QUESTION: Dear Mr. Armstrong: I have been to the Orlando conference and probably read every single one of your blogs since about a year ago and now wanted to ask you about Bitcoin and/or other alternative currencies. If I am not mistaken, this topic is not something that you have really touched upon. Recent spike in the price of Bitcoin appears to be, at least in part, to be driven by certain countries such as China and Venezuela where people use it to bypass their country’s currency restrictions. Would be it fair to say the more restrictions that we will see by various countries and governments the more Bitcoin or other alternative currencies will be poised to increase in price? Would it also be reasonable to expect this same result if, as you alluded to, governments around the world continue to limit and/or eliminate cash, similar to what we see in India? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
I personally thank you for everything that you are doing!
ANSWER: We must be realistic. Governments are fighting for their very existence. The BREXIT and Trump elections are direct attacks upon government that are rising among the ranks of the silent majority. I do not believe that Bitcoin can survive against governments trying to shut down the flight of capital. Countries like Venezuela are in a state of chaos. China is something different. The flight of capital out of China threatens the continued weakness of the yuan and Trump will misread that as a trade war.
Long-term, the safe haven may become stocks as was the case in Germany during the 1920s. Yes there were people who used the gold coins of foreign countries just as the Japanese turned to Chinese coins when they did not trust their government. But gold you cannot ship between countries without a trace and you cannot hop on a plane with a suitcase full of gold internationally. What did survive were things such as blue-chip shares and real estate in Germany along with foreign coins. But the real estate is not movable and the foreign coins survived because the German hyperinflation did not impact Britain or France..
As far as gold is concerned, I have recommended old common date coins rather than bars and bullion. I have recommended that because you can then claim it is a collection and historical rather than bullion which can be remelted. That worked before, but it may not in the future. You can mail it around within the country, but trying to send it to a foreign land is not so easy anymore.
The higher the price, the more likely government will look at Bitcoin. It is a very sharp doubled-edge sword. We have to be concerned that the governments simply do not declare Bitcoin illegal and all guilty of money-laundering. Then it could become worthless overnight. The whole reason for Bitcoin is the distrust of government. Why would you trust them to also turn a blind-eye to Bitcoin?
The only safe place may be the hole in the backyard. Hence – coin hoards appear in times of crisis.