For a long time now, Bitcoin has been referred to as “digital gold” by many crypto enthusiasts, yet the topic of actual correlation remains a controversial one.
Bitcoin’s price rose at the same time as events in Iran heated up, in line with other traditional assets, such as gold and oil, that saw similar price movements. This has reignited debates over whether Bitcoin is becoming a “safe haven” investment.
Mati Greenspan, crypto analyst and founder of Quantum Economics, noted that “the resemblance between digital gold and the physical stuff is uncanny.” According to him, both assets have been moving in a very similar pattern throughout most of 2019.
On the other hand, speaking to Decrypt, Greenspan expressed more caution on the topic since Bitcoin is still a nascent technology compared to other traditional assets and therefore continues to experience high volatility and growing pains.
“It's still quite early to say for sure, but it does seem that bitcoin is trying to make a transition from being a risk asset to becoming a safe haven. Bitcoin is still finding its place within the global economy and is only just beginning to define itself among other more established financial markets,” Greenspan said, adding, “Like many things crypto, this dynamic is extremely volatile.”
Growing correlation and stability
Last August, Bloomberg’s report on the topic also suggested that bitcoin and gold’s price correlation is rising sharply and almost doubled. The statistics revealed that correlation surged to 0.837 from 0.496 in comparison to 2018, where a coefficient of 1 indicates a perfect correlation and -1, a complete non-correlation.
At the same time, Bloomberg’s experts also suggested caution, noting that correlation is not equal to causation. Furthermore, the author argues that stablecoin Tether (USDT)—and not purely market forces—had a significant impact on bitcoin’s price and crypto markets’ liquidity.
What’s strange is that Bitcoin has always been a very volatile currency, while gold is traditionally very stable. However, bitcoin price has become much more stable in recent months. As Decrypt reported yesterday, a report by SFOX shows that, despite beginning 2019 at just over 70 percent historical volatility, Bitcoin closed out the year at just around 32 percent.
Even further, looking at data from Messari Pro, Bitcoin’s volatility decreased from a three-month average of 0.53 to an average of 0.39 over the last 30 days, showing that it continues to get more stable.