At the time of writing, the largest Cryptocurrency by market cap sits at over $18,000 per coin, which gives it a total market cap of over $300 billion. Old money calls it a bubble, millennials think it’s the future, but what’s the “truth” of the matter?
Although it was conceived as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, in its current state Bitcoin is more like digital gold (ie. a store of value). If we look at it from this standpoint, and brand Bitcoin as the “millennials’ gold”, we might get a clearer picture of its standing. Before revealing the estimated value of all the above-ground gold on earth, let’s pick a percentage: what should Bitcoin’s total value be compared to gold? You can argue for any number; 1%, 10% or even 200%! After all, as Julian Assange put it “Bitcoin is the real Occupy Wall Street.”
Bitcoin is the real Occupy Wall Street.
— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) December 15, 2017
The Ultimate Scenario
Let’s assume for a second Bitcoin changed course and replaced all the money on Earth, becoming money itself. This would mean that all the coins, banknotes, money market accounts, savings, checking accounts and deposits were converted to Bitcoin. How much value then should the network hold, so the world could work the same way it does today? According to The Money Project, that number is a cool $90.4 trillion – excluding debt and derivatives – with all of the 21,000,000 coins mined that would translate to a value of… *drumroll* $4,304,761 per Bitcoin in today’s dollars. Now that might seem high, but with 8 decimal points, Bitcoin could be a million dollars per coin and still boast a transactional precision of one penny. Not likely! But it is at least technically conceivable(ish). Currently though, Bitcoin seems to be headed towards a store of value. With this in mind, the comparison of gold vs. digital gold holds a little more virtue.
The Numbers Are In
So how much gold is there? The latest survey by Thomson Reuters GFMS puts this number at 171,300 tonnes above ground and 52,400 tonnes yet to be mined (curiously very similar to bitcoins circulating supply of 16,742,862 vs its maximum supply of 21,000,000). Which brings us to the final tally: Gold at approximately $44,415 per kilo, stands at a staggering market cap of $7,601,437,500,000. So against its “physical” counterpart valued at 7.6 trillion dollars, Bitcoin sits at an arguably measly ~%4. What shall we make of that number? That is up to you to decide.