one day, or if you just want to invest in silver, you've kind of got both in one product. But I think that's why it's doing so well. And we try to be fair. I mean, you guys have priced it very fair. It does take longer. It's definitely a longer strike as far as the minting process. We're using a ton of pressure, we're breaking dyes. So again, the response has been amazing. And again, I think it's affordable.

Mike Maharrey: So where can folks... If people were going to say, "Hey, I'd like to know more about this Corey guy and this innovation that he's come up with," where would you send people to make their first stop to learn more about the MintID products?

Corey Maita: Yeah, definitely our website, MintID.com. We've got everything about the technology, all of our videos to use the app are there. And then you can see essentially our whole product line. We just don't do silver. We encapsulate gold American Eagles, buffaloes, pretty much every of the major sovereign minted gold into our encrypted packaging, which nobody is doing. But yeah, MintID.com, and anything else at Bullionworks.com, you can see kind of everything we've got. We just released a new 10 ounce hexagon warrior, which Money Metals has done very well with. We've got the one ounce warrior, we have pop. So yeah.

Mike Maharrey: I was looking at the warrior on our website. That's a beautiful, beautiful coin. It's really unique with kind of the angled... It's a Pentagon, right? Or Hexagon.

Corey Maita: Yeah, yeah, hexagon. Again, it's something different. We've been just seeing rectangular bars your whole career. It's definitely something different. And when we had that Indian sculpted, we really knew like, "Okay, we need to do something for this Indian Chief's face. We need a different... We can't fit this on a rectangle. We need something big." And so that's what we did with the Warrior Hexagon.

Mike Maharrey: Well, it's a gorgeous piece and just really a fascinating business. And kudos to you for developing this. I know, again, it's meeting needs and that's what good business is all about. So really appreciate the work you're doing and excited that we're able to feature some of your products. And again, thank you so much for taking a little bit of time out of your day to hang out and chat. It's been informative and I appreciate it.

Corey Maita: Yeah, no, thanks for having me, and obviously appreciate Money Metals for carrying our lines.

Mike Maharrey: All right, well, you have a great day and I thank you very much.

Corey Maita: All right, thanks, Mike.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that interview. And I’m sure many of you have noticed that Money Metals has a wide range of MintIDBuffalo Warrior and now the Pop Bullion products – all of which are part of the unique technology and designs offered by Bullion Works and MintID. Check out MoneyMetals.com for pricing and availability on any of these excellent products and grab some today.

Well, that will do it for this week. Be sure to check back next Friday for our next Weekly Market Wrap Podcast. And don’t forget to tune into the Money Metals Midweek Memo, hosted by Mike Maharrey as well. To listen to any of our audio programs just go to MoneyMetals.com/podcasts or find them on whatever podcast platform you prefer.

Until next time, this has been Mike Gleason with Money Metals Exchange, thanks for listening and have a wonderful weekend everybody.

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Mike Gleason is a Director with Money Metals Exchange, a national precious metals dealer with over 50,000 customers. Gleason is a hard money advocate and a strong proponent of personal liberty, limited government and the Austrian School of Economics. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason has extensive experience in management, sales and logistics as well as precious metals investing. He also puts his longtime broadcasting background to good use, hosting a weekly precious metals podcast since 2011, a program listened to by tens of thousands each week.


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