Gold proponent and crypto skeptic Peter Schiff has been crowned the winner of a debate on whether gold is a superior store of value to Bitcoin (BTC).
Schiff was facing off against Skybridge founder and former politician Anthony Scaramucci in a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared on Wednesday.
Before the gold vs. Bitcoin debate began, a poll scored 38% of the online audience in favor of the precious metal, 26% for BTC, and 35% as undecided. Schiff had been able to swing a significant number to the precious metal by the end, with final results tallying in at 51% for gold, 32% for BTC, and 17% undecided.
Scaramucci kicked things off by asserting that BTC’s value is derived from its network, which enables peer-to-peer transactions without a third party. He also suggested that BTC has an edge over gold because of its scarcity and digital properties:
“I think this cryptocurrency revolution — and Bitcoin specifically, because of its scarcity — is going to transcend gold. It’s more portable; it’s impregnable in terms of the transaction over the blockchain; [...] and it’s being adopted quite rapidly.”
“A result of which the prices are going to go a lot higher,” he added.
In response, Schiff said that “in reality, Bitcoin and gold have absolutely nothing in common” as he argued that Bitcoin is marketed like gold but doesn’t possess any of the “metallic properties“ that give gold value.
“Part of the marketing fraud is to try to portray Bitcoin as gold, gold 2.0, digital gold. I mean, Bitcoin itself is always displayed as a coin, and the color is gold, and you put like a ‘B’ on it. But it’s not a coin; it’s just a digital string of numbers; it doesn’t have any substance,” he said.
He argued that there is a difference between “price and value,” with gold’s value being determined by real-world use cases, while BTC doesn’t have tangible backing in the real world:
“In 100 years, in a 1,000 years, the gold that I’m storing today can be melted down and used in electronics or used in jewelry, or for whatever new uses have been invented that don’t even exist today.”
Throughout the debate, the crypto skeptic described BTC as a “Ponzi scheme,” a “giant pump-and-dump” and “tulip mania.” Schiff is also unfazed by the rising price of the asset, as he believes that late adopters of BTC are being gradually dumped on by whales who got in early.
“In my mind, it is a giant pump-and-dump, where the guys that got in relatively early [...] are constantly trying to pump up the market in order to generate a lot of enthusiasm and momentum and FOMO so that they can sell out gradually into this market that they are creating,” he said.
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Scaramucci reiterated that the value of BTC is tied to its global network and that digitization in the next stage of humanity as “software is eating the world.” Schiff stated he would only change his mind if BTC was backed by gold and was actually used as a currency as opposed to being traded primarily.
In celebration of his win, Schiff called out BTC proponent and MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor in jest:
“I just gotta say one thing: Michael Saylor, stop ducking me, I know you’re out there.”