Bitcoin Versus Gold: Or How I Learned to Stop Caring About Economic Internet Arguments

I think it’s time we took a moment to chat. If you pay attention to economic, crypto-anarchism, libertarianism, or other similarly intersecting online forums you have probably picked up on the recent Bitcoin versus gold debate that has been raging on. The latest exchange started with Peter Schiff posted this video touting gold over Bitcoin:

This kicked the Bitcoin community into holy crusade mode. The most well written counterargument to Schiff’s video, in my opinion, is this one from Reddit.

I have a problem with both sides of the argument. There is no reason one has to win. We, as a species, are actually capable of using more than one thing as a medium of exchange. For example, gold and silver have historically been found together as mediums of exchange in markets based on precious metals. Today we see the use of dollars, yuan, yen, pounds, euros, and many other currencies used to facilitate transactions. In fact I would submit that having a single medium of exchange is just as dangerous as any other monopoly.

Bitcoin is a new and exciting newcomer. It’s attractive to us neophiles, in part, because it’s an unknown quantity that could greatly shake the foundation of the current monetary systems. Neophobes tend to shy away from Bitcoin because it’s new and unproven. For them gold is a better option because it’s been around forever. I’m a fan of diversification. If Bitcoin takes a dump and gold excels then I’m happy to have gold. If the opposite happens I’m happy to have Bitcoin. If both excel as currencies I’ll be happy to have both. The only way this debate will be determined once and for all is when time leads us to a result. I just hope that whatever result we arrive at is unexpected by all involved interests. Nothing is worse than minds not being blown.