Over the past few months, Bitcoin (BTC) has been lauded by economists, investors, and commentators as an up-and-coming “safe haven” asset.
You see, during a period of global turmoil, the cryptocurrency has managed to outpace effectively every other asset class in the books.
Related Reading: What is Driving the Bitcoin Price Under $10,000? Crypto VC Weighs In
As reported by NewsBTC, since the U.S. kicked off its latest trade war with its economic rival, China, Bitcoin has gained 105%. While this number means nothing on its own, the average asset class that Grayscale surveyed — stocks, bonds, and foreign currencies included — actually lost 0.5% in the same time frame.
Thus, from an outside-looking-in perspective, it may seem like BTC is totally unaffected by macro events, hence the “digital gold” classification.
But wait, that narrative may be somewhat wrong. Here’s why.
Bitcoin & Dow Jones Reverse in Step
As this outlet has covered, the cryptocurrency market has been absolutely hammered over the past week. Per data from Coin360, Bitcoin, at $9,500 as of the time of writing, has shed 20% in the past week, which is a weekly move that likely reminds many of 2018. And that’s for good reason.
NewsBTC’s Joseph Young recently noted that the U.S. equities market (the Dow Jones and the S&P 500) shed 3% during Wednesday’s session. This is massive, especially in a market worth trillions.
U.S. equities market plunged overnight (Dow Jones down 3% in a single session).
There’s obviously no correlation between bitcoin and the global equities market [yet].
But still worth considering the theory put out by Cathie Wood in Dec 2018.https://t.co/Bafm89yScC
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) August 15, 2019
Of course, this coincided with a massive sell-off in the price of Bitcoin, as Bloomberg, Joseph, and other individuals/outlets have observed.
While this could just be an untimely coincidence, it is important to note that a similar trend occurred back in December 2018.
During the infamous crypto capitulation event, BTC tumbled all the way to $3,150 from $6,000, as stocks, especially risk-on technology shares, shed around 20%.
Related Reading: Investment Analyst: “Bitcoin has Become the Standard of All Crypto” and a “Convenient Safe-Haven”
Again, this could have been an eerie freak accident, but analysts have claimed that it goes deeper than that. During 2018, the chief executive of pro-innovation ARK Invest, Cathie Wood, suggested that during global scares, “people sell their most experimental assets, such as bitcoin and other cryptoassets” (quote from Chris Burniske, who paraphrased Wood).
6/ @CathieDWood pointed out to me that in Dec 2018 $BTC was maybe more affected by the global macro scare than people realized.
In such a scare, people sell their most experimental assets, such as #bitcoin and other #cryptoassets (exacerbated by endogenous doubt).
— Chris Burniske (@cburniske) June 15, 2019
Indeed. Certain analysts, like those from crypto research outfit Delphi Digital, have suggested that while Bitcoin is likely to benefit from a recession or stock market downturn, BTC will first be sold off, resulting in a short to medium-term collapse in the value of cryptocurrencies.
But, once central banks and similar entities look to try and revive the economy, they will implement policies that are beneficial to Bitcoin, like low-interest rates, money printing, and so on and so forth.
But… But… Isn’t BTC a Safe Haven?
This may leave you wondering about Bitcoin’s safe haven status. Over the past few weeks, countless individuals have taken to mainstream media outlets and to social media hubs to talk up the cryptocurrency as a safe haven against geopolitical and macroeconomic unrest.
Considering the aforementioned correlation, however, you may think that these pundits are all wrong. Well yes and no.
Bitcoin can be a hedge against overreaching governments, hyperinflation, and capital controls because of its inherent decentralized, scarce, sovereign, and global nature. But, it may also be susceptible to a collapse triggered by a stock sell-off.
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