33 reasons why holding bitcoin is better than holding gold

Here are 33 reasons why holding bitcoin is better than holding gold. I hold and have experimented with both in various ways, which helped me come up with this list.

By the way, holding bitcoin means being in possession or control of the private keys to your bitcoins, like when using certain bitcoin wallet apps, instead of keeping a bitcoin balance online at an exchange or in an online wallet. Holding gold means being in possession or control of it, not owning gold certificates or bonds. Same idea, except one is the digital equivalent to the other’s analog.

1.

If you store your gold at home or in your apartment, it can be stolen. You can also lose access to your home, and therefore your gold. Gold can melt in a fire. Bitcoin can’t. If you store your gold in a bank vault, you can also lose access to it for a variety of reasons.

2.

If you carry your gold coins or bars around, they can be lost or taken. You can get mugged. You may be the victim of civil asset forfeiture, or other illegal seizure. Your Bitcoin cannot be taken from your smartphone or encrypted paper wallet without your consent. Also, nobody can frisk you or search your car or bags and figure out you have Bitcoin on you.

3.

You can’t buy stuff online with your gold. Like furniture from Overstock, games on Steam, computers from Dell, Microsoft, and hundreds if not thousands of other online services and stores.

4.

You can’t buy gold online and immediately receive it within moments. It must be shipped to you, insured, and you have to be there at the right moment to receive it. Nor can you upload your gold to liquidate it into cash.

5.

If you get sued for any reason, or divorced, or your assets are seized by a court or the state, whether rightfully or wrongfully, then your gold stash can be physically seized. Your bitcoin cannot be taken from you without your consent.

6.

The best “sound money” is the one you have with you! Not only is Bitcoin safe to carry around, but Bitcoin has no weight, so you are not disincentivized to carry it around. You won’t carry around gold bars or coins larger than a Maplegram for those reasons. If your gold is at home and you need to liquidate it for some reason, you have to go back home to get it, and that may not be a good option at all times.

7.

Carrying gold around is less useful than bitcoins, because there are comparatively far less businesses –and these days, people– that accept gold for payment than Bitcoin.

8.

You can’t cross borders with your some of your gold stash without declaring it. You can’t even bring any worthy amount on an airplane.

9.

There’s no “app for that”. You can’t send your gold to somebody over the internet. You have to hire today’s equivalent to the Pony Express, such as UPS or FedEx, and then wait, and trust them with it. Or deliver it yourself. Slow, tedious, costly.

10.

You can’t safely trade your gold for cash in-person with someone you don’t know and trust. With Bitcoin, there are trustless ways to trade.

11.

Storing your gold securely at home requires an expensive safe and electronic surveillance. Security through obscurity is weak. Storing your bitcoin securely just requires you to memorize a PIN code or a passphrase. You can have better than Fort Knox security with your Bitcoin at no charge other than to make sure you have a good smartphone (a non-jailbroken iPhone 6 and up with latest iOS will do fine.) and follow some best practices.

12.

You can’t get a gold-backed credit or debit card and then decide to instantly load it up with some of your gold stash.

13.

You can’t buy and sell gold at ATMs across the world. You can only *buy* gold from a Vending machine. In Dubai.

14.

If government outlaws private possession of gold, as they did in the USA until 1975 (and could do it again, as other countries still do), forcing individuals to return gold in return for paper currency, the risks of discovering your gold stash (or being denounced) are far greater than if this happens with bitcoin.

15.

It’s hard to tell the purity of gold. You might own impure or even fake gold. It’s drop-dead easy to know if you have real bitcoins.

16.

You can’t convert Gold to Silver or to Platinum or other precious metals if those become more fashionable or have better growth prospects with the press of a button from your sofa. You can convert Bitcoin to other cryptocurrencies with the press of a button in your bitcoin wallet app.

17.

You can’t simultaneously store your gold in multiple locations. You can keep copies of your bitcoin private key in multiple locations.

18.

You can’t give partial control of your gold to other people. With Bitcoin, you can give private keys to your bitcoins to a certain number of people and have them controled only if 2, 3 or more of them accept to make a given transaction.

19.

You can’t lock-in your gold so it can’t be traded/sold until a certain time. You can with Bitcoin.

20.

You can’t check your gold balance (or know if it is still all there) whenever you want even, from anywhere. You can with bitcoin.

21.

You can’t accept gold donations securely without even being there to receive them or paying/trusting a 3rd party to collect and protect them for you. With bitcoin, you can. It can be as easy as having a bitcoin sticker with the bitcoin QR code to donate to on it.

22.

You can’t convert gold to a brainwallet and store it entirely in your mind. You could be naked and in solitary confinement and still control fortunes and therefore have the power to spend/trade it.

23.

Bitcoin is easily divisible into smaller units as needed. Gold, not so much. I have some nifty 1g Canadian Mint MapleGrams, they are pretty tiny, but still worth about $50 USD each. You can have $2.00 of bitcoin or whatever you need.

24.

Gold transactions can be reversed. Through violent coercion. Bitcoin transactions cannot.

25.

Bitcoin is more scarce. Total amount of gold is unknown, and in some ways unlimited. Total amount of bitcoin is known to all, and is limited. Scarcity helps maintain value.

26.

Gold mining/production rate (and therefore daily supply) is variable. Gold mines can be discovered. Therefore its scarcity is variable. Bitcoin production is a known and fixed quantity. Gold production may increase over time. Bitcoin production gets cut in half every 4 years. This directly affects supply and demand and therefore is a factor that causes bitcoin’s increase in value over time.

27.

You can’t mine gold from the comfort of your home, while doing other stuff. You can do this with bitcoin. Just buy a mining rig, plug it in and configure it, and you’ll be accumulating bitcoin.

28.

You can’t start your own precious metal or even mint your own coins or create a gold-backed currency of your own (see Liberty Dollar and e-Gold). You do all that with Bitcoin.

29.

Bitcoin is programmable (can support smart contracts, tokens, secure and automatic crowdfunding), gold is not.

30.

Bitcoin can and does significantly evolve. It gets new capabilities and features every year. Gold, far less, such as the introduction of thin, wallet-size gold wafers that can be separated into tiny rectangles for divisibility.

31.

Bitcoin can exist in virtual worlds below our level and move back and forth between the current layer (the real world) and the virtual layer (the level below), gold cannot.

32.

Bitcoin is still new, with a blue sky for potential value gain. Market cap is less than $100 billion. Gold has at least a $1 trillion market cap. Lots of room for bitcoin to grow. Gold, far less. It’s gold’s market cap to lose, and bitcoin’s to gain.

33.

Bitcoin transactions are time stamped, so proving you traded it is easy. Proving you paid in gold requires a trusted receipt, and the receipt can be cheated.

Revised Bitcoin summary and brief comparison with government currency

Bitcoin is a worldwide ledger backed by open source code, cryptography and the most powerful and secure decentralized computational network on the planet. The Bitcoin network’s applicable computing power is orders of magnitude more than Google’s, Apple’s, Microsoft’s, Amazon’s and all the world’s governments’ combined applicable computing power.

The Bitcoin network’s computing power secures the ledger against any tampering whatsoever.

The Bitcoin ledger records ownership of ‘bitcoin’ tokens. There is a limit of 21 million bitcoins, and each is divisible into 100 million smaller units, or about 250000 units per human alive, enough for everyone to own some. A few new bitcoins are created at a fixed rate every 10 minutes on average until the maximum is eventually reached. Ownership of newly created bitcoins is assigned to miners, which can be anyone that contributes computing power to Bitcoin’s distributed network.

Ownership of bitcoins is possible solely by being the holder of the private key(s) to those bitcoins. A private key is a sequence of letters and numbers the owner has recorded somewhere, such as in a password-protected file, on paper, in an app on a smartphone, or even committed to memory. Bitcoin owners who keep their private keys secret cannot have their bitcoins taken away by any entity without their consent. Government currency can be seized or destroyed without the owner’s consent, either physically if it is in the form of cash, or electronically if it is in a bank account.

Dollars, Euros, Yen, and all other government currencies are not backed by gold or silver anymore, they are simply created as desired by central banks such as the Federal Reserve in the USA or the European Central Bank in Europe. Currency is also created out of nothing by regular banks in a process called fractional-reserve banking, whereby the banks legally lend out a multiple of the amount of currency deposited by customers.

As more government currency is created, the value of the currency already in circulation diminishes, causing indirect taxation known as inflation tax. Governments use this mechanism to stealthily finance activities such as war that would otherwise require directly taxing citizens. Direct taxes are far more noticeable and subject to cause dissension.

Holders of bitcoins cannot be subjected inflation tax because any attempt to change Bitcoin’s unit limit or structure automatically creates an altcoin. An altcoin may have a new ledger, or its ledger can be a copy of Bitcoin’s ledger, known as a fork, made the moment right before the unit limit or structure change was made. Either way, the original Bitcoin ledger, with its original unit limit and structure, continues to exist. Owners continue to own bitcoins on the original, as well as on any fork. The total value of the combined original and forked ledger remains the same, proportional to the distribution of computing power securing the ledgers.

As more citizens hold their savings in Bitcoin, the value of government currency is diminished, along with the government’s ability to indirectly tax citizens without their consent in order to finance questionable activities.


This summary is an elaborated version of this one I spotted on Reddit.

Pulling the string to see where it leads.

Try this experiment. Get your hands on your own bitcoin. 1 penny’s worth, a symbolic amount. I’ll send it to you myself to make it easy, just send me your deposit address.

Then ask yourself:

  • “Am I allowed to own this stuff? What can give others the right, or the power, to compel me to not use it? Who gives them this power?”

If you keep pulling on that string, it might lead you to a new awareness, it might not.

On April 30, 2013, I discovered Bitcoin, and those were the first questions I asked myself. This led me deep into the rabbit hole. I won’t tell you what I discovered in there. Unfortunately, no one can be told what’s in there, you have to see it for yourself.

Or, the story ends, you wake up in your bed…

Why should you use bitcoin?

Here’s why you would want to get your hands on some bitcoin and start using it now, while its fate is still uncertain:

Use bitcoin if you don’t like being told what you can and can’t do with your money.

Use bitcoin if you don’t like being told who and where you can send your money to.

Use bitcoin if you like the idea of being able to use services online without having to reveal your personal information or email.

Use bitcoin if you don’t like buying stuff and having to trust the merchant to keep your credit card information safe.

Use bitcoin if you think it is silly that a merchant can charge your credit card the wrong amount, or accidentally double charge, or worse.

Use bitcoin if you like the idea that nobody, for any reason, justified or not, can freeze or confiscate your assets.

Use bitcoin if you don’t like paying large fees when transferring money.

Use bitcoin if you are saving money for your retirement. Unlike government money it isn’t guaranteed to lose 95% or more of its value in your lifetime.

Use bitcoin if you want to help make sure it survives the battle with Visa, Western Union, JP Morgan, HSBC and friends.

Use bitcoin if you want to always have access to your money no matter where you are on earth.

Use bitcoin if you feel government has a bit too much power or abuses it. Take some of that power back into your own hands. If government currency has less of a monopoly, government can’t just print more money whenever it wants to, to pay for things citizens don’t agree with.

Use bitcoin if you want choice. Don’t let it die from neglect.

Use bitcoin if your life savings are all pegged to your government’s currency. Don’t keep your eggs all in one basket. Or buy some gold.

— Odi

Thoughts about what bitcoin is

Here are some not very organized thoughts about Bitcoin that won’t fit in tweets, but that I think are food for thought still worth publishing.

What is Bitcoin? It is the world’s most secure and fair way for storing and exchanging value.

Think about the money you make and any wealth you accumulate. Is it safe from bank fees, restrictions of various kinds, safe from being taken away from you unfairly by the government (not counting income taxes and sales taxes and other everyday government policies we typically participate in), being stolen by thieves, lost by bank errors, accidents, taken by unfair court order, seized, etc?

Bitcoin is like “the Internet of money”. It cannot be stopped, it is worldwide, it has real value, and it is not controlled by one or more governments and manipulated by banks, the nobility, politicians, intelligence agencies, organized crime, etc. It is a breakthrough in mathematics and computer science, and builds upon other amazing breakthroughs like public-key cryptography and peer-to-peer networking protocols.

Think of bitcoin as a new possession/wealth recognition system. There are 4 such systems I can think of today not including bitcoin:

  1. Fiat currency, which means money that is issued by government and also legal tender, which means legally it must be accepted by the citizens of the country for exchanging goods/services. This is what you get paid with by your employer, this is what you have in your wallet, bank account, etc. Every country uses one or more. The Euro, US$, Yen, Rupiahs, etc.
  2. Deeds to properties/land. You have one of these, it is recognized by your country and citizens, and this way everyone knows you own something. Of course, if your country is invaded, the invaders can ignore this.
  3. Legal agreements, promise documents, verbal promises to pay back, etc. between people.
  4. Precious metals.

Much of the above can fall apart when everything isn’t smoothly running.

Bitcoin is a new, 5th possession/wealth recognition system, not based on trust, but rather, mathematics and encryption (under the covers, you don’t need to know how it works) to assign value to you (in “bitcoins”). That value assigned to you cannot be taken from you by anyone. Governments, intelligence agencies, thieves, etc. When you send bitcoin to someone, the operation cannot be reversed. There are no banks involved, no fees necessary to make transactions, and your bitcoins exist worldwide as long as the internet exists. If you keep your private key in your mind, then only torture can extract it. Torture, blackmail, or a compromised device (such as a compromised Android phone you enter your private keys into).

With bitcoin, your wealth is not hanging by a thread which can be easily cut by the whim of courts, governments, thieves, banks, etc. It is international, it doesn’t depend on the value of the $US dollar, or the stability of a few countries. Solid stuff.

You can think of bitcoin as “digital gold”. Its value is based on supply/demand (purely, because supply cannot be manipulated artificially, like a country “printing more money” as needed). Gold, but with all the advantages of being digital… speed, micro-transactions, security, etc.