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The Gold Show is for entertainment purposes only and not financial advice.
Bitcoin vs Gold
Cryptocurrencies are all the rage at the moment. But it can be hard for an investor to get their head around them. As a new technology it is unregulated but still has an impact on finance. Its effects on the stock market and fiat currency are beginning to be seen. But will it also affect gold?
Digital currencies seemed like an inevitability, but their growth over the last couple of years has been so astronomical it has taken the world by surprise.
The improvements to online security and the ease of online payments via Near Field Technology means that the lack of physical currency is actually a benefit to people and reduces risk.
Technologies that were nothing more than ideas ten years ago, like contactless payments from your phone, are now a reality. In a constantly evolving technical world, banking and finance were always going to be an area of opportunity for new tech.
So what is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is an ever-growing ledger of public transactional data that is anonymous.
While traditional banking methods of moving funds require your bank to verify your funds, hold your funds and remove funds from your balance to pay others, all of this is done on the basis that you trust the bank fully.
Bitcoin replaces the need for your bank to do all of that and operates without interference. Bitcoin ‘miners’ take the transactional data and authorise the payment. These miners then bundle them up with other transactions to ensure the data is safe and encrypted (basically hiding the data with a lot of other data) and in return, these miners are paid in Bitcoin.
As a safeguard, other miners then take this data to verify the transaction isn’t a duplicate and that the person spending Bitcoin isn’t spending the same one twice.
Simply put, cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, use a decentralised technology (blockchain) to let people make payments and store money securely and anonymously.
This whole process takes an incredible amount of processing power and electrical energy to do.
There are many who question why this was needed at all, and what is really so wrong with the banking system?
The simple answer is, data protection has become such an important issue to everyday consumers, and rightly so. With the recent revelations such as the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data breaches, people want to know that their personal data is safe, particularly when it comes to their finances.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin help bring that security to people's financial data.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, have a bit issue with price instability at the moment, however. In the last two years alone bitcoin has seen highs of 74,000 and lows of 3,925 which is an incredibly big swing.
This volatility is caused by a lack of regulation and the popular culture influence of FOMO (fear of missing out), as well as government interference and the continued fear of hackers and theft.
National governments have begun getting involved, banning the initial coin offerings in some countries and banning the trading of cryptocurrency in others.
Cybercrime is another problem for cryptocurrencies, and millions of dollars worth of crypto have been lost since 2010. The primary fear is that if a company holding cryptocurrency is breached will companies be able to repay the losses to investors?
The final risk is cryptocurrency's prevalent use on the black market for all sorts of illicit and illegal dealings. Anonymity in transactions is ideal for them, and governments are working hard on cracking down on this.
News of this sort of activity reaches consumer's ears, however, and damages the reputation of cryptocurrencies.
There is no doubt that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will continue to grow in popularity, and the blockchain technology it is built on is here to stay and will be an essential part of the future of data management.
For the moment, however, there is an awful lot of risk associated with investing in Bitcoin, and for the savvy investor looking for more security, our old familiar gold is still the way to go.
Disclaimer: This is not financial advice.
Last updated: November 27, 2020
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