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Gold's role in the monetary system should not be questioned.

Or so says Tocqueville's John Hathaway, who thinks even central bankers view it as a currency. "You see central banks accumulation, they bought more gold in the last couple of years than they bought U.S. treasuries so they think it's money," he said in an interview at the Precious Metals Summit in Beaver Creek, Colorado. "They use it as a reserve because it is a reserve asset."

Hathaway has been a vocal critic of the Federal Reserve, noting that he doesn't expect much in the wake of the U.S. central bank's latest meeting. "There's all this drama about shrinking the Fed balance sheet. At the end of the day, they're not going to do anything," he said. "They've put themselves into a corner they can't get out of and if they try, they'll destabilize the equity market.'

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