Since Satoshi Nakamoto dropped the Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008, the differences between gold and its scarce digital relative have been a topic of hot debate.
Nearly 11 years ago, Nakamoto first described the resource intensive mining process for uncirculated BTC as “analogous to gold miners expending resources to add gold to circulation.”
With the yellow precious metal now hitting all-time highs, we decided to look into 5 ways to compare Bitcoin with its likewise limited in supply physical counterpart.Pure gold leaf suspended in water Properties: Digital (Bitcoin) vs Physical (Gold)
Gold is one of 118 elements on the periodic table. In its pure form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. Physical gold can be verified with scales and a specialized handheld scanner (as a deterrent against fake tungsten filled bars).
Bitcoin on the other hand is purely digital as an asset. BTC can be transferred across its immutable blockchain, with the authority to do so residing from user-generated private keys that can be stored on a variety of digital wallet types. BTC transactions or ownership can be verified by downloading a full copy of the Bitcoin blockchain and running a Bitcoin node.
Whereas gold has a reported above ground stock of 197,476 tonnes—with 54,000 tonnes estimated to be still beneath the earth’s crust—BTC’s circulating supply is currently 18.45 million, with 2.55 million BTC still to enter into circulation.
The total supply and all Bitcoin transactions can be tracked and independently verified in real time on the world’s first and most secure public blockchain.Credit: gold.org
In terms of traits as money, gold matches Bitcoin in the categories of fungibility and costliness to forge.
However, for qualities like portability, transactability and ability to be used on a digital network (like the internet)—BTC literally created a category it defined: s...