With Switzerland edging toward an important referendum on its gold holdings, high-profile critics and advocates have added their voices to the argument. Meanwhile, the country's citizens have been quietly increasing their own personal reserves.
On Sunday, voters in the European country will head to the polls to decide whether the Swiss National Bank (SNB) should refrain from selling any more of its gold and instead boost its gold holdings from 7 to 20 percent.
The initiative is being proposed by the ultra-conservative Swiss People's party with the intention of boosting the security and independence of Switzerland. However, the idea has one very notable critic in Willem Buiter, the chief economist at the U.S. investment bank Citi, who has deemed the commodity to be in a 6,000-year bubble.
"No central bank should hold any gold reserves, in our view," he said in a research note released on Thursday. Buiter urges caution, saying that a central bank holding 20 percent of its balance sheet in any single commodity is "highly unorthodox" and a "risky investment strategy."
"Investing a vast amount of money in something whose value is based on nothing more than a set of self-confirming beliefs will make for an exciting ride. Whether that is enough to impose it as a requirement on one's central bank is another matter," he added.