In only 10 years of existence, bitcoin has managed to reach a market capitalization of 1,000 billion US dollars. By way of comparison, gold only reached this level in 1999 and currently stands at ten times this capitalization: is the differential bound to narrow between these two high-profile assets? So different by nature (tangible versus intangible asset, old versus new world), they are nonetheless so similar in their purpose ("physical" gold and encrypted bitcoin both aim to provide some form of security during trades). With dizzying growth and high political dimension, bitcoin has quickly shifted from avant-garde technophile subject to critical issue for investors and central banks alike; and now raises many questions about the risks and benefits of its widespread adoption.

Highlights

  • In favor: the real strength of this flagship digital currency is based on 3 elements : its portability, the anonymity of the holder being preserved, and the promise of monetary exchanges without third-parties fees on top.
  • Against: an excessively "inefficient" currency that is still widely associated with terrorist financing and money laundering activities.
  • The next step: what future for cryptocurrencies?
Written in March 2021.

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