Current BTC Price in Gold (Ounces)
Current BTC Price in Gold (grams)
Why did we make this chart?
Gold has traditionally been used as money, and its supply isn't manipulated by central banks. Many believe gold is actually the best way to properly measure bitcoin's value, since the value of fiat money is always changing.
Many feel that comparing the price of Bitcoin to Gold is a better method than comparing it to a fiat currency like US dollars. That is because Gold, like Bitcoin, has a finite supply. Conversely, Dollars are constantly being printed and will likely never stop, so the supply of dollars is always rising tremendously. Gold is also not manipulated by central banks to achieve monetary objectives (like encouraging spending). Gold is, therefore, an asset much more similar to Bitcoin, both in its properties and use cases.
Why is the chart missing pre-2013 data?
The source where we get out data from does not have data from before 2013. We are working on a fix for this though.
Gold vs Bitcoin
Despite being the leading form of money over the past few millennium, gold lost its luster in the 1970’s as governments looked to unchain themselves from the financial responsibility that gold imposed. But the fiat money experiment of the past 4 decades is fast coming to an end, and the search for a new currency continues to rage on. Now with another changing of the guard upon us, can the new digital currency known as Bitcoin take over? To help put things in perspective we compare gold and Bitcoin here to see their similarities, differences, and their possible roles in a post-fiat world. Which, if any, is better suited to displace fiat money?
Similarities of Gold and Bitcoin
Can’t Be Hyperinflated
One of the most obvious similarities between gold and Bitcoin is the cap on the quantity available. Whereas fiat money can be printed into infinity, both gold and Bitcoin have specific restrictions on the amount that can be introduced into the economy.
For Bitcoin, there is a 21 million bitcoin limit imposed into the mathematical algorithm and this number can’t be increased. As for gold, the yearly new supply is limited to around 2,500 tons as the world gold supply dwindles or becomes harder to reach using modern gold mining techniques.
Keynesian economists biggest criticism of gold and perhaps also of Bitcoin, is that they are deflationary in nature, due to the supply limitations mentioned above. They believe deflation creates what are called "liquidity traps". Thidea is that if the value of money is constantly going up, people may hoard it, and there won't be anyone spending money or loaning it out. Business won't be able to sell goods or get additional capital to increase production because of this hoarding.
However, according to Austrian school economists, deflation is a feature of money; not a bug. Money that appreciates in value over time means that goods and services get cheaper. Bad investments and debts can quickly be wiped out. And since merely holding your money increases your wealth, then money will be funneled into the most efficient uses of it possible. And while sales may slump, businesses wouldn’t exactly suffer either since any reduction in the price of their goods could be offset with reduced costs.
Any fears that businesses will suffer from low sales but also an inability to increase production is a contradictory one. Why would a business with slumping sales want to increase production further? When deflation is occuring, the markets are clearly signalling that savings is preferred to consumption, so there is no need to increase production at this time. Additionally, people save so they can consume later. Liquidity traps are not an indefinite phenomenon since people must consume to live and enjoy their wealth.
Gold and bitcoin have no ‘owner’ or central entity keeping it together. In gold’s case, it is a part of the planet. as for Bitcoin, it is an open source software that is maintained by a network anyone can transact on. Attacking or manipulating these decentralized currencies is likely to result in financial loss for the attacker and an increase in perceived value of the asset once it resists the attack.
It is worth noting though that many beleive Gold and Bitcoin prices are manipulated on the exchanges that they are traded on. It's just that there is no way to attack these currencies at their sources, which is a characteristic that fiat money cannot boast.
Minimum Counter Party Risk
Multiple times throughout history, various fiat currencies have lost most or all of their value due to reckless government spending, monetary manipulation, and resulting hyper-inflation. Gold can only theoretically be debased if a new enormous supply is found (such as in an Asteroid) or new revolutionary mining technology is discovered.
Similarly, Bitcoin can only be debased if some error in the code is found, or it suffers a 51% attack, or its network effect dies down and is replaced by an alternate leading digital currency. These cases are improbable given current circumstances and hold very little counter party risk as control is largely outside the hands of a small group of individuals.
Difficulty Of Confiscation
While it’s technically not impossible to confiscate gold through laws(it has happened before) or Bitcoins through threats, scams, viruses, or torture - they are isolated to the larger system as a whole. Compare this to the interconnected and highly toxic financial assets and derivatives sector, where one countries monetary irresponsibility can have lasting ramifications on another (see the European debt crisis).
The bank deposit confiscation in Cyprus, and the possible spreading to other countries, is another reminder that confiscation is still possible today.
Anonymity and Privacy
Anonymity and privacy in how we spend our money is a worry that people are increasingly placing importance on. Bitcoins allow a bunch of illegal activity to take place, and that can indeed be a negative in certain cases, but it can also be a huge plus for those living under regimes. Governments are increasingly cracking down on what individuals can and can’t do with their own money, even if it is of no harm to others.
Gold similarly bypasses many organizational and financial structures, as has been observed in Turkey’s gas acquisition from sanction-struck Iran.
It’s difficult to pinpoint at what point in time exactly gold became such a valuable commodity, but historians go back as far as the Egyptians and there are legends from all four corners of the world about gold’s slow adoption as the leading form of money in the world. Bitcoin has an even more speculative birth despite just coming into being some 11 years ago.
A mysterious person by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto is the creator of Bitcoin.
However before Bitcoin made it to the big time, this mysterious person or group disappeared from the forums where he was frequently spotted making contributions and since has never appeared anywhere. Conspiracies suggest everything from the creator being a secret government organization to a group of people to some famous person.
Resource Based Acquisition
While fiat money doesn’t even need paper in most instances to exist (it can simply be digital numbers on a computer screen), both Bitcoin and gold need to be mined. In gold’s case this means plenty of machinery, labor, research and time. For Bitcoin, while the mining might not be physical in nature, the computing power needed to solve the mathematical problems that unlock new Bitcoins takes real world resources to generate.
Differences Between Bitcoin and Gold
Since value is subjective, nothing technically has 'intrinsic value', however the term is sometimes used to mean that a good can be used in some industrial setting. Gold certainly fills that definition since it used in jewelry and as a conductor in electronics throughout the world. That's because Gold is a very unique element that is malleable, ductile, noble and non-corrosive.
Bitcoin does not have an industrial use like gold so it cannot be said to have 'intrinsic value' in this scenario.
Bitcoins can be rounded to 8 decimal places, known as a Satoshi, and there is room in the code to increase these decimal places even further. Any amount of value can easily be separated, sent or received which provides immense convenience when used as a currency. Gold is also technically flexible enough to separate into many pieces (like recent gold credit cards that can be breakable into little pieces called gold combibars).
But that is not nearly as convenient as what can be achieved with Bitcoin.
Wealth Preservation Aspect
Gold’s 5000 years of history as money and its stellar track record as well as its role in the financial system as a reserve asset gives it long life that is ideal for preserving wealth regardless of the state of the world. We could have World War 3, colossal financial crises, or any external event that you can think of and gold would still be regarded highly.
The same can’t be said about Bitcoin as it’s very new, requires internet connectivity (most of the time), and hence is not something you would confidently hold for the next 50 years and know for sure that would help your grand kids. There is also the possibility that Bitcoin will break due to an unknown bug or be out competed by better technology in the future.
Fluid Currency Aspect
Bitcoin’s greatest strength over competing currencies is its role as a means of exchange. Bitcoins can be sent across the globe to a region with no banking structure at any time of the day for practically free - and that is something that no other major currency can claim to have at this point.
Gold is especially cumbersome with on the spot appraisals of the gold authenticity/weight and other factors becoming too complicated to allow trade. Even gold coins have become nearly unusable because of their sheer worth and which is why even silver is often quoted as a better currency than gold.
After comparing the two, it’s easy to see why many gold ‘bugs’ are quick to accept Bitcoin and the benefits that it brings. They both provide safe haven from those who don’t believe in centralized control of the world’s financial backbone. Yet the differences also highlight the different purposes that gold and Bitcoin serve, with gold a good wealth preserver (money) while Bitcoin a better means of exchange (currency). These differences ensure that they are compatible under one roof, and could very well work together to displace fiat money’s role in world trade and economics. Humans and governments are proving incapable of managing money. Perhaps it's time to let more stable sources like nature (gold) and math (Bitcoin) have a crack at solving this mess instead of supposed human ingenuity that is susceptible to mistakes, manipulation, corruption, greed, and other selfish human characteristics.