e-gold is a digital gold currency system which allows the instant transfer of gold ownership between users. All the money is backed by physical gold bullion which is kept in storage. I like this system and think it is one which will expand especially as holding a little gold or other metal is often a good hedging strategy to reduce the risk of adverse currency movements. In addition to gold bullion, you can also use other metals such as silver, platinum and palladium.
In 2007/8 the system founds itself in trouble with the US authorities for allowing fraudulent transactions to pass through e-gold. They pled guilty and fixed themselves up and are now back with a new owner and making big steps and alliances in order to gain a bigger share of the transaction market. The system is currently not taking new subscribers but stay tuned as it should come back way more secure than before.
E-gold is a global system and can be used from anywhere. For a merchant, you sign up and can start accepting e-gold payments on your website by adding a shopping cart. It is free to send money but the person receiving money pays a fee. The fee is broken up into two parts, an Agio Fee (account fee) and a Spend fee (transaction fee). The agio fee is 1% per year and is charged monthly based on you average balance of gold and the spend fee is determined by the payment size which is measured in grams of gold (AUD).