It was no ‘Thrilla in Manila’, as Muhammad Ali dubbed his fight against “Smokin'” Joe Frazier in 1975. Wednesday’s much-hyped two-hour ‘contest’ between American billionaire Michael Saylor and wealthy Canadian businessman Frank Giustra on Youtube was promoted as a “Great Debate” over Bitcoin versus gold.
I felt as I watched the six ’rounds’ that while Saylor (in Bitcoin’s corner) did some great ducking and weaving, Giustra (in gold’s corner) failed to deliver a knock-out punch. By the end, it felt a bit of a damp squib.
Coming a week after Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange, listed on Nasdaq at a heady $80 billion valuation, coinciding with the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a Treasury/Bank of England taskforce to consider the potential for a central bank digital currency, I expected more sparks to fly than actually happened. Coinbase is now trading around five times its price of six months ago. It’s an unusual IPO – a tech company that has come to market and is showing profitability, which most never manage.
The comments that stacked up on Youtube from spectators of the Saylor/Giustra dance as it happened said it all – the world seems bitterly divided between pro and anti-Bitcoin and gold cult followers. According to them you are either destined for poverty or riches from gold or Bitcoin – neither of which is true – and missed the point about both cryptocurrencies and gold. In fact both Saylor and Giustra missed the point.
Cryptocurrencies were developed and have flooded the popular imagination for a very good reason – people have lost or are losing faith in fiat or government-issued currency. I get that; that’s why I set up Glint. Who knows what the future will bring? Cryptocurrencies may well survive – but they are infants scarcely out of diapers compared to gold. In any case there’s room for both.
Saylor for his part ducked away from Giustra’s sensible punches about risk, throwing some feints along the way, such as his extravagant claim that “Bitcoin’s the most popular investment asset in the history of the world”.
But the contest got bogged down and Giustra failed to land what could have been the most devastating punch – which is that while gold has indeed been used throughout most of recorded history as money, it has once more re-gained that status, thanks to Glint. For with Glint’s App and Mastercard® you can load gold onto it, and then take that shopping and spend gold as money. That’s not easy with cryptocurrencies, which are transactionally slow and cumbersome.
Note to self: contact Giustra and remind him that his pro-gold notes need updating to take account of Glint.
Until next week!
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