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Dr. Thomas Kaplan Chairman, Board of Directors
For decades, investors who are said to espouse a belief in
gold as a reliable and attractive store of value have had conferred upon them the epithet “goldbugs” in a nod to their supposed – and presumably flawed – ardor for the hard money thesis. Even those like myself, who are not captured by what John Paulson and I call “gold feevah” and hold no more than a common-sense conviction that there is room in every portfolio for a time-tested currency
that cannot be printed by fiat, have been given this label. As we of sound mind – including those as avowedly hyper-rational as Ray Dalio – are wont to say, being a proponent of having some gold among one’s cash is just prudence. Nevertheless, until recently
in my experience, the emotionalism of gold’s detractors has
been more viscerally marked by intolerance than that of gold’s adherents. After all, no other asset class is met with such wide- ranging disdain that its advocates are referred to as, well...insects. Until perhaps now, that is.
For if those positive on gold are somehow creepy-crawly
(a very British way of referring to bugs, worms, and the like), how soon will it be that those bullish on cryptocurrencies – for many of the same reasons that gold bulls promote the yellow metal – are referred to, affectionately of course, as Bitbugs? After all, the febrile religiosity and unbridled passion characterizing those whirling dervishes of what I shall hereinafter refer to as “crypto” is something that would make the merely pious goldbug blush.
The new insecta are so famously loyal to their cause that they have developed mantras (e.g. HODL) while some of the most serious and
reputable of their devotees are getting actual tattoos on their exoskeletons to reinforce and further advertise their affinity as new highs in the prices of crypto are being reached. Though such rituals may exist in the niche that is the precious metals sector, other than a knowing wink with my fellow travelers in the space, I for one have never been privy to a secret handshake among gold’s proponents, and certainly not any symbols of gang affiliation. Can one imagine the sheer contempt that would follow a gold bull like John Hathaway revealing he had piercings or body art applied to celebrate his prescient early calls on the noble metal? We do live in strange times, but, as the French would say, quand même...
I know what it is like to make 10 times my money, even 100 times and, once, 200 times. So I am not one of those people
who cries “Bubble!” when people are scoring a big win. To the contrary, actually. So let me be really clear: I come here not to bury the Caesar that is crypto, but rather to praise it. And of course,
in that praise, to reflect upon what the impressive ascendancy of cryptocurrencies suggests about precious metals and thus NOVAGOLD – the vehicle which I have come to love more and more. Were this not to be the case, I would put NOVAGOLD into play and pivot to something else. I won’t, because it is by far the best gold story from my vantage point and I simply would not know how to replace its attributes.
While I shall get back to some of the more philosophical musings on the crypto/gold narrative a bit further into this letter, let us begin with how the NOVAGOLD story itself only got better in 2020. Much better, in fact. For some of our new investors – some of whom are quite large – I feel compelled to repeat an inescapable conclusion that guides my thinking about why I believe our company constitutes the finest way to play gold.
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The jurisdictional risk map is derived from the top 10 (lower risk) and bottom 10 (extreme risk) of 77 jurisdictions reviewed in the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies, 2020. Alaska is ranked number 5.

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