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Bitcoin The Almighty Buck Software The Internet

One Bitcoin Is Now Worth More Than One Ounce of Gold (techcrunch.com) 208

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: For the first time ever, the price of one bitcoin has surpassed the price of one ounce of gold. While today's swap can be attributed to a good day for bitcoin (up ~3%) and a bad day for gold (down ~1.3%), the big picture is that bitcoin has more than doubled in the last year (up ~185% from a year ago) while gold is essentially trading exactly at the price it was a year ago. Even though bitcoin and gold are both thought of as alternative assets, they don't usually trade in correlation. Still, it's notable that bitcoin has (at least temporally) surpassed the price of gold. Gold is quite literally the "gold standard" of alternative assets, often used by investors to hedge against potential losses in more traditional assets like real estate and the stock market.
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One Bitcoin Is Now Worth More Than One Ounce of Gold

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02, 2017 @05:03PM (#53965909)

    The power goes out. How much is your bitcoin worth then?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You don't need active power to store bitcoin, wallet information can be safely stored on an offline medium such as a USB stick.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02, 2017 @05:31PM (#53966137)

        The question wasn't, "The power goes out. Does your bitcoin still exist?".

        It was, "The power goes out. How much is your bitcoin worth then?".

        We're talking about worth here. To put it another way, value.

        The value of pretty much anything depends significantly on its usability. A lack of usability reduces value.

        A bitcoin in cold, offline storage is essentially worthless if it can't be easily and conveniently accessed (due to a lack of electricity to power the computers and networks needed to use it).

        What you're proposing is the same as encasing a gold bar in concrete, and then burying it a mile underground where it's inaccessible without a huge amount of effort to retrieve it.

        Does the gold have potential value? Sure. What's its actual value to somebody who wants to use it for commercial purposes right away, given its inaccessible state? Worthless.

        That's the point I think that the GP was trying to make, and that you (and whoever dumbly modded you up) totally missed.

        It's much easier to make bitcoin totally unusable, and hence worthless, than it is to do the same for most other currencies or currency-like commodities.

        • We're looking here at almost impossible scenario.
          What if it's on my phone I only need a little bit of power to charge it = a simple crank up torch would do. Then you only need means to broadcast transaction. It's possible to do that over DVB or even CB radio. One would imagine it shouldn't be that difficult to achieve using other radio frequencies. Also if someone has an access to full node and can verify that transaction is signed correctly can accept transaction on USB or paper and broadcast it once acces

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It was, "The power goes out. How much is your bitcoin worth then?".

          ...

          It's much easier to make bitcoin totally unusable, and hence worthless, than it is to do the same for most other currencies or currency-like commodities.

          Strange that of all the different possible media of exchange, so many people choose to use bank cards to buy things, cards that would be equally worthless were "the power to go out".

        • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @06:35PM (#53966543) Homepage

          How much is your gold worth when you need to send a payment half way around the world near instantly? Your gold is useless while a bitcoin could be valuable. We can come up with all sorts of arbitrary scenarios that would make bitcoins and gold either very valuable or completely worthless.

          The fact of the matter is that the inherent value of anything is exactly what someone will pay for it right then. And right now 1 bitcoin is worth more than one ounce of gold based on currently trending transaction values.

          • A stack of hundred dollar bills is more useful than Bitcoin in any store near me. Does that change Bitcoin value? Some countries use gold in markets on the street, been there done that.
        • by nobuddy ( 952985 )

          This assumes that gold has any value in the same apocalyptic environment. Or a paper dollar. Or a bank statement.

          You want trade goods valuable then? Vacuum packed or freeze dried coffee, cocoa powder, similar durable luxury goods that have to be imported. There is your apocalypse money. Nobody will give a flying rat's ass about cash or currency of any kind.

        • Your analogy about burying gold overlooks something: On the international gold markets, the actual ingots usually don't physically change hands. Quite often, the custodians of the gold don't even move it around within the same vault. In most cases, what actually moves around are the certificates of gold deposit. (even those usually move electronically) Whether it be a mile down, encased in concrete, or in some vault under a Swiss mountain, gold is often inaccessible.

          Mind you, one of the biggest markets fo

        • by Anonymous Coward

          A bitcoin in cold, offline storage is essentially worthless if it can't be easily and conveniently accessed (due to a lack of electricity to power the computers and networks needed to use it).

          Virtually all of my money is in my bank account, which I can only access with a debit and/or credit card which basically requires electricity to function also.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          The question wasn't, "The power goes out. Does your bitcoin still exist?".

          It was, "The power goes out. How much is your bitcoin worth then?".

          It's worth just as much as your Credit card is after the power goes out.
          Also, your Checkbook and Debit card are worth the same amount after the power goes out which is $0.
          All the information is stored in computers, And if those computers are down, Then you have nothing.

        • In a scenario where your bitcoin is inaccessible due to the massive long term loss of all our electrical infrastructure, I would suggest a pile of bullets would be a whole lot more valuable to you than some pieces of shiny yellow metal.

      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        Fitting, since a bitcoin is essentially just a certificate that some schmuck won a lottery after likely wasting hundreds of kilowatt-hours in compute energy.

    • by ASDFnz ( 472824 )

      Are you meaning that all power in the entire world?

      If you are, then nothing. Gold would be fairly much useless in your post apocalyptic world as well though, you can't eat it, you can't use it for shelter, it is heavy... Bullets and livestock will be the trading commodities.

      • by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @05:38PM (#53966193)

        Given that gold has been valuable for thousands of years, way before industrialisation, I'd say you are wrong. Gold has several properties that make it useful - it is non-reactive, corrosion resistant, quite biocompatible (has been used by dentists for centuries), an excellent conductor and so on.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by ASDFnz ( 472824 )

          Gold has several properties that make it useful - it is non-reactive, corrosion resistant, quite biocompatible (has been used by dentists for centuries), an excellent conductor and so on.

          Remember, this is a world where the laws of physics have changed (yeah, it is ridiculous but he bought it up) so there is no electricity.

          Gold would not be useful for any of your applications (especially being an excellent conductor) in that parallel universe.

          • But bullets magically would continue to work, right?
            And no, they aren't a good commodity - they have a limited shelf life and the technology to make new ones for the same kind of firearms would not be possible in a non-industrialised world. Bullets for an arquebus, on the other hand, is just cast lead. Salpeter would become a strategic chemical again.

            • by ASDFnz ( 472824 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @06:05PM (#53966367)

              But bullets magically would continue to work, right?

              As long as they are not electrical ones (not sure where you are going with that).

              They last for an amazingly long time too being sealed units, for example, fairly much the entire world supply of 50 cal rounds were manufactured in WWII and we still use them today.

              • They only last if stored under ideal conditions. If subjected to moisture, bullets and casings corrode, primer decay leading to hang fires and complete duds. Nitrocellulose degrades with time, leaking nitric acid, leading to dead primers and, well, spontaneous combustion. The propellant is usually mixed with a stabiliser, but the stabiliser tends to deplete after a while. Subjected to warmth all this happens a lot of faster.

            • by nobuddy ( 952985 )

              Limited shelf life? I suppose anything less than infinity is technically "limited". Ammo does not expire, at least not in human lifetime terms.

          • Remember, this is a world where the laws of physics have changed (yeah, it is ridiculous but he bought it up) so there is no electricity.

            Gold would not be useful for any of your applications (especially being an excellent conductor) in that parallel universe.

            Even in a world of scarcity there will be haves and have-nots. Gold will be valuable because a precious few will see it as jewelry, even as the rest of us fight for scraps.

            Gold is easily identified, very hard to fake, durable and scarce, it is an ideal currency for simplistic economies. Certainly, in the collapse of civilization, gold won't have a "use" OTHER THAN as a currency. It may widely fluctuate in value, especially at first, depending on how many scraps there are for the hoi polloi to eat and how

      • Are you meaning that all power in the entire world?

        If you are, then nothing. Gold would be fairly much useless in your post apocalyptic world as well though, you can't eat it, you can't use it for shelter, it is heavy... Bullets and livestock will be the trading commodities.

        According to Fallout we'll be using bottlecaps.... mmmm.... Nuka Cola.....

      • Let's say that there's a series of solar events which destroy all the electrical things until we can rebuild. Society will go rapidly to shit, but whoever rebuilds on the ashes will have plenty of electricity-related uses for gold.

    • It's worth exactly the same. Your hand-crank battery charger and DC powered computing device however just got a lot more valuable.

    • Yawn. It's now worth more than gold, call me back when it's reached the value of a tulip bulb in 1637, or a CDO in 2008.
    • by bjohnson ( 3225 )

      The power goes out. How much is your gold worth then?

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @05:13PM (#53966009) Homepage

    Still, it's notable that bitcoin has (at least temporally) surpassed the price of gold.

    No, that's not notable. The only notable thing is that bitcoin is at an all-time high.

    Comparing a piece of mathematical information to an arbitrary amount of an arbitrary substance is not in any way notable.

    • Gold isn't really that arbitrary, its only created during supernova's, and the amount created is proportional to the star's mass. This means when you look around the universe, the proportion, or ratio of all gold to all other elements is the same. Sure you get some planetary systems with more gold than others (or more likely, more ACCESSIBLE gold than others) but on average, the ratio of gold to other elements remains the same.

      Now consider that all prices are ratios. In a barter economy things where expr

      • What absolute bollocks. Replace the word "gold" with any other element and your entire 'justification' remains just as valid. Not to mention the fact that an 'ounce' is an arbitrary measure of anything. That the price of 'one' (an arbitrary amount) bitcoin has surpassed the price of one ounce (arbitrary measure) of gold (arbitrary element, one of many that we consider 'valuable') is even less notable than the clock ticking over from one year to another, in our arbitrarily decided calendar.

        • What absolute bollocks. Replace the word "gold" with any other element and your entire 'justification' remains just as valid. Not to mention the fact that an 'ounce' is an arbitrary measure of anything. That the price of 'one' (an arbitrary amount) bitcoin has surpassed the price of one ounce (arbitrary measure) of gold (arbitrary element, one of many that we consider 'valuable') is even less notable than the clock ticking over from one year to another, in our arbitrarily decided calendar.

          Some things [washingtontimes.com] are more arbitrary than others.

      • by r0kk3rz ( 825106 )

        As scientists we should advocate for standardization of weights and measures. If the length of the meter changed every day it would be extremely difficult for two construction companies to co-operate in building a bridge. Without extremely precise measurements modern science couldn't exist.

        Meters measure distance, money is supposed to measure value. So why does our unit of measurement (the dollar) change in value every day? It should be as constant as possible, we should standardize this unit of measurement.

        Except the total amount of things we want to put a value on changes, so having a variable unit means that people don't have to change the price of their goods everyday, and beyond a certain point gold becomes rather hard to divide up into the right amounts.

    • Bitcoins aren't really worth anything. There are just some people who have convinced themselves that they are worth something. You can'r really rely on such people continuing their belief.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        Hey Bruce,

        Your lack of understanding of this amazes me. I've been reading your comments on Slashdot for years and thought you were an intelligent guy!

        Anyway, I don't think the value that people give to bitcoin is entirely delusional as you seem to state. It's value, I believe, is in the fact it can be used to transfer value safely over the internet without a 3rd party - well an 'aware' 3rd party that allows or disallows it. It's free from the the control of the banks, nobody can just decide to 'print more

        • Bitcoin has a value obviously, because some people will buy it. That value is highly arbitrary and subject to rapid changes. It, just like anything else, has value assigned to it based on what society chooses to place in it. Unlike other assets, that value is subject to much more rapid change.

          As an investment opportunity, I think many, including myself, would give it the cold shoulder. It seems to be frequently stolen from online vaults (with no protection to consumer), and it's future is highly unknown

          • But it also has a value because you can buy things off the internet with it, surely?

            And as for it getting stolen, eventually people will learn that exchanges are not banks and it's up to yourself to look after your private keys.

      • by Troed ( 102527 )

        The Internet isn't really worth anything. There are just some people who have convinced themselves that it's useful. You can'r really rely on such people continuing their belief.

        Srlsly.

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      Comparing a piece of mathematical information to an arbitrary amount of an arbitrary substance is not in any way notable.

      I concur. It's a sad moment for the number "one".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02, 2017 @05:18PM (#53966049)

    If you want a good laugh, go read through all the old /. articles on Bitcoin, particularly around when it was reaching $1 in value.
    So many naysayers. Well they're not laughing now!

  • the sense of worth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @05:20PM (#53966061) Homepage Journal

    It's interesting that the title of this piece is 'One Bitcoin is Now Worth More Than One Ounce of Gold'. I have some gold, I would not exchange it for BitCoins regardless of what they are 'worth'. The sense of worth is a funny thing, I don't feel that Bitcoins are worth anything, they are valueless from my point of view.

    If a war started today and there was a shortage of food, if somebody gave me a USB stick with 10 Bitcoins on it I would not exchange it for food I think. I might exchange it for gold though. What is 'worth' and how do you figure that a Bitcoin is actually 'worth' anything? It is a unique electronic number.... to me it is worth 0. Sure, I can make or lose money buying Bitcoin and reselling it at some point later as a speculative vehicle but to say that I would store some 'worth' in them... I would not.

    • How is that different from a $20 bill? Its paper value is pretty damn close to $0 to you and me. And yet you are using it. Why? Because its "worth" is $20, which means you can trade it for $20 of goods.

      • You are absolutely correct in that comparison, both a BitCoin and a $20 bill are worth nothing at all in themselves. The only difference is that a very large portion of the population still exchanges in $ and the reasons for it are even more amazing than the reasons for the current BitCoin valuation, they are more historically interesting in any case. The reasons for the BitCoin valuation are actually tangentially tied to the reasons for $ valuation.

        As for gold, it's a commodity and it's money in itself,

        • The problem with your gold (especially small quantities) is that it looses a big part of its value as soon as you get it out of the vault since it would need to be re-certified to re-enter the vault from where it can be electronically traded. Let's face it. A lot of that gold is staying in an underground forever.

          • I give you.... Gold Money [goldmoney.com]. There you go, no need to move gold out of vault and to 'recertify it' to transact in it.

            • Yeah, but at this point you are just making electronic transactions, and in the end nobody really knows if there really is gold in the vault as it is going to stay there forever. Gold has other (industrial, jewelry) more important purposes.

              • Yes, but unlike a unique number generated by some fancy algorithm and unlike pieces of paper that are printed at a whim *without* any actual backing, this is a real thing, it's valuable enough that it is recognized as money (was recognized as money in many cultures for thousands of years) and is much more likely to keep being valuable enough to be recognized as money (without any government telling people that it is money, it just is).

                So I am perfectly happy for it to stay in a vault as long as I can be mor

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Once I can pay my taxes with bitcoins then it'll be "worth" something.

  • Correlation ... I don't think you know what that word means.

  • One reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jolyonr ( 560227 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @05:32PM (#53966141) Homepage

    There is only one reason that bitcoin is so high in value right now, ransomware

  • by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @05:49PM (#53966281)

    to produce this one bitcoin.

  • by jmcharry ( 608079 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @06:45PM (#53966587)

    I don't think of gold as a hedge. It is more of a speculation. Like other precious metals its value is pretty volatile.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Volatile compared with what?

      What kind of investment could you make that would definitely be less volatile than gold?

      You are probably think about your home country's currency, or financial instruments derived in that same currency. Guess what, that currency compared to everything else is also volatile.

  • There are people out there that will pay real money for a virtual shield in a video game, a garden gnome for their virtual garden, etc.

    There's a sucker born every minute.

    Bitcoin has zero value unless you're the electricity utility company. I find the entire virtual currency ecosystem to be laughable.

    • by ASDFnz ( 472824 )

      I just bought a HTC Vive with bitcoin.

      Does that mean that HTC Vive's are been given out for free? If so, you should go get yours, they are really cool.

      • I'm sure Bernie Madoff used some of his ill-gotten gains of selling fairy dust to buy tangible goods for himself. That doesn't mean his business wasn't a scam.

        • by ASDFnz ( 472824 )

          Do tell, how is bitcoin a scam?

    • This isn't related to the topic at hand, but relates to your statement: "There are people out there that will pay real money for a virtual shield in a video game" You missed it last weekend. (So did I.) $13k Worth Of Damage Done In âEve Onlineâ(TM) Annual âoeBurn Jitaâ Event [bleedingcool.com] That's not virtual money, that's US Dollars. Virtual money was 5 Quintilian-Billion Venezuelan bolÃvars (actually 700 billion ISKs), but you can actually buy it with dollars. BitCoin too, I'm sure.

      It's
  • by coolmoe2 ( 3414211 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @07:04PM (#53966685)
    Food,water and ammunition are worth more then both !!!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Since 97% of past 6 month trading volume in Bitcoin took place in China, we might as well call it Chinacoin.

    And as soon China introduces some form of regulation or restriction it's going to be bye bye Bitcoin price.

    • It will be interesting to watch China fail at that. China has capital controls on its citizens, of course they are the biggest users of bitcoin. That was bitcoin's main purpose.

  • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Thursday March 02, 2017 @07:09PM (#53966709)

    > Still, it's notable that bitcoin has (at least temporally) surpassed the price of gold.

    Bullshit, it has not.

    There's a cap of 21 million bitcoins. Of this, over three quarters have already been mined. It is supposed to get progressively harder to mine bitcoins, with the intention that the huge numbers of bitcoins that are sitting fallow will eventually appreciate in value, that it will still be worth mining them even as they get harder, etc. Regardless of your views on this, or cryptocurrencies: there's only 21 million bitcoins total.

    1 bitcoin is one twenty-millionth of all bitcoins. It is about .000005% of the total blob of bitcoins that will ever be. .000005% of all the gold mined to date- which is definitely not all the gold ever- is around 300 ounces of gold. And that's a very low estimate for the total gold available- some sources have it at over ten times that in available gold. The fact that no one has it pinned down to at least a solid order of magnitude is depressing, but the point is that even the low estimates, the percentage of one bitcoin compared to all the bitcoin, versus that same percentage of gold compared to all the gold, is nowhere close in bitcoins favor.

    • by ASDFnz ( 472824 )

      Re-read the title, better yet, I will quote it for you;-

      One Bitcoin Is Now Worth More Than One Ounce of Gold

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Sure, but at least with an ounce of gold I could stand on the moon and throw it to destroy your entire city on Earth. Let's see you try that with a bitcoin.

        • by ASDFnz ( 472824 )

          Unless you can throw stuff at ~10 Km/s (Delta-V required) I don't actually believe you.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      It is supposed to get progressively harder to mine bitcoins, with the intention that the huge numbers of bitcoins that are sitting fallow will eventually appreciate in value, that it will still be worth mining them even as they get harder, etc.

      There are two ways miners are rewarded : new bitcoins and transaction fees. In the end, when there will be almost no bitcoins left to create, transaction fees will become the main driver.
      Bitcoin doesn't rely on its value increasing.

    • This argument is meaningful only if all gold holdings were denominated in bitcoin and nothing else was denominated in bitcoin. 0 out of 2 conditions are true.

  • From TFS: Even though bitcoin and gold are both thought of as alternative assets

    Um, no. Gold is nearly universally regarded as an asset, a hedge against inflation, and a store of value. Bitcoin are only regarded as 'alternative assets' by Bitcoin fanboys.

  • How do you compare $/oz with $ ?
  • Cool story, Bro. Since we're talking about archaic formats, was that information stored on 5¼-inch floppy drives?

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