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Crypto die-hards see a bright future as they hark back to its origins with anti-inflation push

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In demand: Bitcoin, with its finite supply, will become coveted, say its backers

In demand: Bitcoin, with its finite supply, will become coveted, say its backers

In demand: Bitcoin, with its finite supply, will become coveted, say its backers

A crisis was supposed to be Bitcoin's time to shine, when the need for an international currency outside the reach of central banks would prove invaluable.

That hasn't been the case, but no matter to crypto die-hards. The future is brighter than ever, especially as central banks around the world pump cash into listing economies, threatening a wave of inflation if growth were to snap back.

That's when Bitcoin, with its finite supply, will become coveted, say some of its most prominent mainstream backers including Tyler Winklevoss, Mike Novogratz and Paul Tudor Jones.

The argument harkens back to the token's origins.

Bitcoin's halving, which cut in half the rewards miners receive, has long been seen as a guard against inflation.

What's giving the argument new life now is today's economic backdrop. Central banks are dispensing gargantuan stimulus measures to buttress markets and the global economy.

"The rest of the world needs to either keep printing money or see their own currency eroding drastically in front of the unbeatable dollar," said Jean-Marie Mognetti, CEO of CoinShares, a digital asset manager.

"Bitcoin, a digital currency whose supply is programmatically defined to reduce until it reaches its maximum supply, would seem to be the perfect hedge for any institutional investor portfolio."

The halving was Bitcoin's third. The supply cut has become an appealing feature for investors who are fearful fiat money can lose its value to inflation if too much is printed. It is also meant to prevent inflation by acting to periodically slow the pace at which Bitcoin are created through 2140 so as to not outstrip demand.

Meanwhile, major central banks have slashed interest rates and ramped up bond buying while governments have dedicated more than $8trn (€7.4trn) in stimulus to cushion the coronavirus blow.

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With the US economy sustaining a massive hit, the Federal Reserve has unleashed a raft of packages aimed at reducing market stresses.

Its balance sheet has ballooned to more than $6trn and, by some estimates, could top 50pc of gross domestic product by the end of the year. That's pushed many new converts toward cryptocurrencies.

While Galaxy Digital's Novogratz has been emphasising the argument for a while, macro investor Jones, of Tudor Investment, caused a splash when he acknowledged buying Bitcoin as a hedge against the inflation he sees coming from central bank money-printing.

"We are witnessing the great monetary inflation - an unprecedented expansion of every form of money unlike anything the developed world has ever seen," Jones said.

To Simon Peters, crypto-asset analyst at eToro, Jones's foray means more high-profile names could come out in support of Bitcoin, "especially in an environment of unlimited QE and the potential for negative interest rates". The token is gaining more support as an inflation hedge, says Peters, who sees it reaching a new high in the $20,000-$50,000 range within 18 months.

Bitcoin has been one of best-performing asset classes this year, rallying about 30pc to $9,500, while the S&P 500 Index has dropped 11pc.

Despite the token's gains, it's still 50pc below its peak of almost $20,000 reached in December 2017.

The intrinsic value argument for Bitcoin was ridiculed in a paper published by a leading Bank of England economist back in 2018 as it plunged.

"If I waste £150 on employing labourers to find and exhume the buried remains of my childhood pet tortoise from my parents' garden, those costs don't make the skeleton worth £150 to an investor," John Lewis wrote in the central bank's report.

Bloomberg


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