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The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis with operations conducted out of Florida, USA. E-gold was founded by oncologist Douglas Jackson and attorney Barry Downey in 1996. The pair originally backed the services accounts with gold coins stored in a bank safe deposit box in Melbourne, Florida. By 2004, there were over a million accounts. After initial demonstration of an e-gold Spend via Palm Pilot in February 1999, e-gold introduced support for wireless mobile payments.
SR, to the financial risks attendant to provision of exchange services. In 2000, the system was re-structured to effect a separation of currency exchange activities from the core functions of e-metal issuance and settlement of transfers. SR devolved ownership and responsibility for these core functions to e-gold Ltd. E-gold, which allowed transactions as small as one ten-thousandth of a gram of gold, was also the world’s only successful micropayment system. The company’s payment statistics were published live and showed hundreds of thousands of micro-transactions were being made daily by computer programs using the API.
E-gold was unique at the time in that they created the “e-gold Special Purpose Trust” which held title to the physical bullion on behalf of the users. E-gold’s early success may have contributed to its demise. E-gold’s store of value and large user base made it an early target of financial malware and phishing scams by increasingly organized criminal syndicates. The first known phishing attack against a financial institution was made against members of the e-gold mailing list in June 2001. Failing to prospectively verify the identity of account holders, e-gold began to suffer from an increasing rate of criminal activity mainly perpetrated by Russian and Ukrainian hackers against its users.
Jackson’s theory was that e-gold is a book entry system with account histories, making it simple to conduct an investigation to track down and identify users who had engaged in illicit activity after the fact. Various fraud artists from Western countries were also able to take advantage of the e-gold system as a means of funding their schemes, enabling for the first time in history, international Ponzi schemes. These criminal syndicates preferred their victims to pay in e-gold because it was the fastest and easiest way for them to move the funds overseas. The increase of online crime linked to e-gold led to complaints to government authorities by defrauded account holders, who often did not understand the difference between e-gold and the fraudulent person or company that encouraged them to open an e-gold account and wire money to fund it. As an online transactions system with exchange agents worldwide, e-gold enabled criminals and hackers in Romania to move money quickly and easily from victims in America back to the country from which the attacks were originating. Several of the cyber crime gangs that plagued and used e-gold were based in Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania. E-gold was unknowingly part of a larger systemic problem with the banking system.