Historically, gold has played a major role in the economies of many nations. Although it is no longer a primary form of currency, gold is still a solid, long-term investment and may be a valuable portfolio addition, particularly in a bear market.
Gold was considered a universal currency for hundreds of years. Due to its recognized value worldwide, a gold standard was used as far back as the Byzantine Empire over 1,500 years ago. Until recently, in fact, gold was used as the world reserve currency.