There were 2.6 million Internet users in 1990. 10 years later, in the year 2000, this had grown to 500 million. By the time the first Bitcoin block emerged in 2009, the world had almost 2 billion Internet users. Since then it’s more than doubled to over 4.5 billion and today more than half the world’s population is Internet-connected.
We live in a digital world, so it’s only natural that we would invent some kind of digital gold for it.
In many ways, gold is the precious metal counterpart to the bitcoin. Like the bitcoin, gold must be obtained through mining. But, while gold is obtained through physical mining, bitcoins must be “mined” virtually through the deciphering of special computer encryptions.
Similarly, both gold and bitcoins are only available in limited quantities. It is estimated that there is approximately 171,000 metric tons of gold in the world, while the Bitcoin system will only be able to generate and support a maximum of 21,000,000 bitcoins until further technological advances are made.
Let’s take a look at their actual price differentiation. In today’s prices, 1 oz. of gold is worth around 0.15 BTC. For comparison, 1 oz. of the metal was worth 584 BTC in 2011.
By comparing the price of BTC to an oz. of gold, it becomes clear how much Bitcoin has grown in just a short 8 years relative to the precious metal. Here are the numbers.
- In 2011, 584 BTC = 1 oz. of gold
- In 2012, 159 BTC = 1 oz.
- In 2013, 6 BTC = 1 oz.
- In 2014, 3.5 BTC = 1 oz.
- In 2015, 2.5 BTC = 1 oz.
- In 2016, 1.6 BTC = 1 oz.
- In 2017, 0.18 BTC = 1 oz.
- In 2018, 0.16 BTC = 1 oz.
- In 2019, 0.15 BTC = 1 oz.
Overall, the numbers demonstrate how much Bitcoin has grown relative to the metal. It should also be noted that the both prices are based on the average for their given year. Given such similarities and their individual market activity over the past few years, it is understandable why bitcoin could ultimately replace gold in terms of value.
All theories hold that Bitcoin has more potential for price growth than gold, a very large upside potential. It's ease of digital distribution is amazing. As a purely digital asset, Bitcoin can be transported and stored almost freely and accessed globally as long as you have the keys and Bitcoin prices show little correlation with other asset classes.
Despite this growth relative to oz. of gold, Bitcoin is still a tiny fraction of Bitcoin’s market capitalization. If Bitcoin were to only capture 10% of the metal’s entire market capitalization, the price of each Bitcoin would be around $33,000.
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