Bitcoin investors are abandoning crypto in favor of traditional commodities like gold amid the prolonged market slump. That’s the observation of Jan Van Eck, the CEO of investment management firm VanEck Associates.
Van Eck says this is a reversal of the trend he saw in 2017, when the then-sizzling bitcoin pulled demand from gold during the crypto bull market.
“I do think that bitcoin pulled a little bit of demand away from gold in 2017,” Van Eck told CNBC (video below). “Interestingly, we just polled 4,000 bitcoin investors. And their No. 1 investment for 2019 is actually gold. So gold lost to bitcoin [before], and now it’s going the other way.”
Tim Seymour, the founder of Seymour Asset Management, agreed. “There’s no question that bitcoin sucked life out of the gold market [in 2017].”
However, Seymour says bitcoin has its limits as a long-term investment because it’s so volatile and is not a store of value.
Not only have we lost all liquidity in the underlying [commodity], but truly outside of the existential blockchain argument, it’s been very difficult to argue [that bitcoin is a] store of value. Gold is a store of value, and there’s no disputing that.
If gold is climbing, this is good news for Jan Van Eck, because his firm launched the first gold equity fund in the United States back in 1968. And in 2016, it rolled out the first gold miners ETF.
An informal Twitter poll conducted by Gabor Gurbacs ― VanEck’s director of digital strategy ― indicates that 41% of the almost 5,000 people who voted in the survey plan to invest in gold and other commodities in 2019.
Separately, Jan Van Eck said he decided to withdraw VanEck’s bitcoin ETF application last week due to the 35-day US government shutdown. He thought it was wiser to withdraw the application than have it get rejected.
He also conceded that the SEC had concerns about VanEck’s inability to solve the custody problem and the fact that most bitcoin is priced overseas. However, Van Eck plans to re-file its bitcoin ETF application once the SEC resumes normal operational capacity.
We will refile and re-engage in discussions.
On January 25, President Donald Trump signed a temporary spending bill that will reopen the government until February 15. After that, if Trump and Congress are still unable to negotiate a solution for border wall funding, it’s possible (though unlikely) that another shutdown could occur.