By Grant Ferowich
Bitcoins are more systemically sound than gold and the “phony” U.S. dollar, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said this week.
“There is a certain finite amount of bitcoin that can ever exist,” 21 million, the Woz explained at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas. Knowing the limit of the cryptocurrency’s circulation provides more certainty than the fiat, which can be expanded or contracted to support a political agenda, the personal computer pioneer said.
“Gold gets mined and mined and mined … Maybe there’s a finite amount of gold in the world, but bitcoin is even more mathematical and regulated, and nobody can change mathematics,” Wozniak said.
Goldman Sachs Group, for one, disagrees with the computer wizard. “Cryptocurrencies are not the ‘new gold’ despite their recent popularity,” the New York-based investment bank said in a note to clients last week.
Goldman reasoned that:
1. Gold has less competition among precious metals than bitcoin does with cryptocurrencies.
2. Bitcoin has higher transaction fees.
3. Gold is much less volatile.
4. Cryptocurrencies face “significant” regulatory risk.
Go deeper: FundStrat Global Advisor co-founder Tom Lee points out that bitcoin doesn’t need to beat gold in a head-to-head match up to still be extremely valuable. “If personal information is our gold, bitcoin is our digital gold” Lee told Business Insider October 18. Considering the gold market is worth about $9 trillion, if bitcoin captures just “5 percent of the gold market, it’s worth at least $25,000 per unit.”
The 5 percent figure is a conservative estimate, by the way, according to Lee, who says “you could easily get to $100,000, $200,000 numbers.”