"What are gold & silver backed by? They're just metal. They have very little functional intrinsic value aside from the propensity to be used as jewelry and over-priced HDMI cables. Big deal."
Try 6000+ years of economic law. It is what the market has chosen and so be it. Metals like gold and silver are not only beautiful but rare, so supply is set but not limited as it can be mined. When a currency is backed by such a powerful force it cannot be inflated so your purchasing power will remain pretty much the same and in line with the true market value with any currency.
I like to use Diamonds as an example. They have about just as much function as gold. They are beautiful, can be used in some saws. They cost a pretty penny but when was the last time you have heard of someone making a diamond investment and not referencing spending high $$$ on a lucky lady? For one, Diamonds can be mass produced in factories, They really are not that rare at all, not an easy element to work with and divide, not as durable, and appraising requires gem knowledge unlike set value per/oz like metals.
in the natural world gold and silver have made their way to the top for a reason. not shells which can be crushed, not food and spices which expire definitely, not lumber because it can be grown, and not fiat because it can be grown or replaced or imagined. Metals cannot be synthesized in a lab or created without the help of high energy particle accelerators like the large hadron collider. gold and silver are among the least brittle of the precious metals making them the top choice for investors and circulation. Gold and silver will always be money on planet earth.