Katalatto a Bit: How big is Bitcoin, really?
Bitcoin burst into our financial consciousness like a fiery comet, yet by its nature as a cybercurrency, whose legitimacy only exists in the ether, its credibility leaves much room for debate. Nonetheless, the rise of cryptocurrencies in of itself suggests that people may be slowly losing faith in money and other traditional measures of wealth.
HowMuch.net recently put things into perspective and demonstrated that for all the buzz and excitement bitcoin has generated, it still has a long way to go to be even remotely relevant in the big picture.
Last year, Bitcoin became more stable than gold, and earlier this year, the price of a Bitcoin surpassed that of an ounce of gold for the first time. Currently, all the bitcoin in the world is worth $41 billion. Larry Page, co-founder of tech giant – Google and the 12th-richest on Forbes’ billionaires list, alone is worth all the bitcoin floating around in cyberspace, with a net worth of $41 billion.
You’ll find both fortunes at the right side, and the lower end, of this graph, which gives you an idea of all the money in the world. You and I don’t figure on it unless you’re Larry Page. Or Bill Gates. The richest man in the world is worth $86 billion, or the net worth of Larry Page and Bitcoin combined – with enough change to buy the L.A. Lakers, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Chicago Cubs and the Solomon Islands (not a sports team, but an entire country).
Bitcoin is the Uber of cryptocurrencies: the biggest, baddest and best-known, but not the only one. Add it up to Litecoin, Monero and all the others, and the total volume of virtual money floating around the internet, out of the reach of governments and banks, is a whopping $100 billion. That is about as much as the current GDP of Morocco – the 60th-largest economy in the world.
The monetary value of tech giants like Amazon ($402 billion) and (Apple $730 billion) is equivalent to the GDP of much bigger economies (Nigeria and the Netherlands, respectively). In fact, you would only need a little more than two Apples to equate the amount of actual money in dollar notes and coins in circulation around the world today – $1.5 trillion.
Money, is fiduciary, it is about trust which means it only has as much value as the trust we place in it. The same applies for gold: it derives its value solely from its rarity, combined with its desirability. The current world supply of mined gold is around 171,300 metric tonnes, which could be molded into a cube with sides of about 68 feet (20.7m). Its total value? Currently around $8.2 trillion. Or about 200 times the total value of Bitcoin or Larry Page.