[Update: Edited to include comments from Serica CEO Taariq Lewis on their future plans, they can be found at the end of the piece]

Serica will stop offering digital versions of precious metals and hard assets. The company announced today in an email to the media that effective this month, it will no longer be offering precious metals and hard assets on the blockchain. Their website now makes references to reducing the cost of healthcare through the blockchain, but it is not immediately clear what that will entail.

Serica trading currently touts “Peer-to-Peer Payment Innovation for Healthcare” on its front page, which would be quite a change from digital assets. References to their asset marketplace have been removed for non-users, but it can still be found by logging in.

Serica

Serica, formerly Digital Tangible, was the first site to offer digital versions of physical assets on the blockchain through their wallet. They used CounterParty to accomplish this and was an impressive early example of Bitcoin 2.0 technology. The space has since become more competitive with Uphold (formerly BitReserve) and BitGold. It is unclear if increased competition had anything to do with the decision but it was something CEO Taariq Lewis did allude to in his statement:

“We were lucky to have the early adopters of new blockchain services come to us to make the impossible a reality: Hard assets secured by the blockchain with easy Peer-to-Peer trading. However, we are exiting this market to identify new opportunities in FinTech on which we can continue our company’s growth. There are many others doing great work in this space and we think they will continue building where we have left off.”

Serica asks customers to login to their accounts and “secure” their assets by December 21. We have reached out to Serica for comments on their future plans and for specifics on how they plan to help their customers leave Serica for other platforms and are awaiting a response. We will have more as information becomes available.

Serica CEO Taariq Lewis gave us this quote, giving a general sense of where his company may go in the future.

“Currently, we are exploring various new models,
including health tourism.

Problem: How to make it easy for someone in the United States to pay for
much lower cost, but quality healthcare options in such countries as:

* Philippines
* Singapore
* Cuba

We are exploring a world in which access to care is not just cheaper,
but much easier for those with expensive and chronic illnesses that will
plague the aging baby boomer generation, but which funding resources
simply will not cover.

We’re starting where there’s acute demand to make it easy to access
lower cost care, globally. The blockchain will make that a possibility.”

We will keep an eye out for future developments from Serica.

[Photos modified from: Scott D. Sullivan and CNG]