Bitcoin has been kicking the stuffing out of most mining stocks lately, as the cryptocurrency continues to climb to new heights.
Over the last three months bitcoin has doubled in value every month, but with the gains have come some truly scary volatility. In the last week of November bitcoin dropped $2,000, plunging from north of $11,000 to $9,428 in just one session. But as of Sunday, bitcoin was on the move again, last trading at $11,274.
So it seems only natural that with many investors piling into cryptocurrency and blockchain technology companies, some precious metals companies might be tempted to make a pivot.
That’s exactly what happened with a small Israeli gold company that decided six weeks ago to refocus on blockchain and cryptocurrencies. According to its website Natural Resource Holdings (TLV:NLH) has acquired five deposits in North America hosting a combined 1,590,000 ounces of gold, 34.5 million ounces of silver, and 430,000 tonnes of zinc/lead. Then the focus changed to bitcoin.
In the last month and a half the shares of NLH have leapt 1300% in Israeli New Shekels. According to Bitcoin.com the company’s first step is to acquire a Canadian bitcoin mining farm, and is in negotiations with BACKBONE Hosting Solutions to buy 75% of its shares in exchange for 75% of its own stock. Bitcoin.com says the announcement has made NLH the 10th most actively traded stock on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Could other gold companies follow suit and lead to an eclipse of gold by bitcoin, with a rush of investors fleeing the gold space? According to renowned precious metals investor Frank Holmes, the answer is likely no.
That’s because gold has other uses besides currency, it doesn’t need massive amounts of power to be traded, and it is far more liquid. Or in his words:
For one, cryptos are strictly forms of currency, whereas gold has many other time-tested applications, from jewelry to dentistry to electronics.
Unlike cryptos, gold doesn’t require electricity to trade. This makes it especially useful in situations such as hurricane-ravished Puerto Rico, where 95 percent of people are reportedly still without power. Right now the island’s economy is cash-only. If you have gold jewelry or coins, they can be converted into cash—all without electricity or WiFi.
Finally, gold remains one of the most liquid assets, traded daily in well-established exchanges all around the globe. Every day, some £13.8 billion, or $18 billion, worth of physical gold are traded in London alone, according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The cryptocurrency market, although expanding rapidly, is not quite there yet.