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Gold and Bitcoin Won't 'Cannibalize' Each Other: Goldman Sachs Analysts

The dueling commodities inhabit different ends of the investor spectrum and can coexist in a portfolio, the analysts said.

Feb 24, 2021 at 7:59 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:16 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin isn't going to eat gold's lunch anytime soon, according to Goldman Sachs analysts. But here's the kicker: They said gold won't be displacing bitcoin, either.

"In an environment of broadband dollar weakness and still very low and negative real rates we do not see either asset cannibalizing each other and see enough room for both," wrote four Goldman analysts in a Wednesday research note obtained by CoinDesk.

The note, predominately a rather bullish take on gold's 2021 trajectory, cast the two commodities as inhabiting different ends of the investment spectrum: Gold remained the "defensive" play while bitcoin was more "risk-on." Bitcoin "serves a different role in portfolios vs. gold," the analysts said, primarily because of the crypto's legendary volatility.

They attributed gold's underperformance last year to a rotation into riskier asset classes but did not elaborate on what role bitcoin may played had in that move, as JP Morgan did last December.

On the correlated assets front, the analysts steered clear of comparing gold directly to bitcoin. (That correlation turned negative in December.) But they noted a very strong correlation between bitcoin and non-precious metals – copper, tin, zinc – that have moved steadily upward since October.

"Since the end of last year bitcoin has displayed a pretty tight correlation with base metals as both act as risk on inflation hedges with appealing long term growth stories," the analysts wrote.

Goldman's analysts said cryptocurrencies are uniquely sensitive to sudden, investor- and influencer-driven price movements. They pointed to Ripple's XRP token, which tanked as word of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's unregistered securities lawsuit began to spread (the price has largely recovered, however).

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