Crypto Exchange Coinbase Explains Why Bitcoin Is Better Than Gold

Siamak Masnavi

In a blog post published on May 1, crypto exchange Coinbase argued that although Bitcoin and gold are "fundamentally similar as scarce and globally accessible units of value", the current COVID-19 pandemic had revealed Bitcoin's "distinct advantage" over gold: "Bitcoin does not rely on fragile physical supply chains and is truly globally accessible."

Coinbase started by pointing out that disruptions caused by COVID-19 had "greatly hindered" the gold markets, causing a "price dislocation" for gold.

Coinbase offered as supporting evidence what was written about gold by the Los Angeles Times on March 24 and by the Wall Street Journal on March 31:

  • The LA Times: “The gold market in New York is facing a historic squeeze as the global pandemic chokes off physical trading routes at the same time that investors are piling into the metal as a safe haven.” 
  • The Wall Street Journal: “As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, investors and bankers are encountering severe shortages of gold bars and coins. Dealers are sold out or closed for the duration.”

In contrast, Bitcoin’s core protocol "continues to function as designed." Also, post Bitcoin's next/third halving on May 12, Bitcoin will be "approximately as scarce as gold while also being teleportable." More specifically, the new rate of supply for Bitcoin will drop from "~3.6% per year" to "~1.7%", thereby "setting it on par with gold’s historic scarcity."

Coinbase also mentions that although Bitcoin's hash rate may temporarily drop right after the halving, it expects that "mining power will continue its upward trajectory soon thereafter."

Next, Coinbase points out that "Bitcoin’s price has also been relatively resilient amid recent market volatility", "currently outperforming both gold and the S&P 500."

As far as the cost of international transfers is concerned, this is much cheaper for Bitcoin than gold.

Another advantage that Bitcoin enjoys over gold is the cost of production is much more transparent in the case of the former.