All that glitters is not gold; it might be Bitcoin
The tussle between digital gold and tangible gold is one for the ages. One rising from its fallen ‘standard’ for the global financial order, and the other born from the debris of financial collapse. Bitcoin and Gold have charted similar paths, yet from the traditional financial standpoint, the two are seen as polar opposites.
From the outside looking in, Bitcoin and Gold are not within the nexus of core financial planning. While one is seen as a “safe haven” asset and the other as a “rogue market,” the two extremes are always clashing as they aimt o create their own niches. This clash was brought to the fore in 2019.
With Bitcoin and Gold tracing each other’s prices [more than previous years] and their individual values rising, in absolute and relative terms, this clash can be seen from an alternate perspective. The perspective of garnering customer-curiosity, via marketing and public relations, has become key. In that sense, 2019 has been the year of Bitcoin and the gold camp is not liking it.
Over the past few months, Bitcoin has been well and truly stealing the spotlight. The digital currency surged past $13,000, the Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt platform confirmed Bitcoin Futures contracts, the CME Group saw a massive increase in XBT volume, and institutional investors turned bullish on cryptocurrency. One of the main reasons for this ‘crypto-attention grab’ was the suave and snide marketing campaign employed by Grayscale Investments, the digital currency asset management company.
A sign of the cryptocurrency industry’s maturity was that no “dank memes” or “dope gifs” flooded Twitter. Instead, a well-directed, rather apocalyptic video detailing the fallacies of gold and highlighting the benefits of digital gold was used. This thirty-nine second advertisement was the start of the #DropGold campaign.
Launched in early May as the Bitcoin bull was rearing its head, the #DropGold campaign spread far beyond the cryptocurrency industry, creating tremors in the world of Gold as well.
Funnily enough, the #DropGold campaign is nominated in five categories at the 2019 PR News Digital Awards. Grayscale’s campaign will feature on the following lists; Digital PR Campaign, Media Relations, Microsite/Custom Site, Viral Campaign, and WOW! Campaign.
The king of all gold bugs, Peter Schiff, was especially not too pleased with the off-the-cuff attack on gold. Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital and Chairman of SchiffGold, has long been known for not taking too kindly to Bitcoin and the larger cryptocurrency ethos, especially when it stands against gold. Days after the advertisement first aired, Schiff tweeted out that Bitcoin’s production was tied to Gold, stating that “you cant mine Bitcoin without using #gold.”
Fast forward four months later and his angst with Bitcoin has not evaporated. Recently, the Gold Bug called out mainstream media’s coverage of Bitcoin. Schiff tweeted that CNBC’s “non-stop,” airing of the Grayscale #DropGold campaign is reason for the financial markets media giant’s “bullish” nature on Bitcoin. His tweet was aimed at bringing out the ties between a media company’s coverage of a financial asset based on the former receiving advertising revenue from a company whose main product is based on that very asset. Schiff’s tweet read,
The Grayscale “Drop Gold” commercial seems to be running non-stop on CNBC. I wonder if CNBC is so bullish on Bitcoin because Grayscale is spending so much money advertising it on their network? Meanwhile GBTC is down 33% from its June high, while gold is up 8% since that date!
— Peter Schiff (@PeterSchiff) August 30, 2019
The cherry picking of GBTC stats versus the price of gold can be outdone by underlining the fact that Bitcoin is trading at 155 percent above its price at the beginning of the year. However, it should be noted that the current price of Bitcoin is trading at 28 percent lower than its peak price for 2019, recorded at over $13,600 in late-June. In this rapid price plunge context, Schiff stated that Bitcoin might ‘out perform’ everything from a long-term perspective. However, looking at the digital currency in the backdrop of its all time high [ the December 2017 peak], Bitcoin will be “down 95 %.”
Schiff believes Bitcoin is centered on speculation. Speculation among investors, markets and regulators. The impact of mainstream media thus, bears immense importance, especially to retail investors, if Schiff’s viewpoint is adopted. Given the importance of speculation, gold bugs believe that the if mainstream media props up Bitcoin and its ilk, the price will rise. Hence, gold, in relativity, will look less pleasing. At a time when people are arguing which is the “safe haven asset,” Schiff included, this question bears even more importance.
Further, the gold bug himself previously stated that the #DropGold advertisement, despite running for 3 months, has seen parallel bearish movement to the “price of GBTC.” He stated,
For the past 3 months, as the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has been running TV commercials urging investors to #dropgold, the price of GBTC has gone sideways, while the price of gold has risen by nearly 20%. Investors need to drop GBTC before Bitcoin’s price falls through the floor!
— Peter Schiff (@PeterSchiff) August 27, 2019
Again a caveat which plays in favor of Schiff and his shimmering commodity is that the 2019 bottom of gold coincided almost perfectly with the coming of the Grayscale campaign. Even Bitcoin bulls, one of them known for tearing up US dollars on camera and proclaiming every fiat currency going to “zero” against Bitcoin, noted this peculiar coincidence.
Gold, at the moment, is faring better than Bitcoin. The commodity is on the up-and-up, while its digital form is stuck in a stalemate, recently dropping below $10,000 yet again. However, Schiff is still uneasy. The gold bug’s implication of CNBC propping up Bitcoin and its hosts having a “love fest” with BTC proponents does point to some insecurity owing to Bitcoin stealing all the attention.
Bitcoin is shimmering despite the price slump and gold bugs don’t like it one bit.