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Should Investors Chase the Bitcoin and Gold Rallies?

Sean Duffin

No. While recent developments may be a sign that bitcoin is gaining credibility, it remains a highly speculative investment that offers no cash flows. Gold—a more stable and defensive option than bitcoin—also offers no yield. Investors looking for portfolio defense should look to long US Treasury securities, which offer reasonable yields and protection in a risk-off scenario.

The rallies in both bitcoin and gold since last fall have certainly been noteworthy. Bitcoin fervor has returned, owing to two factors. First, the SEC approved spot bitcoin ETFs in January, making it easier for investors to access and triggering significant investment inflows. Second, the anticipation of bitcoin’s fourth “halving” event, which will decrease the rate of new bitcoins entering circulation, sparked speculation that the fair value of bitcoin exceeds its recent price. The digital currency reached $73,000 by mid-March, surpassing its November 2021 high. It climbed 190% trough-to-peak since its September low, representing the ninth time that bitcoin has seen a price increase of more than 100% without a significant price reversal during the run-up. 1

Gold’s surge has been driven by geopolitical tensions, an uptick in central bank purchases of gold, and the decline in the US ten-year Treasury yield. On the latter, the US ten-year Treasury yield has declined by roughly 70 basis points to 4.3% since mid-October, which has decreased the opportunity cost of holding gold. As a result, gold gained 10% over that same period and is currently near an all-time high of just under $2,200/troy ounce. This has been a sharp rally by gold’s standards.

But focusing on prior rallies is only half of the story. After each of the prior eight episodes when bitcoin gained more than 100%, it experienced a median drawdown of 30%, which often happened in less than a month. It is also worth noting that bitcoin plummeted 77% in just over one year after reaching its last peak of around $68,000 in 2021. Gold’s drawdowns have been fewer and smaller in magnitude. Still, since 1990, it has seen nine drawdowns with a median of -22%, and these drawdowns occurred after gold had rallied by around 40%.

Still, we view bitcoin and gold as different investments. We see bitcoin as highly speculative, and we believe it will behave like other risk assets in a market downturn. In contrast, gold has a more proven track record as a reliable haven instrument, meaning it may perform well in a risk-off scenario.

All this is to say that these rallies in bitcoin and gold may be overextended when viewed with a historical lens. At the very least, investors choosing to add either asset should size positions modestly, understanding that rapid price swings are likely to persist. Recent price action in bitcoin furthers this point; in the week since it reached its all-time high, it saw a 15% pullback in its price. For those investors thinking of adding gold as a potential source of portfolio protection, we favor long US Treasury securities, which also offer that benefit and include the added bonus of a healthy yield.


Sean Duffin, Senior Investment Director, Capital Markets Research


  1. Each price increase is determined by looking at periods during which bitcoin’s price increased without a 20% price reversal.


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