For years J.P. Morgan was skeptical of Bitcoin. Now the bank’s analysts say its value could triple, challenging gold
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A team of analysts at J.P. Morgan’s Global Markets Strategy group are touting Bitcoin’s emergence as an alternative to gold among millennials, suggesting a “doubling or tripling” in the price of the cryptocurrency if current trends continue.
The prediction, which came in a research note published on Friday, is remarkable given the bank’s onetime skepticism toward Bitcoin, which included CEO Jamie Dimon calling it a “fraud” in 2017 and saying he would fire anyone trading it for being “stupid.”
J.P. Morgan’s bullish stance is driven in part by PayPal’s recent decision to offer Bitcoin to its customers and Square’s recent move to add $50 million of the cryptocurrency to its balance sheet. Another major factor for its position, though, is the demographic trend in which younger generations are choosing Bitcoin over gold.
“The older cohorts prefer gold, while the younger cohorts prefer Bitcoin as an ‘alternative’ currency,” says the research note.
The analysts go on to observe that, if this trend continues, there could be a challenge to gold in the long term—with important price implications for Bitcoin.
“Even a modest crowding out of gold as an ‘alternative’ currency over the longer term would imply doubling or tripling of the Bitcoin price from here,” the note states.
Bitcoin is currently trading at around $13,000. That falls well short of its all-time high of nearly $20,000, which occurred during the crypto bubble of late 2017, after which Bitcoin fell to around $3,400 the following year. The current price run-up has been more stable, however, with Bitcoin staying above the $10,000 mark for an unprecedented three-month stretch.
Millennials’ embrace of Bitcoin has been underway for a while. Late last year, a Charles Schwab survey found that shares of GBTC, from Grayscale—a company that holds Bitcoin in trust—were more popular among the cohort than famous names like Netflix and Disney. Meanwhile, Grayscale has been fanning the trend with a national TV campaign called “Drop Gold.”
As a percentage of total investment capital, however, gold still dwarfs Bitcoin by a factor of ten. As J.P. Morgan notes, the value of gold and Bitcoin ETFs are about equal, but the yellow metal is worth $2.6 trillion in total (versus $240 billion for Bitcoin) because large amounts of it are held in the form of bars and coins.
J.P. Morgan sounds a note of caution, though, observing that, “for the near term, Bitcoin looks rather overbought and vulnerable to profit taking we think.” But the analysts also add the long-term prospects for Bitcoin could further improve because of its utility as a payment mechanism compared with gold.
Business Insider first reported on the J.P. Morgan memo, a copy of which Fortune obtained independently.
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