I’m sad to tell the gold bugs, their day is over. Crypto, and right now Bitcoin especially, is the new gold. It is better at doing what gold lovers like to do with gold, store it for the day before the end of the world when they expect gold will be the only thing that will retain value. Even without crypto replacing gold for this job, gold isn’t actually good insurance for when the world comes unpicked. As people that swapped their gold for a cigarette in WW2 found out, gold is not great money. However, there is a market need for an asset as insurance again disaster and gold has filled that niche for a very long time.
It is losing the niche to Bitcoin and losing it fast. What is more, I have some powerful circumstantial evidence. On July 17, 2018 Bitcoin went nuts, it shot up and hasn’t yet come down. The other cryptos didn’t really follow. No one knew why it spiked and even speculative publications barely scratched around to come up with a reason. “It was a short squeeze, um, a sudden attack of FOMO.” I wrote about it here saying it was a classic bear market rally so not to get too interested.
However, what caused the sudden unexplained spike is now clear to me. It is Chinese devaluation. It was the insider reaction to imminent, planned, significant and perhaps rolling Chinese currency devaluation that set off this rally.
It was a group of insiders buying Bitcoin for Chinese yuan before the devaluation that took place two days later struck. This devaluation process has been going on for weeks but it accelerated last week.
Bitcoin’s spike was actually a classic leading indicator of insider trading ahead of breaking news.
Imagine you get to hear that your currency is about to drop a chunk. You can’t trade foreign exchange but by hook and by crook you can swap your currency into BTC. You are going to do it fast and you are not going to be choosy about the price. You will keep it in Bitcoin until the coast is clear because a material trade conflict with the U.S. could get very nasty indeed. You simply can’t move that fast or securely with the old favorite, gold.
That is what I believe happened to Bitcoin. Chinese insiders stuffed billions of RNB into BTC before the pace of devaluation upped its tempo on the 19th. That repricing is holding because China will devalue more as a counter-move to the trade war.
Gold’s niche has been as a hedge to currency devaluation and debasement and it has been a better asset to hold than naked cash when the going got tough, but it is a hard asset to acquire and hold.
As a normal guy I would find it difficult to buy much physical gold in a couple of days and awkward and scary to hold it. On the other hand, in minutes I could be up to my ears in crypto and the day after a devaluation I’d be able to seamlessly and almost invisible flip back into fiat almost where I pleased.
If the trade wars go into meltdown then Bitcoin will ‘moon’ because huge amounts of Chinese currency will be swapped for BTC as the yuan-denominated super-rich move to be hedged from the wealth privations of devaluation. Bitcoin, not gold, is and will be the asset they will run to first.
We are going to have to see if a new trend forms before we know which path we are on, but if the bear market trend is left behind, the next crypto-boom will be on its way. Bitcoin will then take over gold’s primacy as the place to stash money for times when the wheels come off global stability.
It is sadly all down to the POTUS but if one thing is for certain the road ahead in the ‘trade war’ is not going to be a smooth one.
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Clem Chambers is the CEO of private investors Web site ADVFN.com and author of Be Rich, The Game in Wall Street and Trading Cryptocurrencies: A Beginner’s Guide.