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Peter Schiff: CNBC Duping Viewers Into Buying Bitcoin at Gold’s Expense

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:39 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:39 PM

Gold bug Peter Schiff has accused business news channel CNBC of trying to “dupe its audience into buying bitcoin.” In a tweet , Schiff accused the business news channel of devoting more time to bitcoin relative to gold. This is despite the yellow metal having a larger market capitalization. Currently, gold is estimated to possess a market cap of over $7 trillion against the cryptocurrency’s $200-plus billion market cap.

Schiff appeared to be reacting to a CNBC story  which suggested that the bitcoin price rally, which has seen the cryptocurrency hit a three-week high, is being driven by U.S.-Sino trade war fears.

Is the bitcoin price rally being driven by U.S.-China trade tensions?

Per the business channel, the cryptocurrency could be serving as a safe haven asset for investors who are reacting to a vow by U.S. President Donald Trump to slap Chinese imports worth about $300 billion with 10 percent tariffs. The head of cryptocurrency comparison site CryptoCompare, Charles Hayter, told CNBC that bitcoin acting as a store of value during uncertain times is not without precedent:

“Bitcoin has many use cases and one of the most important is as a form of digital gold. We have seen bitcoin jump before on macro uncertainty as it becomes a conduit and flight-to-safety asset.”

This contrasts sharply with Schiff’s view, which is that bitcoin’s price rally is largely driven by speculators.

CNBC also suggested that the cryptocurrency’s rally is attributable to the depreciation in the Chinese yuan. eToro analyst Simon Peters told the business channel that some Chinese investors could be piling into the yuan to hedge against the falling currency:

“Given that Chinese investors make up a large proportion of crypto investors, there’s a strong possibility some are backing bitcoin’s chances against the yuan.”

Are mainstream media organizations catching the fever?

While Schiff regularly stirs controversy with his anti-bitcoin stance, his implied observation that mainstream media has increased its coverage of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is right.

According to blockchain firm Clovr , the coverage of bitcoin by mainstream media organizations tends to rise following an appreciation in price and fall during bear markets.

Though Schiff’s tweet seemed to accuse CNBC of overly hyping crypto, research conducted by Clovr from May 2013 to July 2018 indicates that nearly 53 percent of the business channel’s crypto coverage bore a negative sentiment. This might have changed in the recent past with veteran CNBC host Joe Kernen changing his skeptic stance of bitcoin and announcing that he is a “bitcoin bull now.”

When Clovr research was being unveiled, the cryptocurrency was experiencing a downturn.

How the mainstream media organizations covered bitcoin between 2013-2018 | Source: Clovr

The mainstream media organizations where the sentiment on crypto was more than 50 percent positive included Forbes, Business Insider, CNN, USA Today and Time magazine.