Bitcoin is frequently compared to gold. But it’s not an either/or proposition… and I’ll tell you why.
Indeed, gold and bitcoin are the only two widely distributed, decentralised methods of exchanging value as currency. There is no central authority issuance like there is with U.S. dollars or any other fiat currency.
Likewise, neither bitcoin nor gold can just be “printed” at the push of a button by an anxious central banker. You have to either earn your gold by mining it – which is also what you do to get bitcoin, but with computers instead of picks and shovels – or you can pay cash for it. But there’s one big difference between the two…
Gold is the very opposite of new technology
Gold is a physical, tangible and real asset.
You can pick it up and feel its satisfying weight in your hand. It can’t be altered. Gold is gold. Once I own it, that’s it. I don’t need to rely on a functioning internet. I don’t need a computer. It’s pure, tangible value.
And gold has unquestionably been money for thousands of years. A gold coin can still sit in my pocket, even while I might be fending off mobs, zombies, nuclear winter or hordes of cockroaches.
On the other hand, bitcoin is nothing more than a code that exists somewhere on the internet. You can’t pick it up and put it in your pocket. If you lose that code… you lose your bitcoin.
Bitcoin isn’t easy to explain to the average guy on the street. The fundamentals of blockchain, and the distributed ledger systems upon which bitcoin is built, are not straightforward. It usually takes time and effort for people to really understand just how much of an innovation bitcoin really is when it is a trustless mechanism for exchanging value. Most people simply can’t comprehend bitcoin and the blockchain.
As a guy on a cryptocurrency email thread I was on succinctly put it:
“I prefer a currency that has survived 5,000+ years of wars, empires, the rise and fall of countries, cold spells, hot spells, and has been universally accepted in every country of the world.”
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No matter how big bitcoin gets, it will never be gold.
If you were to ask me which I think is more likely to be around a hundred years from now, it’s gold… every time. Nothing has usurped it for millennia as a globally accepted medium of exchange or store of value, and I don’t think bitcoin will do so either.
But… you should still own bitcoin
Bitcoin is the ultimate in freedom of asset ownership. The government can’t confiscate it from you, as it did from owners of gold in 1933 in the U.S. under Executive Order 6102.
You can cross national borders with bitcoin in your possession on a USB-stick device, a piece of paper… or if you can memorise your private key, with no physical object in your possession of any kind.
Whether your bitcoin is worth US$100 or US$100 million, it makes no difference to how you move and store it (which is clearly not the same with gold). You don’t need a trusted middleman to send it, and you can move it around the world, securely, in a matter of minutes.
And if you’re looking for gains… bitcoin is a lot likelier than gold to be up 1,000 percent three years from now. Even though its price has soared over the past few years, it’s still nowhere near mainstream yet.
So gold and bitcoin both deserve a place in your portfolio.
Gold has stood the test of time and is a medium of storing value. Bitcoin’s time, on the other hand, is just beginning. Blockchain is the future, and when you have an opportunity to buy the future and tuck it away, you should take it.