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One bitcoin will always be worth 1 bitcoin, but its price relative to fiat currencies is an important indicator of how much people around the world value the opportunity to opt out of their legacy systems and begin transacting and storing value in a permissionless alternative. As the price of BTC rises relative to dollars, yen or rubles, it’s clear that the people living under these fiat economies feel they have reason to transition, at least partially, to Bitcoin.
Though it’s still far off from its all-time USD high of $19,783 reached in January 2017 (it’s closing in on $14,000 at the time of this writing), the bitcoin price has hit its highest mark ever in exchange for the Brazillian real, the Turkish lira, the Argentine peso, the Venezuelan bolívar and several other worldwide currencies in the last 30 days.
For many of us, the BTC price relative to USD is the default metric measuring its perceived value. But the fact that bitcoin has eclipsed its all-time highs in these other fiat currencies is an important indicator of: a) issues within these fiat systems and b) the value that people around the world are putting into bitcoin as the alternative of choice to these issues.
As cryptocurrency analyst Jason Deane explained in his recent coverage of these price milestones, the fact that BTC/lira has hit an all-time high, while BTC/USD has not, indicates that the lira’s purchasing power against the world reserve fiat currency has weakened.
“There’s a number of reasons for this, but the main two are probably due to a consistent high inflation rate (16.33% in 2018 and 15.18% in 2019 according to official data collected by macrotrends.net) and loss of confidence in the currency in terms of trading,” Deane wrote. “The bottom line is that even if you, as a resident in Turkey, had purchased bitcoin at the highest possible price recorded so far in dollar terms, you’d still be better off than if you’d let it sit in cash, and by a huge margin.”
Deane drew similar conclusions about the inflating economies of Argentina, Venezuela, Sudan, Suriname and Zambia, countries that have all seen their all-time high in BTC price this month and which account for nearly 3 percent of the world’s entire population. For various reasons out of their control, from hyperinflation to economic sanctions posed by the U.S., residents of these countries are turning to Bitcoin to preserve their wealth.
“These are real people whose wealth has been wiped out or seriously reduced due to no fault of their own,” Deane wrote. “This, to me, emphasizes why Bitcoin is such a game changer on a local and global level because, until recently, none of these people had a viable alternative when their governments went awry.”
As exciting as a bitcoin bull run and new all-time highs in the USD will be, and as much adoption as that will spur, the fact that BTC is proving itself as a tool for global wealth preservation all over the world at this very moment is as demonstrative of Bitcoin’s importance as anything.
It’s starting to look like the world has found its Plan B.
Peter Chawaga is a senior editor at Bitcoin Magazine. He HODLs BTC.