New Delhi: Cryptocurrencies like bitcoins are no substitute for gold as the latter is a tried and tested effective investment tool in portfolios, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).
Cryptocurrencies may become an established part of the financial system, but golds role as a mainstream financial asset will likely continue to resonate in todays digital world, it said in a latest report.
The cryptocurrency market has been estimated at over USD 800 billion. Bitcoin, the most widely recognised cryptocurrency, has had rapid price growth over the past few years increasing 13-fold in 2017 alone, it added.
“Some commentators went as far as to claim that cryptocurrencies could replace gold…But, in our view, gold is very different from cryptocurrencies,” the report said.
Gold, which has a well understood role in an investment portfolio, is less volatile, has a more liquid market, traded in an established regulatory framework and has little overlap with cryptocurrencies on sources of demand/supply, it added. The WGC also said, “there isn’t any quantifiable evidence that gold holdings are directly suffering from competition from cryptocurrencies.”
The level of gold price in 2017 appears to be consistent with drivers of the past few years and is showing no signs of suffering from crypto-competition, it said in the report.
Unlike gold, cryptocurrencies do not have a clear two-way market. “Reports suggest their volume is driven by buy-and-hold investors, but, so far, they lack the characteristics common to most liquid markets with the ability to short/large quantities,” the WGC report said.
In addition, anecdotal evidence suggests there are high transaction costs for selling positions both in monetary terms and in the time it takes for the transaction to settle.