Bitcoin has been slowly winning over fans since it was created a decade ago, but many still believe bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are a mere flash in the pan despite rapidly rising awareness, adoption and, of course, the bitcoin price.
The bitcoin price, up around 200% so far this year after a terrible 2018, has kept up its reputation as a volatile and risky asset this week, at one point jumping a staggering 13% in just one an hour as traders and investors fret the U.S. and global regulators could soon crack down on bitcoin and crypto.
Now, it seems the outspoken critic of bitcoin and veteran investor, Peter Schiff, is taking a greater interest in bitcoin and crypto—and could be on the way to becoming a surprise bitcoin convert.
Earlier this month, in an attempt to convert Schiff, who is chief economist and chief executive of Euro Pacific Capital and founder of SchiffGold, he was given a small amount of bitcoin by the crypto community.
“I have been gifted $2,800 worth of bitcoin,” Schiff said via Twitter, asking what he should now do with his “stash,” and proposing to either use it to buy gold or hold on to it, even though he has called bitcoin’s latest bull run a “sucker’s rally.”
Shortly later, he held what he called a “bitcoin challenge” on YouTube, inviting bitcoin believers to challenge him over a three-hour discussion and comparing bitcoin to gold, which he believes is a far better long-term investment.
“There are some people who think bitcoin isn’t going to work. I happen to be one of them,” Shiff said. “People want to accuse me of having bias [against bitcoin and crypto], because I like gold. There are though people who like both bitcoin and gold.”
Bitcoin has been called “digital gold,” by some due to its built-in scarcity and bitcoin and gold have been moving in tandem over the last few weeks, performing almost identically over the past 30 days, according to research this week Delphi Digital, a data company.
Bitcoin currently has a market capitalization of $187 billion, compared to gold’s near $8 trillion.
Analysis of Schiff’s Twitter profile shows he now tweets about bitcoin more than than any other topic, including gold, and the accounts he most interacts with on Twitter are mostly bitcoin and cryptocurrency supporters.
Meanwhile, former Republican congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, who Schiff worked for as an economic advisor in 2008, this week revealed he’s a supporter of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology and positively compared bitcoin to gold.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen to cryptocurrencies,” Paul told CNBC. “I think it’s a great idea. And I only have one rule: no fraud.”
While working for Paul in 2008, Schiff praised his economic vision, saying: “Ron Paul’s plan is the only one that amounts to a step in the right direction. If you want meaningful change—for the better that is—Ron Paul is the only candidate capable of delivering it.”
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency believers can for now look forward to a debate between Schiff and bitcoin advocate Anthony Pompliano, co-founder and partner at crypto investment company Morgan Creek Digital, scheduled for July 31 and hosted by CNBC.
Pompliano, often known as Pomp, has said he is hoping to convince Schiff that bitcoin is a worthwhile investment.
Elsewhere, the bitcoin and crypto community landed a major recruit earlier this year when Mark Mobius, the cofounder of Mobius Capital Partners and a legendary, veteran investor who once branded bitcoin a “real fraud”, said that bitcoin will be “alive and well” in the future, praising bitcoin’s technology but warning against over-enthusiastic market speculation and cautioning that he hasn’t bought bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency himself.