Bitcoin haters don’t get its gold-like qualities, says Goldman Sachs

The volatility in Bitcoin price that has sparked investor concern stems mainly from the cryptocurrency's lack of liquidity, says Jeff Currie of Goldman Sachs

Susanne Barton
Updated29 Nov 2017, 10:08 PM IST
Bitcoin price on Wednesday surpassed $11,000 in a matter of hours after hitting the $10,000 milestone. Photo: Reuters
Bitcoin price on Wednesday surpassed $11,000 in a matter of hours after hitting the $10,000 milestone. Photo: Reuters

New York: Bitcoin is a commodity with many similarities to gold, and the volatility that has sparked investor concern stems mainly from its lack of liquidity, said Jeff Currie, global head of commodities research for Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“I don’t see why there is all this hostility to it,” Currie said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. Bitcoin is “not much different than gold” because it doesn’t have liability attached to it by definition, like a security.

The cryptocurrency has surged almost 12-fold this year to top $11,000, while gold has climbed about 12%. Investors are divided about bitcoin, with the likes of Warren Buffett calling it a “real bubble,” and billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel saying critics are underestimating it. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said that “bitcoin is successful only because of its potential for circumvention, lack of oversight,” and ought to be outlawed.

Currie said most people who trade bitcoin don’t see the currency as interchangeable with gold, and that there are important differences between the two.

“You look at gold that has $8.3 trillion of gold above ground—that’s real liquidity,” he said. “Central banks control an enormous amount of the supply of gold, which does not make it a complete substitute between bitcoin and gold.”

Bitcoin on Wednesday surpassed $11,000 in a matter of hours after hitting the $10,000 milestone as buyers shrugged off increased warnings that the largest digital currency is an asset bubble.

“That lack of liquidity is what’s creating that volatility that has everybody concerned about bitcoin,” Currie said. “Given that level of liquidity and the size of the market in gold, it will never have the same volatility as bitcoin.” Bloomberg

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First Published:29 Nov 2017, 10:08 PM IST
Homemarketstock-market-newsBitcoin haters don’t get its gold-like qualities, says Goldman Sachs

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