What is a Hard Payment?

"Get paid, stay paid"

 

A hard payment is an irrevocable transaction.  All completed transactions with iGolder are final, and there is no such thing as a chargeback or payment reversal.  To make gold transfers as safe as possible, we do provide numerous tools to protect both the buyer and the seller.

 

  • Safetransit™ - The buyer and seller negotiate the transaction terms directly with each other, via our secure encrypted recorded chat, or by uploading a document describing the performance obligations of each party.  The buyer initiates the payment, however iGolder holds the transfer until obligations have been fulfilled by the seller.  The buyer has control to release the holding and complete the transfer, protecting him from non-shipment or misrepresentation of merchandise.  The buyer cannot recover any gold without the consent of the seller, or by filing a dispute and "winning" the arbitration.  Any disputes regarding the goods or services are professionally resolved before the payment is released, and once the transfer is complete, there is no possible payment reversal.  The seller is also protected, because the delivery of the good or service guarantees the release of payment with no chance of a chargeback.

  • Dispute Reserve - A merchant may voluntary set aside a quantity of gold into a special account for dispute resolutions.  The first benefit of having a dispute reserve is a reduction of all transfer fees.  If a member is an active trader, then the dispute reserve pays itself within months.  The other benefit of having a dispute reserve is customer goodwill and improved reputation.  You have the option to disclose the amount of dispute reserve on your public profile, reassuring your customers about your commitment to excellence.  If a dispute ever arise outside of the Safetransit agreement, the arbitrator is implicitly authorized to transfer gold from this special reserve account to compensate the buyer.  The amount transferred cannot be larger than the original transaction value.  Also, under no circumstances, the arbitrator (or iGolder) is allowed to take gold from any other sub-account to compensate the buyer.  If a merchant does not supply a dispute reserve, then the arbitrator can only render a verdict with a recommendation of making a refund to the customer.  The merchant is strongly recommended to comply with the verdict, otherwise the merchant faces the risk of being downgraded as Unreliable (further details below).

    iGolder requires a dispute reserve for merchants offering special services, such as our "approved exchangers".  For instance, a merchant selling debit cards is required to provide a minimum of 100 grams of gold as a dispute reserve, simply to be listed as an approved debit card provider.  This way, if a member purchases a debit card which is not working, and the merchant does nothing to resolve the situation, then the arbitrator will have 100 grams of gold available to compensate the buyer.

  • Reputation Score / Karma - Each member has a reputation based on the satisfaction of his customers.  Although a payment may be irreversible, a buyer may always write a negative review about the seller.  Each negative rating subtracts 10 Karma points, while each positive rating adds a single Karma point.   iGolder always displays the Karma value next to the business name.  A low reputation score (Karma) usually has a negative impact on sales because customers may become suspicious about the trustworthiness of the seller and choose a competitor instead.  A member may also earn a Demerit Point for being dishonest.  Each demerit point subtracts 100 Karma points and increases all transfers fees for a period of 6 months. It pays to maintain a good reputation at iGolder.
     
  • Unreliable Member -  Refusing to comply with the verdict of the arbitrator may lead to a complete reputation downgrade.  iGolder has a private arbitration mechanism where both parties can choose an arbitrator, provided they agree on one.  If none, then iGolder will become the final arbitrator of the dispute.  It is in our interest to have a system as fair as possible, because we want to keep all our members.  Ideally, we aim to reconcile both parties, where the buyer and seller will find beneficial to trade again, leaving behind the dispute as a quarrel of the past.  Unfortunately, sometimes it is impossible to reconcile both parties, and this is where enforcement of arbitration is necessary.  Since iGolder will never reverse a payment, we have provisions to put pressure on the faulty member to comply.  If a member refuses to comply with the arbitrator's verdict, then the member's account will be downgraded to the status of Unreliable.
    • An unreliable member immediately receives lowest reputation Karma value and all his transactions fees are increased to 5% for a period of 6 months.  It becomes therefore more expensive for the unreliable member to trade with others, and the total cost of being unreliable can be measured in grams of gold at the end of the 6-month period.
    • An unreliable member is no longer allowed to use any arbitration services provided by iGolder a period of 6 months.  Therefore the unreliable member cannot initiate disputes, nor effectively use the Safetransit tool, thus making him on his own if a problem occurs.
    • An Unreliable Warning is issued for every transaction made by the unreliable member, whatever he wants to buy, sell or exchange gold.  For a period of 6 months, a warning message is sent by email to any other party wishing to transact with him. The other party must manually acknowledge the desire to carry on the trade in order to complete the transaction.  Such email message is a powerful tool to pressure the recalcitrant merchant to comply with the arbitration verdict, because other members may ask for higher fees or even boycott him for breaking the rules.

Our goal is providing a cost-effective mean to enforce arbitration decisions to increase fairness when resolving disputes.  Over-punishing a member for ignoring an arbitrator's decision is not fair either.  We are all humans and make mistakes.  Although the arbitrator is impartial, meaning he/she does not take sides, the arbitrator does not have perfect knowledge of the dispute situation and may render an incorrect verdict.  For further details on arbitration, visit Dispute Resolutions.

 

Although iGolder is a hard payment system, there are few exceptions where iGolder may revert such payment:

  • Unauthorized Transaction - A crook has stolen the password of another member and made a gold transfer for himself.  Since the transaction was not authorized by the account owner, the transaction is voided, and the gold is returned to the legitimate owner.  The crook is also permanently banned from using iGolder.
     
  • Theft Towards an Exchange Provider - Our preferred exchangers have access to a special alarm trigger to report theft, such as an individual purchasing gold with a fraudulent check or a stolen credit card.  Only our most trusted exchangers may access to this special trigger, enabling them to freeze an account until investigation.  The exchange provider can only freeze an account he transferred gold, so this trigger is limited in scope.  The exchanger must also give a detailed description about the payment so iGolder can investigate by asking the buyer to prove the payment cleared and/or the credit card transaction went through.  If the exchanger was indeed victim of theft, then iGolder will return the gold to the exchanger and permanently ban the fraudulent member.  If the exchanger abuses of this feature, such as triggering a false alarm, then he will lose our protection and will earn several demerit points.  Just to make it clear, this option is only for our trusted members exchanging fiat money to digital gold.  Regular members buying and/or selling goods and services do not have access to this alarm trigger - they are protected with the Safetransit™ tool.

  • Threats, Extortion and/or Coercion - Extortion is forcing someone to accept a contract under threat of use of force.  Without coercion, the contract would be valid, however the use of force or the thread of using force makes the contract null and void.  At iGolder, a member may contact our staff regarding extortion.  Each extortion claim is handled on a case-by-case basis, typically requiring the plaintiff to provide an affidavit before iGolder freezes the account of the presumed criminal.  iGolder takes all cases of extortion very seriously and will investigate the facts and act accordingly.  An example of extortion would involve the kidnapping of a child and asking a ransom.  Common sense tells us the "contract" is not valid and therefore revert the payment.  iGolder will also assist law enforcement agencies and testify as a witness of such crime.
     
  • Criminal Activity - iGolder may intervene in a payment transfer regarding a criminal activity.  For instance, if a member hires a hitman to murder someone else, then we will not allow the hitman to keep any gold, and we will not return the gold to the member who hired the hitman.  Common sense goes really far with us, and in such a case, we consider both members guilty of the same crime.  We will do our best to make things right with any "victims" we can locate as well as assisting law-enforcement agencies catching both criminals.

 

We sincerely hope to never revert any payment, however we are fully prepared doing so.  We won't let criminals get away with crime proceeds.

 

Since August 1st, 2013 iGolder is no longer accepting new accounts and balances can only be redeemed. During the past years, we have been recommending Bitcoin more than our own payment system. We believe in physical gold ownership, and developed iGolder as a mechanism for people to acquire physical gold by trading with one another.

Since iGolder has a central point of failure (our server may be raided by thugs wearing some kind of uniform), we feet it is safer for us to cease operations. The iGolder experiment has been personally rewarding as we met many gold enthusiasts and also learned about Bitcoin in the process. For those who have no idea what Bitcoin is, we recommend doing your own research. Bitcoin is far superior to iGolder in every way, both in privacy and security as our server is always vulnerable to confiscation. Bitcoin is a communication protocol with a built-in "escrow service" capable of protecting both the buyer and the seller, rendering our Safetransit completely redundant. To learn more about the Bitcoin protocol and its feature, please watch "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD4L7xDNCmA (Bitcoin 2012 London: Mike Hearn).

For those having gold in their iGolder account, we will ship the physical metal to anyone having more than 1 ounce of gold, assuming the owner is willing to assume the shipping costs. For smaller quantities, we offer to settle in Bitcoin, however we will also settle with any other reasonable payment system. We will give everyone at least two full years (until 2016) to contact us to claim their gold. After that period, any unclaimed gold will go to fund an economic development project in Honduras helping local people to become entrepreneurs.

We sincerely wish you the best in life and hope to keep in contact with you.

Yours in liberty,
The iGolder Team.


Update 2014: Since we announced we no longer accept gold transfers, we have received countless emails asking to keep the free gold charts and the PGP encryption tools. We plan to keep running the domain iGolder.com for both the gold charts and the encryption tools. Better, we are developing state of the art open-source software for a secure decentralized social network with a built-in wallet. We will announce when we have a product ready for use. Stay tuned!