US Inflation’s 3-Decade-High Surge Provides Tailwind for Bitcoin

The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index is closely tracked by bitcoin traders because the cryptocurrency is seen by some investors as a hedge against inflation.

Nov 10, 2021 at 1:41 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 11, 2021 at 1:05 a.m. UTC

The main U.S. inflation rate surged last month to its fastest in three decades, according to a Labor Department report Wednesday that’s being viewed as a positive for the price of bitcoin.

The Consumer Price Index for all items rose 6.2% in the 12 months through October, the highest since 1990. Economists had projected an increase in the October CPI of 5.9% over the past 12 months.

Inflation is closely tracked by cryptocurrency traders because many bitcoin investors say the digital asset – whose supply is limited by the underlying blockchain’s programming – can serve as a hedge against rising prices.

Bitcoin’s price has more than doubled this year, supporting a broad rally in cryptocurrencies where the total market value of all digital tokens recently topped $3 trillion for the first time.

The bitcoin price hit an all-time high close to $69,000 on Wednesday after the report. As of press time the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was changing hands around $68,568.84, up 2.5% over the past 24 hours.

Economists say that supply-chain bottlenecks, shipping constraints and even limited warehouse space as the coronavirus pandemic retreats might be helping to fuel higher prices. That’s in addition to a tight labor market that has put upward pressure on wages. Companies often try to pass these extra costs along to consumers in the form of higher retail prices.

There’s also speculation that the trillions of dollars of money-printing over the past couple years by the Federal Reserve and other central banks might be contributing to dollar debasement – further supporting the investment case for bitcoin because its supply is tightly controlled.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Markets team.