For some, bitcoin is the creme de la creme of assets. Others say its gold. But is one really better than the other?
The meteoric rise in bitcoin’s price over these past few weeks has re-ignited this debate. As you might expect, there has been no shortage of opinion about the topic.
Bitcoin has often been coined ‘digital gold’ if not ‘peer-to-peer gold.’ And just last week, a highly discussed video by the digital currency asset company Greyscale added additional fuel to the ongoing dialogue surrounding this theme.
Prominent Bitcoin investor Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of the Digital Currency Group, parent of Greyscale offered his sentiments by tweeting:
This led noted gold bug Peter Schiff to tweet:
Schiff is an interesting voice in this debate. Some consider him to be a bit of a curmudgeon while in other camps, he is seen as a brilliant observer of markets.
He has been notorious though in his antipathy toward bitcoin. Schiff advocates for gold noting its history back to around 600 BC as evidence of its utility over bitcoin. And he often cites Adam Perlaky, Manager of Investment Research of the World Gold Council (WGC), whose report provides a thumbs up to gold’s advantages.
Schiff says that cryptocurrency while having some remarkable periods of performance has also experienced some massive declines during periods when it should have been thriving. Specifically, he notes that it failed as a hedge when markets were in a downward spiral in 2018.
Moreover, he says, it mirrored tech stock, declining 55% during the fourth quarter of that year. During this time, he says, gold was significantly up.
A Clear Argument For One Over The Other?
Mati Greenspan, Senior Market Analyst at eToro, one of the world’s leading social trading platform says that he is irked by the fact that this debate is even taking place.
In an email to Bitcoinist, he had this to say:
Bitcoin is often referred to as digital gold because it shares many similarities with physical gold. It’s a good analogy but we have to remember that they belong in two distinct asset classes. One is an emerging technology and the other is a traditional commodity. Though they share similar properties, the markets for the two assets are completely different.
Greenspan goes on to note that gold and bitcoin are stores of value, hedges against extended risk, and independent of central banks and governments. Both of their values, he says, are largely driven by scarcity and speculation.
They have similar properties, but each has distinct benefits. For example, bitcoin can be digitally transmitted across borders, while gold is used in jewelry and electronics.
Schiff would likely agree with Greenspan’s views while at the same time advocating the following closing thought:
While bitcoin and other cryptos may have some appeal to investors, it’s clearly not a replacement for precious metals.
Do you agree with Schiff that precious metals won’t be obsolete as an investment? Share your thoughts below!
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