The theft of the century
Argentina has the characteristic of making films based on real events with their uniqueness, peculiarity and their own jargon, so when a foreigner can watch films (or series, even) from this country, he or she is absorbed by seeing a world out of the ordinary with the most colourful nuances. In fact, one of the last Argentine films I saw was “The Robbery of the Century” (2020), which tells the story of one of the most ingenious and sophisticated robberies in Argentine history, where the violence was actually staged. In effect, the sophistication consisted of using toy guns, which made the robbery more of a “psychological” type, staging a sort of play so that not only did they have to think about the “technical” of making a tunnel, but also the “psychological,” which was to deceive the hundreds of police officers who would be outside.
I looked up the details of the case, and it turns out that the company guarding the goods was none other than Brink’s Company (NYSE: BCO). For those of you who are not familiar with Brink’s Company (NYSE: BCO), it is a company that specializes in the secure transportation and handling of valuables across the entire logistics value chain, from raw materials and components to final products within the mining, banknote, precious metals, jewelry, art and industries.
But to talk about Brink’s Company (NYSE: BCO), you have to go back to 5 May 1859, the day it was founded, with Perry Brink as its founder. As early as 1900, Brinks made its first bank delivery: 6 bags of silver dollars and thus became the world’s first money carrier. It already had 85 carriages and 200 horses, and the Operations Manager was a veterinary surgeon, but in 1904, with advancements, the petrol-powered Knox model carriage was the first motorized vehicle put into service by Brinks. This vehicle ran at 40 km per hour and replaced 12 horsepower.
By 1961, international expansion had begun with the installation of new subsidiaries in Europe and in 1966, Brink’s Company (NYSE: BCO) entered the Latin American market, opening a subsidiary in Brazil. In 1970 it opened new subsidiaries in Venezuela and Mexico, and by 2008, the company had invested US$140 million in the expansion of its global operations. One of the variables that have allowed Brinks to stay in business for 150 years is its employees.
The company recognizes their fundamental value in the development of the business and allocates significant resources and efforts to training programmes at all levels through which it tries to ensure that each of the people who work at Brinks returns home safe and sound every day. Specifically in Argentina, since 2005, they have had a collection solution for SMEs, something unprecedented for the market worldwide. In this way, small and medium-sized Argentinean companies were able to access services that were previously reserved only for large companies and banks.
Brink’s Argentina was also a pioneer in the launch of two services that later gained international acceptance. On the one hand, Carga Segura, an innovative service for the transport of valuable or sensitive goods in large armoured trucks. And also CompuSafe, an innovative solution comprising of smart safes with note readers, the collection service in an armoured truck, and a management software that allows the client to monitor the process at any time and from anywhere via the Internet.
But now, a new challenge looms, how to cope with the advancement of technology if cash becomes obsolete in the future or if digital money becomes more prevalent than it is today. Brink’s Company (NYSE: BCO) thought about that too and partnered with digital asset custody startup METACO to transport private keys and store them in Brink’s secure vaults. Brink’s offering is part of METACO’s backup and disaster recovery framework and will help store private keys.
Given that institutional digital asset holdings can have very significant financial value, there is generally no single private key that can be used to recover assets. Instead, private keys are effectively fragmented, requiring multiple pieces to be involved in restoring digital asset holdings. In the case of METACO, these key fragments are stored on smart cards and Brink’s will transport and store the smart cards in multiple vaults. There is no doubt that this innovation can bring great benefits, and probably, those who decide to commit a criminal act must become much more sophisticated, perhaps even more so than the perpetrators of the “robbery of the century” in 2006.