The narrative that bitcoin is a hedge against market turmoil and will one day replace gold as the go-to haven asset is freely, and consistently, bandied about within many crypto circles.
Now, a report from the World Gold Council, a U.K-based market development organization for the gold industry, attempts to pour cold water on this notion, with evidence that bitcoin had a chance to stamp itself as the new gold — and failed.
“In Q4 2018, as global stock markets experienced their worst quarter since 2009, cryptocurrencies had a prime opportunity to demonstrate qualities associated with havens like gold. However, cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, behaved like risky assets and fell while gold rallied,” the report said.
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At the forefront of the bitcoin vs.gold movement are Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the founders of New York-based crypto exchange and custodian of Gemini Trust Co. The twins argue that bitcoin’s fungibility and divisibility — thanks to its fixed and known supply — make it a better bet than gold. In a recent interview on Balancing the Ledger TV, Cameron said: “the only thing gold has over bitcoin is a 3,000 year head start.”
Read: Winklevoss: If you can’t see bitcoin at $320,000, you just lack imagination
But as the World Gold Council notes, data suggest otherwise. “Bitcoin’s price behavior resembled a technology stock,” the analysts said, pointing to bitcoin’s fourth-quarter performance, which fell 55% and the Nasdaq,
which shed 19%, while gold
rose 9.4%. During this period, bitcoin
and the Nasdaq were heavily correlated at 0.69.
While bitcoin enthusiasts are unlikely to budge, analysts at the World Gold Council warned those purchasing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to protect against the next market downturn should think again. “The fourth quarter offered just one data point for bitcoin analysis, but it was an important one,” they said.
“This was one of the few periods during which true market stress has occurred since the financial crisis. And it should lead investors to reassess their reasons for investing in cryptocurrencies.”
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