The world has gone wild for the cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin.
One Bitcoin would set you back $4,425 at the time of writing. That’s up from less than $600 a year ago, according to CoinBase.
But a word of caution: Gold is still a better bet for anyone who wants to own a time-tested asset.
Gold has a 5,000-year history as a long-term store of wealth. Bitcoin doesn’t even have a hundred-year track record.
There is always a ready and liquid market for gold. Even during the financial crisis when the market other securities just dried up you could buy and sell your gold with ease. Bitcoin was invented in 2008, part way through the crisis, so we don’t know whether it would truly pass this test until we have the next crisis.
Gold can protect you from nuclear radiation. It’s commonly known that lead can protect humans from gamma rays. Gold does the same but even better than lead as long as you have enough of it. Bitcoin provides no such protection.
Gold is safer. Stealing volumes of the metal can be surprisingly hard. The industry standard 400-ounce gold bar, worth a little more than $500,000 each at the time of writing, is particularly unwieldy to move. If you are in any doubt take a visit to a friendly gold vault and ask to lift one such bar. To abscond with a haul of $5 million you’d need to move 1o such ingots, which would be time-consuming for the thief. For cryptocurrencies, stealing large dollar values is easy, at least judging by a quick scan of the news stories which cover such heists.
You can wear gold as jewelry. Not so much for Bitcoin.
Gold is a superb electrical conductor, which is why it is used in electronics for space travel. Bitcoin doesn’t conduct electricity.