LONDON -- Bitcoin has fared better than stocks but worse than gold and U.S. Treasuries during the coronavirus pandemic, with investors ascribing its performance to speculative bets and bids to hedge against inflation linked to stimulus measures.
Enthusiasts have laid out numerous narratives for bitcoin as an investment proposition through its first 12 years - from a rebel technology set to upend the financial system to a groundbreaking payments network; from an uncorrelated asset to a hedge against inflation-inducing government policies.
Here are some charts that illustrate bitcoin’s price performance during the coronavirus pandemic - and offer some clues as to what is driving investor behavior.
Bitcoin has this year done better than both U.S. and world stocks, posting a loss of around 5% compared to respective drops of 13% and 16% for the S&P 500 and MSCI All-Country World Index.
Like equities and other riskier assets, bitcoin surged in the wake of unprecedented stimulus packages launched by governments and central banks in mid-March to mitigate the economic damage caused by the coronavirus.
The cryptocurrency has soared 80% since mid-March, partly because it offers the chance of quick returns as the stimulus measures wash into markets, investors and traders said.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have appealed to investors as “they can offer a potentially higher risk-reward scenario that they cannot find in other assets”, said Michael Sonnenshein, managing director of Grayscale, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency asset manager.