Bitcoins or Bullion: Ignorance of one journalist shines through

This week, CNBC had a headline that read: “Bitcoin pits the gold bugs vs. the ‘techno geeks.'” Both groups are avid proponents of sound money, oppose the actions of the Federal Reserve and most believe in competing currencies. One financial expert published an op-ed piece Thursday urging investors to avoid both bullion and bitcoins.

David Potts wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald that those who are not inclined to understand the technology behind bitcoin are cheering for gold. He stated that bitcoins should be worthless because it’s essentially just a computer code. Potts pretty much claimed that bitcoins are irrelevant, “but then being irrelevant never stopped gold either.”

“So would Bitcoins or bullion be the better investment? I would steer clear of both. Funnily enough, they share a fundamental flaw that many think is also their strong suit,” wrote Potts. “The supply of each is fixed. Gold is not a renewable resource and most of what has been dug up has been reburied in the vaults of central banks, destined never to see the light of day again.”

bitcoinPotts would also take a jab at the illicit transactions and drug deals associated with bitcoin. He attempted to justify the rise of bitcoin’s value by saying it was only because the Chinese were acquiring the digital currency.

He concluded: “I wonder if anybody’s brave or mad enough to buy bullion with Bitcoins.”

Here is the $64,000 question: is he right? Should investors avoid buying gold and/or bitcoin?

Gold is a 6,000-year-old currency that has been the tried, tested and true currency for numerous civilizations, empires and nations. It keeps checks and balances in government budgets, whether directly or indirectly. It also helps maintain the value of a country’s respective currency and thus the purchasing power for consumers.

Bitcoin on the other hand is just four years old but has already skyrocketed in value. True, the virtual currency isn’t backed by anything, but neither is any other currency in the world today – it doesn’t have Ben Bernanke or Janet Yellen at the helm. It is hard to predict if bitcoin will be around in the next decade, century or millennium and if it will be the staple currency for the next civilization, empire or nation.

With a stock market heavily relying on Fed stimulus, a government that is dysfunctional, a greenback that is described as toxic and several bubbles on the verge of bursting, it would be prudent to own gold, silver and other precious metals to protect yourself from the rollercoaster ride of Wall Street.

Some finance experts now say investors should have five to 10 percent of their portfolio in the cryptocurrency.

However, steering clear of both might perhaps show the ignorance of some columnists. Gold is money and has been all over the world for thousands of years. Gold is a relevant commodity because it preserves wealth. Bitcoin could act as the same tool because a person’s wealth remains valuable as long as bitcoiners maintain the structure of the virtual currency.

Dollars and euros? Steer clear of both.