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Bitcoin isn’t an inflation hedge, and it hasn’t been for a long time, Bank of America says

May 6, 2022, 6:29 PM UTC

A main pitch for Bitcoin is that it’s a hedge against inflation—meaning that its value will hold over time. One reason is that supply of the cryptocurrency is capped at 21 million, creating scarcity as demand for it increases.

But lately, Bitcoin hasn’t acted as much of an inflation hedge, according to a new report by Bank of America.

Instead, Bitcoin trades as a risk asset, and has since July 2021, said BofA analysts Alkesh Shah and Andrew Moss in the report, pointing to data showing that the cryptocurrency often moves with the stock market.

On Jan. 31, the correlation between Bitcoin and the S&P 500 hit an all-time high based on their movement over the previous 180 days. Bitcoin’s correlation with the Nasdaq 100 was also near all-time highs. 

Chart showing Bitcoin's correlation with stocks and gold
Courtesy of Bank of America Global Research

This relationship between Bitcoin and the stock market has been very clear recently. In the current macro environment, the two have remained in sync. For example, after the Federal Reserve indicated it would raise interest rates by half a percentage point on Thursday, Bitcoin’s value plummeted alongside stocks in a selloff that continues today. Analysts expect this correlation to remain in the near future. 

In addition, Bitcoin is often compared to gold as an effective store of value. But the correlation between Bitcoin and gold (XAU) has remained close to zero since June 21, and has become more negative within the past two months, the report said, meaning that Bitcoin’s price hasn’t been moving in tandem with gold. 

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