Investors who made the wrong calls at the wrong times have lost big, while many others have fled to safer ground with investments in traditionally stable markets.
Gold has been one of the most popular safe investments, rising to an all-time high in August of $2,072 per ounce, though it has since waned to $1,885. Bitcoin meanwhile has also had a great year, jumping above $17,000 to a three-year high in November, having been down as low as $4,000 as the pandemic first took hold globally in March.
Covid-19 seems to have convinced investors to take another look at cryptocurrencies after recent uncertainties in those markets, and Ethereum, Litecoin and XRP have all seen their value soar. “The virus crisis is propagating the reassessment of bitcoin,” said Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, an analyst at JPMorgan. “There is a reassessment about its value here as an alternative currency; as an alternative to gold.”
But there are other alternatives to gold out there. Bitcoin may be finding its way into the mainstream and its scarcity (capped as it is at 21m) is what has helped it keep its value during this pandemic, but it remains a mystery to many investors. Much more familiar is investing in something tangible, which is why alternative investments are becoming so popular this year.