James Altucher is a podcaster, author and blogger and is an expert on cryptocurrencies. He has been investing in Bitcoin since 2013 and famously made his book “Choose Yourself” available for sale using Bitcoin only.
James Rickards is an attorney and investment expert who runs an artificial intelligence software firm and is very bullish on gold.
The debate was on whether there is a bigger opportunity to invest in Bitcoin or Gold.
It was held at the comedy club Standup New York on West 78th Street in Manhattan, where James Altucher often performs standup comedy.
Bitcoin vs. Gold Debate
The title of the event was “The Debate of the Decade: Gold versus Bitcoin”.
The debate was spent arguing for the merits of Bitcoin (Altucher) and Gold (Rickards).
On the Bitcoin side, it seemed much of the time was spent on defending the concept of Bitcoin as a currency, rather than its merits as an asset.
In framing the investment opportunity for Bitcoin, James Altucher said you have to look at cryptocurrencies with the benefit of hindsight and technological advancement coming out of Silicon Valley.
He emphasized that there was never an Internet bubble… Indeed, if you look back, there was a brief mania that led to where we are today when everyone uses the Internet for everything.
Similarly, he looks at innovations in cryptocurrencies as the beginning of the Internet of Money.
He argues that there is currently approximately $200 trillion in cash, money and precious metals used as currencies in the world, however, there’s only $200 billion in cryptocurrencies.
His argument was that eventually cryptocurrencies will replace traditional fiat currencies (dollars, Euros, pesos, etc.)
He also mentioned that because Bitcoin is not widely distributed yet, as more and more people include it as part of their portfolios, the value of it should rise significantly.
One of the funniest moments in the debate was when James Altucher described his bachelor party before getting married in 2015.
He said he and his friends celebrated his marriage by going to a strip club. They paid strippers for lap dances in Bitcoin… He said that the value of those lap dances would be $17 million today.
James Altucher predicts the value of a Bitcoin could be $1,000,000 by 2020.
He argued that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are a rare “triple threat” Ponzi Scheme, bubble and fraud all wrapped up in one.
Instead of Bitcoin, be believes that we are at the beginning of another bull market in gold. He predicts that gold will rise to $10,000 per ounce by 2020.
In the end, the audience clapped loudly for both sides and it seemed as if the audience was split, with maybe a slight noise advantage going to Jim Rickards.
In the end, the moderator Cheryl Casone awarded the Gold vs. Bitcoin heavyweight title belt to Jim Rickards.
It was a lot of fun. They even had an open bar.
I wish more time was spent discussing the merits of Bitcoin as a long term store of value, like gold, rather than its problems as a currency.
Many people believe Bitcoin is not a great currency, because of its extreme volatility and fees to transact, but is more akin to an asset, like gold. The smart folks at Stripe believe this too and have indicated support for a blockchain and currency platform called Stellar.
The two competing “assets” Bitcoin and gold have been diverging lately indicating possible increased correlation between them.