Bitcoin, Gold and scarcity

30. June 2019. by tompaCro
Folks have an inherent need to own what others can’t. This need makes a useful resource with restricted provide extra precious. The worth of a scarce asset is driven by society’s collective desire for it. This may be noticed with quite a lot of objects folks covet — restricted version automobiles, unique sneakers, uncommon wine. Shortage sparks
btc-gold scarcity

Folks have an inherent need to own what others can’t. This need makes a useful resource with restricted provide extra precious. The worth of a scarce asset is driven by society’s collective desire for it. This may be noticed with quite a lot of objects folks covet — restricted version automobiles, unique sneakers, uncommon wine. Shortage sparks desire; desire creates value.

Scarce Assets

The idea of “utility” is well-understood, and the financial concept round it fairly mature. Lots has been written about utility, and the worth of any object (or particular person or group) that gives utility to the society is accepted. The worth of scarcity, alternatively, remains mysterious, and on the fringes of investing and analysis.

I focus a narrow lens on the worth of scarcity right here, with three belongings which have scarcity as an important constructing block. Following causes make them attention-grabbing for the needs of this examine:

  • Every asset has a singular place because the “normal” or “pioneer” asset in its area.
  • The restricted utility of those belongings could also be debatable, however their provide is verifiably scarce.
  • They exhibit (most if not all) traits of cash — sturdiness, portability, divisibility, uniformity, restricted provide, and acceptability.

The aim is to not current considered one of these belongings as superior to a different — all of them have their deserves. Here is intention to check and distinction them to discover the concept of shortage. I hope this put up invokes curiosity about shortage, and encourages additional, deeper analysis.

Gold — the quintessential scarce asset

Gold is the quintessential scarce asset, and the most well-liked type of “commodity” money. There’s a limited supply on the planet. An estimated 190,000 tonnes of Gold has been mined since the beginning of time, and around 3,000 new tonnes are mined yearly.

Over 90% of the demand for Gold is in jewelry and investments.

Gold’s utilization is predominantly for decorative and investing functions, and over 90% of the demand for Gold is in jewelry and investments. Industrial makes use of like electronics, dental and medical account for much less that 10% of Gold demand. Regardless of the limited utility, the yellow metal has maintained its attraction and worth over millennia.

Source: World Gold Council

Because the gold standard was deserted within the 1970s, the nominal value (not adjusted for inflation) of Gold soared from around $40 to close $1700 in 2012. More recently, Gold trades around $1300.

Bitcoin — Digital Gold

Not like Gold, which the human race stumbled upon and found its shortage, Bitcoin was the first popular implementation of digital scarcity. Bitcoin supply has been predefined within the code. There are nearly 18 million in circulation at the moment. The supply will increase to a maximum of 21 million in 2140.


In comparison with Gold’s historical past that covers millennia, Bitcoin is a relatively new asset. The Bitcoin Genesis block was mined on January 3, 2009 with this remark — a response to the instability brought on by fractional-reserve banking:

The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks

10,000 bitcoin purchased one pizza in 2010, and at the moment every coin is value several thousand {dollars} — over $13,000 at the time of writing.

Bitcoin’s unique objective of becoming a peer-to-peer payment network has not been totally realized because of scalability points and high price volatility, however Bitcoin has clearly established itself as a store of value along the way. Limited supply, with a transparent supply schedule, performs a key function in driving the worth.


Bomb — Deflationary Gold

Within the digital age, we don’t want to attend one other few millennia for a brand new innovation in scarce belongings to come back alongside. Bomb caught attention because the “world’s first self-destructing currency”. The project states its goal merely as a social experiment and monetary case study to measure the feasibility of a deflationary currency.

Bomb is world’s first self-destructing currency

The revolutionary concept right here is that Bomb’s provide decreases over time. Bomb’s total supply began with 1 million tokens. Every time a Bomb is transferred, 1% of the transaction is destroyed. No new Bomb tokens will ever be minted.

Bomb came into existence in January 2019 as a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. Majority of the supply was airdropped to early individuals totally free. It’s fascinating that one thing that was given away totally free earlier within the 12 months, has traded for over $10 on crypto exchanges.

Source: CoinMarketCap

Bomb makes no claim at any utility aside from as a decentralized hedge towards conventional inflationary instruments. The challenge is admittedly in its infancy, however it’s fascinating as a pure implementation of scarcity.

Price Appreciation and Volatility

Because the gold standard was deserted within the 1970s, the nominal value (not adjusted for inflation) of Gold soared from round $40 to over $1700 in 2012. More recently, Gold trades round $1300. Bitcoin value soared from zero to over $19,000 inside a couple of years of existence, and Bomb coated the gap from zero to $10 in only a few months since its invention.

Given the lack of intrinsic utility although, Gold value stays unstable and extremely hard to foretell. The long-term development is encouraging nevertheless it’s price noting that Gold’s return has been damaging (or near zero when you had been luckier) for the final eight years. Bitcoin value fell to below $4,000 put up the all-time excessive above $19,000.

Assets that derive the vast majority of their value from individuals’s desire of scarcity can go through long bear markets.

Hedging Cycle Danger

Scarce assets may be helpful hedges for cycle risks. Gold is well-accepted as a hedge to financial cycle danger, and geopolitical threat. Bitcoin is more and more cited as a possible hedge to geopolitical threat because it gains popularity.

Crypto cycles are uncorrelated to financial cycles, and anybody who has skilled their intensity will discover value in hedging crypto exposure. Bomb, by pioneering a deflationary token amongst a plethora of inflationary crypto currencies, intends to supply a hedge to crypto cycle danger.

Bomb intends to hedge crypto cycle danger.

Scarce assets would possibly change into much more related in a interval when central banks — the controllers of fiat currency— are coming below immense stress from populist agendas and polarizing politics. Extreme printing of fiat currency will only increase economic cycle risks.

And there’s plenty of evidence that people-controlled cash printing will not be slowing down. Global debt has risen to well over 200% of GDP because the monetary disaster within the early 2000s. Apparently, the richest economies are essentially the most in debt. The highest three debtors on the earth — the USA, China, and Japan — account for greater than half of worldwide debt, exceeding their share of worldwide output.

Source: International Monetary Fund


There’s loads of competitors in the world of scarcity. Gold competes with Silver, Platinum, and different precious metals for its position. Silver and Platinum have industrial makes use of which drive their value, and expose them to financial cycle threat. Gold is thus distinctive for its pure “safe haven” high quality, that individuals flock to in occasions of uncertainty.

Bitcoin has a singular place because the pioneering asset of the crypto revolution that unleashed an immense quantity of innovation. Bitcoin continues to solidify its place because the “standard” amid several other crypto currencies.

Competitors for Bomb is heating up already — some tasks are attention-grabbing improvements on the deflationary concept, and others outright copycats. While it took a couple of years for Bitcoin competitors to catch up, Bomb competition is close at its heels. The challenge might want to quickly construct on the concept it has pioneered as a way to keep away from being swamped by competitors.

Competitors unintentionally brings extra consideration to the scarce asset.

There’s a shiny aspect to competitors. Though it may be argued that competitors reduces shortage, it additionally helps improve reputation and convey extra consideration to the scarce asset. A whole bunch of crypto currencies launched in the last few years have introduced extra attention to Bitcoin, helped it become more popular, and established crypto as an asset class that even establishments have began taking significantly.

Characteristics of Money

These assets exhibit characteristics of money — durability, portability, divisibility, uniformity, limited supply, and acceptability — to varying degrees, and with interesting deviations. They’re all durable and uniform, however the other characteristics warrant some discussion.

The provision of those assets is restricted as a result of it isn’t managed by individuals — Gold occurs naturally, whereas Bitcoin and Bomb supply is defined in code.

Bitcoin and Bomb are significantly more portable than Gold due to their digital nature.

Bitcoin is divisible to the eighth decimal, a Satoshi. Put differently, every bitcoin is the same as 100 million Satoshis. Bomb, on the other hand, chose to be not divisible. The smallest unit is 1 Bomb. The 1% Bomb destroyed is rounded up and a whole Bomb token is destroyed on each transaction. So, 1 Bomb is destroyed when 100 are transacted, or when a single Bomb is transacted. This indivisibility speeds up the deflationary process pioneered by Bomb.

Where Gold has been widely accepted for millennia — means earlier than fiat cash got here alongside — Bitcoin has made fast progress in the direction of mainstream acceptance. Bitcoin began as a movement among technologists, innovators, and activists, and it continues to gain popularity. The variety of Bitcoin blockchain wallet users has risen to 40 million at an astounding rate; eight million customers had been added only in 2019.


Bomb has just began its journey, and the challenge is receiving heightened consideration from the crypto community.

The value of a scarce asset lies in its popularity, so it is going to be interesting to look at how the acceptance for Bomb evolves.


In a generally abundant world, scarcity has and will preserve its attraction. The arrival of digital scarcity has opened up the area for innovation.

Gold is the quintessential scarce asset; Bitcoin and Bomb fascinating innovations in scarcity. The value of a scarce asset is in its limited supply, and distinctive narrative that helps is stand out from competitors. Limited industrial use reduces its publicity to financial cycles, and makes Gold distinctive among valuable metals. Bitcoin pioneered the concept of a decentralized, trustless, digital asset which launched a whole crypto revolution. Bomb is exclusive because the world’s first self-destructing currency, and a possible hedge to crypto cycle danger.

Scarce assets with distinctive positions of their area are helpful hedges towards economic cycles and geopolitical risks. These assets display the potential to carry up their value in the long term, however the price volatility may be hard to stomach — with strong rallies, and extended bear markets.

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