After ripping to record highs last week – following a disappointing false start – bitcoin has continued to rally. One unit of the cryptocurrency is trading for $1,281.48 as of 10:07 a.m. EST Friday, according to CoinDesk's index of prices across various exchanges. The surge prompted us to think about what could you get for that kind of money (to be clear, these are items that have equivalent value to 1 bitcoin, not items you can necessarily purchase using bitcoin).
1. An ounce of gold
Thursday, or the first time ever, the price of one bitcoin exceeded the price of a Troy ounce of gold. CoinDesk's index ended the day at $1,260.92, while gold futures for April delivery closed at $1,226.45. At the time of writing, the gap has widened even further. (See also, Time to Be Long Bitcoin.)
Gold has long served as a hedge against uncertainty, a reassuringly ancient and physical store of value compared to here-today-gone-tomorrow securities and currencies. Bitcoin may be anything but physical, but it is nonetheless starting to edge into gold's niche as an investment for interesting times.
2. 5 SPYs
3. 67.9 Ethereum
In the mood for something a bit more exciting than gold or an index ETF? Wade deeper into the world of cryptocurrency and pick up 67.9 Ethereum with your 1 bitcoin, according to the latest price available from Kraken. The young – even for this world – currency has shown promise as a vehicle for executing smart contracts, an experimental blockchain application that could allow entrepreneurs to set up self-executing companies. On the other hand, it has been through four hard forks, irreparable splits in the blockchain that undergirds it. (See also, What Is a Distributed Ledger?)
4. 77,431 Hours of Netflix
Maybe you don't want to rebalance your portfolio. You've got a bitcoin, it's worth over a grand, and you want to treat yourself. Why not a few dozen thousand hours of streaming? Netflix's premium service goes for $11.99 per month, meaning you could get 8 years 10 months for a bitcoin at the time of writing. Since you will presumably watch during every waking moment, as is the case with most Netflix users, that equates to 77,431-ish hours of delicious content.
5. A Flight Across the World
Better yet, ditch the screen and go do something – like travel. One bitcoin will buy you some serious mileage: you can fly Delta from LaGuardia to Shanghai and back for a little over $1,100. (See also, 8 Ways to Score a Cheap Flight.)
6. 3 to 6 Ounces of Weed
The price of marijuana varies wildly by state, but according to Price of Weed data as of February 24, one bitcoin will buy you 6 ounces in the cheapest market, Oregon, and 3 – with a bit of cash left over – in pricey North Dakota. Either way, that's quite a bit of ganja. (See also, What Does Weed Cost in Your State?)
7. Four Hoverboards
You can really do some damage to the Sharper Image catalog with a bitcoin, and as luck would have it, hoverboards are on sale for some reason – just $299.99 each.
8. So Much Pizza
Bitcoin has come a long way from its first real-world purchase. On May 22, 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz paid a fellow early adopter 10,000 bitcoin to order him two Papa John's pizzas. In those days that was more or less a fair-value exchange. Today 10,000 bitcoin is worth $12.8 million or so, and one bitcoin will buy a few more than two pizzas. Papa Johns has a deal for two medium pizzas with two toppings each for $14. Taxes, delivery fees and tip make the whole calculation a bit complicated, but trust us, you can get enough pizza.