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Gold and silver are popular with preppers, as they are seen as physical “safe haven” assets that will still have value even in a financial collapse. However, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have now emerged, and have become popular for many of the same reasons. However, many preppers don’t know the benefits of one over the other.
But which of the two is the better survival currency? Frankly, neither!
Both have pros and cons that would make one or the other more ideal in any given collapse situation. Therefore the question, it isn’t so much which is better, but what qualities each asset possesses that would make them great resources for different survival scenarios.
In a survival situation, once a new financial system begins to emerge, history shows that precious metals like gold reliably start being used as money. Theoretically, however, anything that meets certain qualifications could be used for this purpose.
- Money should be portable, or easy to carry.
- Anonymity is a big plus as well, as there is a strong correlation between financial collapses and wars.
- Governments also tend to become more authoritarian in financial implosions, and may try to seize assets, so anonymity becomes potentially important.
- There’s also the question of historical resilience, security, and other factors.
We’ll now compare Bitcoin and gold for survival by rating which is better for each of the above critical characteristics of effective survival money.
Bitcoin wins, hands-down, in the portability department. You can have a billion dollars’ worth of Bitcoin, and it would be just as easy to transport as one dollar worth. Gold is heavy, so your ability to travel (or bug out) with even a remotely large stash of gold is extremely limited.
Buying bitcoin is usually traceable through the bank account you used to trade US dollars, and through forensic analysis of the blockchain, which is an unalterable digital ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. However, you generally have to use cash from a bank account to buy gold or Bitcoin, meaning transactions can be forensically tracked.
If two people were transacting privately, however, either gold or Bitcoin could be exchanged anonymously, just as with cash. Bitcoin is potentially more anonymous to obtain in the first place, but even gold can be purchased with cash from a private buyer. Problem is, there’s such a thing as fool’s gold, but Bitcoin can’t be faked. That brings us to the next characteristic of ideal survival money, which is security.
This one is interesting, as there are real security pros and cons to both gold and Bitcoin — they merely apply to different situations.
Bitcoin certainly leaves room for one to be scammed, as is the case with almost any transaction. But the technology behind it means there’s no way to really fake a bitcoin. Gold can be faked with tungsten, gold coatings, and various forms of “fool’s gold,” but there’s no such thing as Fool’s Bitcoin.
As far as seizure from the state, gold is probably easier to seize than Bitcoin, but with smart storage, even the government might have a hard time finding all of your gold stash.
However, the fact remains that Bitcoin is solely digital. That means that without electricity or web access, you’re out of luck, and your Bitcoin could be wiped out. That can’t happen with gold, and never will, so gold wins over Bitcoin in the security department.
Bitcoin could theoretically go to zero. In five thousand years of human economic history, gold has never, in any country or kingdom, become worthless. That makes the question of resilience an easy win for gold.
There’s just not enough history behind Bitcoin for it to be able to hold a candle to gold in the resilience department. Gold has five thousand years of human economic history behind it, and can’t be extinguished in an EMP attack.
Fungibility refers to the ability of a single unit of any given asset to be interchangeable with any other single unit. Both Bitcoin and gold are highly fungible.
Since an ounce of pure gold will be worth the exact same amount as any other ounce of pure gold, gold is fungible. Same goes for Bitcoin. Therefore, both come out just about even as far as fungibility goes.
Neither Bitcoin nor gold would be very helpful in the beginning phase of collapse; only after a more formalized economic system started to emerge during a later phases would they start becoming go-to mediums of exchange.
At the very beginning, people will transact in wads of cash and by bartering essentials like tampons and food, but as people realize that bartering requires a coincidence wherein two parties must happen to each have something that the other needs, forms of currency can start to emerge fairly quickly to make trading easier.
Historically, metals have tended to be one of the first things that people begin using for this purpose.
So much depends on nature of collapse. If there’s still electricity and web access, Bitcoin could be extremely useful. But absent either of those things, it’s utterly worthless.
Gold is a powerful asset whether or not the electricity still works, but it wouldn’t be in immediate demand. Bitcoin is easier to take on the run, and doesn’t require that you go around your property digging up all your buried gold. But it may also be hard, if not impossible, to use or access if web use is restricted or electricity becomes unreliable.
Bitcoin weighs nothing so it’s better for an emergency where you have to mobilize, flee, or bug out, but it comes with disadvantages. You can learn more about Cryptocurrency for Preppers here.
The real point is, Bitcoin and gold aren’t opposing forces, or an either/or option for preppers. Just as you wouldn’t spend all your extra money buying bullets without buying any stored food, you want to have a little of both Bitcoin and precious metals to be as prepared as possible.
Every one of your preps are investments of time and money, and being truly prepared means not having your eggs all in one basket. This is no different than diversifying traditional financial investments to benefit from different sectors of the economy, and to ensure if one investment goes badly, you have others to fall back on.
What ratio of gold and Bitcoin you buy just depends on your own finances, and how useful you think Bitcoin will be versus gold for the types of situations you’re prepping for. Since no one can predict the future, balance is key!
Eric is a nature-loving writer, experience junkie, and former Boy Scout who never forgot that time-honored Scout Motto: Be prepared. Aside from camping and survival, he loves writing about travel, history, and anything he finds strange and unique!
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