The coronavirus pandemic has exposed bitcoin to be not exactly what people believe it to be, a ‘safe haven’ from economic storms. Being a digital currency, many believe that Bitcoin will be to investors what gold has been, a ‘place of refuge.’ Alas, it fell along the renowned vulnerable stocks that plunge with a slight sign of distress.
The cryptocurrency fell over 10% since January, and ended the Q1 of 2020 in a distressful note.
But compared to stocks around the world, Bitcoin has pulled a little resistance to project hope for a better future, though not exactly according to expectation.
The Dow nosedived 800 points to end the Q1 in a sour note, compounding the woes that started early in the year and spells more doom for the coming weeks as President Trump warns of ‘very painful two weeks.’
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 857 points lower, or 3.9%. The S&P 500 fell 3.6% while Nasdaq Composite dropped around 3%. All confirming the fears that the troubles are far from over as coronavirus continues its rampage across the U.S. and rest of the world.
President Trump has warned investors on Tuesday evening to prepare for further devastating falls in the markets as White House officials project between 100,000 and 240,00 COVID-19 deaths.
“This is going to be a rough two-week period. When you look at night the kind of death that has been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible,” Trump said.
On Tuesday, the Dow fell 410 points or 1.8% while S&P 500 dropped 1.6% to mark the worst quarter of its history. The Dow has fallen 23% in the Q1, its biggest fall since 1987, while S&P 500 plunged 20% in the Q1, its worst performance since 2008.
Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group said the Bear Market has been reflected by the swift falls.
“The quarter will be remembered as the fastest and greatest drop in the stock Market for the start of any post-war bear market. This reflects the fact that this Bear is the only one cause by a recession which was simply proclaimed as leaders announced they were essential shutting down the economy. Since a recession was ensured, the Bear skipped all its normal foreplay and simply went right to the end fully reflecting a recession almost immediately,” Paulsen said.
The U.S. oil has also experienced its worst quarter in history as 66% of its value vapored in the Q1 of 2020. Any hope of resuscitation has been further dampened by the production output disagreement among the Alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, which has teamed up with coronavirus to bring the price down below $20. Every country in the oil business is struggling to sell as demand for crude oil took a drastic downturn.
Around the world, only Australia and Saudi recorded 3.6% and 0.5% market increase respectively. The rest stayed tied to the negative zone of the markets with proportionate percentage of falls.
But in this Q1 of plummeting markets, gold has shown resistance by pulling off 4% growth. The defiance display has spurred thousands of investors who are looking for where to put their money and protect their investments from the global economic crisis, to troop in the direction of gold.
The little hope left for cryptocurrency appears to have been dashed on March 12, when $93.5 billion was wiped off the market value, resulting in a 48% crash in bitcoin price. So gold remained true to its ‘safe haven’ theory while bitcoin placed its ‘digital gold’ narrative in doubt.
Though compared to major equity indices, bitcoin has done better, but its performance is not crunch-resistant enough to win the trust of investors. The volatility it has shown in the first three months of the year has been a turn off though there is hope it will get to the point of gold someday.
Vijay Ayyar, head of business development at Luno, cryptocurrency exchange told CNBC that bitcoin is too young to resist the tremendous test of coronavirus that has brought the world economy on its knees. But he believes in time, the digital currency will be strong enough to show immunity in times of global economic crunch.
“Bitcoin is still a relatively smaller asset class that is increasingly uncorrelated to traditional asset classes and this is in the process of being established as we speak. This is why I believe the current market environment is a big test for Bitcoin and given how young the asset class is, it has actually held up quite well.
“Hence, we’re seeing bitcoin lag gold a bit in terms of performance, but one can argue that as we move along in the next few months and years, bitcoin starts to take larger share away from gold and we will see an eventual flippening happen, where bitcoin is at, or larger than, the market cap of gold and market movements in bitcoin start to reflect the overall market more accurately,” Ayyar said.
It is believed by cryptocurrency optimists that given the period of time bitcoin and gold have existed, bitcoin deserves applause for staying behind gold in a time of economic downturn. And that it spells a hopeful future when the cryptocurrency will become immune to economic distress.