What is Safetransit?

Safetransitâ„¢ is the name coined by iGolder to designate a conditional transfer of electronic gold delayed by a certain amount of time, ranging from one minute to several months.  The buyer may stop the transfer he initiated, thus protecting himself 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" by 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 a non-repudiable payment with no chance of a chargeback.

 

Optionally, the buyer and seller may 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. 

 

Safetransit is somewhat similar to an "escrow service", however different in many ways:

  • Safetransit is completely free.  There is no additional cost for making an instant payment or making a payment using the Safetransit tool.  Our Safetransit web interface is fully automated and does not require any work by the iGolder staff.  Of course, if a dispute occurs, then the buyer and seller must chip in to pay the arbitrator.
  • Safetransit has a built-in mechanism for closing a transaction at a chosen date.  Both the buyer and seller agree on a closing date for a transaction by specifying an anticipated number of days to fulfill the performance obligations.  If the buyer neglects to release the payment upon receiving the item, then the seller will nevertheless receive his gold at the closing date.
  • Without the consent of the seller, the buyer cannot recover any gold in Safetransit unless filing a dispute and winning by arbitration.
  • Any change in the Safetransit conditions must be accepted again by both parties.  Both parties may mutually change the amount of gold, the closing date, the performance conditions and the arbitrator.  When a change is made, an email is sent to the other party with a request to confirm his acceptance.  There are no limits on the number of amendments on a transaction in Safetransit.
  • Our intuitive web interface allows one party to upload the trade conditions and the other party to to digitally sign the contract, thus acknowledging he/she accepts the conditions.  The conditions may be any type of document (doc, pdf, jpg, mp3), in any language, describing the performance obligations of each party.  If the language is other than English, then both parties must agree on an arbitration specialist in case of a dispute, because iGolder will be unable to understand the trade conditions.
  • Safetransit includes a built-in private secure chat allowing parties to negotiate minute details.  This chat is recorded, and therefore can be used as witness in case of a dispute requiring arbitration.  The arbitration specialist will make a decision based on the uploaded document (if any) and the recorded chat conversations between buyer and seller in dispute.  The arbitration award is typically an amount of gold refunded to the buyer.
  • Both parties may pick a mediator or an arbitrator before making a trade, or at the moment of the dispute.  If the trade involves a contract, then the arbitrator may be designated in a clause of the contract, or from the iGolder website.  If a dispute arise and both parties are unable to agree on an arbitrator, then iGolder will appoint an arbitration specialist to resolve the dispute..
  • The seller may, at any time, give a partial or full refund to the buyer.  Sometimes an item is out of stock, or the requested service is actually cheaper than originally agreed, or perhaps the performance of the seller was not according to the conditions.  All partial refunds are instant, and the transfer fees are also reverted proportionally to the amount refunded.  If the seller gives a full refund, then the entire amount, including the transfer fees, will be returned to the buyer.

Safetransit Conditions

The Safetransit Conditions is the web interface to upload the trade conditions.  Usually a trade involves an exchange, where the buyer and seller have performance obligations to fulfill.  The Safetransit Conditions is a secure online docket keeping the trade conditions and instructions in case of a dispute.  Those documents may be accessed from any location through the internet.  Only the buyer or seller may access the Safetransit Conditions they agreed upon, unless both parties agree to invite someone else.  Filing a dispute automatically grants to the chosen arbitrator full access to the Safetransit Conditions.

 

The Safetransit Conditions may be expressed in one of the following way:

  • When making a payment, the buyer may write a short comment describing the payment conditions.  Sometimes, just writing the product number or the URL describing the product is sufficient.  This comment field is limited to 1,000 words of plain text.
  • Uploading a document containing the terms of the contract.  The document may be as long as desired and may contain full product specifications, including drawings if necessary.  The document may also specify the arbitration agreement in case of a dispute.
  • Using iGolder's private encrypted chat.  Sometimes negotiation of small contracts is much efficiently done by chat.  An example is hiring a graphic designer to create a new look for a website, or asking details about an item being sold.  The chat is recorded, so if a dispute arise, the chat conversation may be used as witness for arbitration.

With Safetransit, the buyer and seller set their own conditions.  iGolder will not intervene unless there is a dispute.  In the case of a dispute, iGolder simply transfers the transaction to the appointed arbitrator responsible for resolving the dispute.  iGolder respects your privacy and business practices.  Of course, if we become aware of a member using iGolder for criminal activities, then we will intervene and freeze the account until the issue has been resolved.

 

Safetransit is easy and intuitive to use.  Safetransit is absolutely free; there is no reason not to use it.

 

Safetransit Dispute Resolution

iGolder provides an web interface to designate another member trustworthy for dispute resolution.  The member may be a professional arbitration expert, or an individual working at a reputable law firm, or someone trusted as fair and just by both the buyer and seller.  The arbitrator must have an iGolder account so the web interface can transfer the disputed transaction to his account.  When a dispute occurs, the arbitrator receives an email about the disputed case.  The arbitrator has the option to accept the resolution of the dispute, or simply decline, meaning the buyer and seller must agree on another arbitrator.  When a dispute is accepted, the arbitrator can only award an amount of gold by refunding the buyer.   The arbitrator cannot keep any gold in Safetransit or from the Dispute Reserve for himself.  The arbitrator is paid from the amount of gold pledged when filing a dispute, which may happen to come from the dispute reserve, however the arbitrator has no access to the Dispute Reserve for himself.   By the way, the arbitration fee is typically one gram of gold plus 10% of the disputed amount.  This fee may be lower if the arbitrator is willing to resolve the dispute at a lower cost.  Many competing arbitrators may advertise lower fees for clear-cut disputes.  On the other hand, the dispute fee may also be higher if there are no arbitrator willing to arbitrate a very complex case involving a small amount in dispute.

 

If the parties are unable agree on a specialist, then iGolder becomes the final arbitrator of the dispute.  iGolder is not a specialist however.  If the dispute is small, we will do our best to make a fair decision, otherwise we will ask help from someone who is a specialist in the subject matter, or simply appoint an arbitrator to resolve the dispute.  There are plenty of professionals willing to resolve disputes, so there is no shortage here.  It is in our interest to render arbitration 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.

 

Example of Using Safetransit

Alice responds to a classified ad from Bob to purchase an antique furniture.  Both Alice and Bob are strangers and live the following dilemma: If Alice sends her payment to Bob, then there is always a risk Bob never delivers the furniture.  If Bob ships the furniture to Alice, then there is a risk she never sends her payment to him.

 

To solve this dilemma, Alice and Bob agree to use the Safetransit tool.  Alice initiates a transfer 100 grams of gold with a closing delay of 14 days.  Her Safetransit Conditions are simple: she simply upload a document containing the pictures posted on the classified ad, thus giving Alice a protection to receive the same furniture as advertised.

 

Bob ships the furniture to Alice using a third party shipping service.  Upon receiving the furniture, Alice discovers one item has been damaged by the shipping company.  She takes pictures of the damaged furniture and sends them to Bob.  Bob agrees the merchandise is no longer as described and offers a partial refund of 10 grams of gold to compensate for the damages.  The damaged furniture can be easily repaired for perhaps 5 or 6 grams of gold, so Alice is happy about Bob's deal.  Alice therefore closes the transaction, thus releasing 90 grams of gold to Bob.

 

At iGolder, the seller is responsible to adequately package the product to withstand shipping. In the example above, the shipping company damaged the furniture.  When Bob contacted the shipping company, the representative acknowledged being faulty.  After all, the box wrapping the furniture was severely scratched, clearly demonstrating careless manipulation by the employees.  The shipping company gave a refund to Bob covering costs to repair the damaged furniture.  Although Bob is responsible for the shipping, he lost nothing because the shipping company was at fault, and therefore paid for the damages.  Perhaps the shipping company will instruct its employees to be more careful in the future.  Poor performance is costly and is damaging to reputation.  Sometimes the shipping company may refuse to pay for its poor performance (damages), nevertheless it is the seller responsibility to pick a reputable shipping company.  A shipping company damaging merchandise may loose valuable customers and eventually risk going out of business.

 

 

Cancellation Provision

A feature complement to Safetransit is the Cancellation Provision.  In a nutshell, the buyer and seller may negotiate an amount of gold as collateral in case one party cancels the transaction.  The party cancelling the transaction pays to the other party the amount specified in the Cancellation Provision.

 

 

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!