Bitcoin is now worth more than an ounce of gold, still chasing cocaine


Bitcoin has reached an impressive milestone as earlier this week the popular cryptocurrency became more valuable than gold for the first time ever.

At the end of Thursday, the blockchain-powered currency topped off gold, hitting the price of $1,268 for a single unit of Bitcoin compared to $1,233 for a troy ounce of gold, BBC reports.

Recovering from a massive drop to $200 per unit in mid-2015, Bitcoin has experienced a rather significant surge throughout the latter part of 2016 and early 2017 so far. Gold on the other hand has circled around the $1,200 price point for a while now, with some sporadic hikes and drops here and there.

CoinDesk has made a nifty price comparison chart to demonstrate how the values of these two compare over the last three years:

Earlier this year the cryptocurrency made headlines when it surpassed $1,000 for the first time since 2013. But while comparing two currencies seems rather reasonable, this particular correlation between Bitcoin and gold strikes me as odd, to say the least.

In this case, the value of one unit of the cryptocurrency was matched against the worth of one ounce of troy gold. But here’s the thing: this seems like a rather arbitrary comparison to draw.

To put things into perspective, we’ve conducted some additional research into how the value of Bitcoin compares to some other elements, compounds… and substances.

As metal pricing tool Metalary shows, there is no standard unit for estimating the worth of elements and compounds. The accepted measure for gold is troy ounce, which equals about 31 grams. Silver and platinum are similarly measured in troy ounces, with their respective prices being $17 and $1,015 – much less than Bitcoin.

But who the fuck cares? If you are comparing the worth of the cryptocurrency to some arbitrary element or compound, you might as well compare the price compare the price of Bitcoin to some other exchangeable substance – like cocaine for example.

The dynamite white powder – beloved by music icons like Rick James and tech pioneers like John McAfee alike – usually sells in grams, but we’ll measure it in troy ounces for the purpose of this comparison. Even if it’s merely to demonstrate how random this sort of comparisons are.

The 2015 edition of the Global Drug Survey suggests a gram of cocaine on average costs $220 in Australia and New Zealand, but it is significantly cheaper in European countries like the Netherlands and Portugal where you can find it for about $55 per gram.

Taking the median of these prices, the average price of cocaine is about $137 per gram. This adds up to about $4,261 for a troy ounce.

Assuming the infamous drug e-marketplace Silk Road (which used to carry out exchanges in the popular cryptocurrency) was still up, you’d have to pay almost three and a half Bitcoins to score a troy ounce of cocaine.

But we digress from our main point: comparing the worth of Bitcoin to gold sure makes for interesting dinner talk with some rich stuck-up douchebags – but the comparison ultimately remains utterly and completely arbitrary.

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