(Mar 20): The turbulence in global financial markets – driven in part by fears over the Covid-19 outbreak and geopolitical tensions — has seen many investors seek refuge in bitcoin and gold. This has revived the debate of whether the cryptocurrency can and should replace the yellow metal as a safe-haven asset in portfolios.

The price of bitcoin, referred to by many as “digital gold”, surpassed the US$10,000 mark on Feb 12, a feat not achieved since September last year. By comparison, gold saw a surge at around the same time, when gold futures contracts breached the US$1,600 mark on Feb 18. The last time these reached this level was seven years ago, in March 2013. The precious metal briefly crossed US$1,700 per oz on March 9 before retreating to the US$1,650 level.

Bitcoin has been compared with gold as the two assets bear some similarities, particularly how they can be obtained through mining and their limited availability.

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