Last week, the price of one Bitcoin surged above $1,227, the price of an ounce of Gold. And the headlines soon followed, screaming, “Bitcoin worth more than Gold.” The implication, of course, that Bitcoin is the new Gold in the world. In reality, however, Bitcoin is hardly the “new” Gold, real or digital.
In arguing for Bitcoin’s allure, enthusiasts tend to fall back on one singular point; like real Gold, there is but a finite number of Bitcoin that could be mined (21 million to be exact). But that is hardly the case. Bitcoin’s allure is not a factor of its rarity, but rather its ecosystem. That ecosystem enables financial transactions between two parties, both anonymously, and at very low costs. The fact is that that ecosystem could be easily replicated with an alternative to Bitcoin. So, while the number of Bitcoins we can mine is limited, the amount of alternative ecosystems that could emerge for Bitcoin wannabes is not. In fact, even today, there are already 12 different alternatives to Bitcoin, including Litecoin, Peercoin and Primecoin.
However, there is one area in which Gold and Bitcoin have something in common and, unfortunately, for Bitcoin bulls, it is in their vulnerability rather than strength. Both Bitcoin and Gold do not pay interest like a currency, nor a dividend like a stock. And when interest rates rise the allure of Bitcoin and Gold quickly fades. Because, simply put, there are better alternatives. Continue reading "Bitcoin Is NOT The New Gold"