After its launch in 2009, Bitcoin ushered in a new era of blockchain technology and digital currencies. Given all the talk about Bitcoin, you'd think it would be everywhere. Is that really true? How much is Bitcoin worth? Perhaps more importantly, how much of the world's money is in bitcoins? With the price of bitcoin at 8,790.51 U.S. dollars as of March 4, 2020, it is certainly worth our time to figure it out.
- A bitcoin was worth 8,790.51 U.S. dollars as of March 4, 2020.
- All the bitcoins in the world were worth roughly $160.4 billion.
- Bitcoin accounted for just 0.4% of the world's money.
- Bitcoin was worth only about 1.6% as much as the world's gold supply.
- All cryptocurrencies combined accounted for less than 0.7% of the world's money.
How Much Is Bitcoin Worth?
We will calculate the total value of Bitcoin first because that is the easy part. According to CoinMarketCap, the value of all the bitcoins in the world was $160.4 billion as of March 4, 2020. For comparison, Forbes estimated the net worth of Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos at $115.5 billion. That makes the market cap of Bitcoin just over a third larger than Bezos' fortune.
Bitcoin and the Money Supply
To get a sense of how much of the world's money is in bitcoins, we must determine the total amount of money. As it turns out, this is not the easiest question to answer. Such a calculation might take into account dozens of categories of wealth, including bank notes, precious metals, money market accounts, and debt. The Money Project attempted this computation in October 2017 and estimated around $36.8 trillion in global narrow money. As of March 2020, this number is surely outdated. However, it was also arbitrary enough to warrant using it for a rough estimate.
That leaves Bitcoin at about 0.4% of the estimated value of narrow money from The Money Project's report.
The Money Project's estimate gives a good general idea of the size of the money supply relative to Bitcoin. However, it is much less accurate than the other estimates used in this article.
Bitcoin vs. Gold
How does Bitcoin compare to gold? After all, some people still consider gold to be the real money. It is certainly the gold standard to which other currencies must be compared. We begin with the World Gold Council's figures. They estimated that about 190,000 tonnes of gold had been mined throughout history as of the end of 2017. An average of around 2,500 tonnes are mined per year, so we can safely estimate around 195,000 tonnes of gold in existence at the end of 2019. There are 32,150.7 troy ounces of gold in one tonne, and the price of gold per ounce was $1,615.50. So, we can estimate the total value of all gold as:
195,000 tonnes of gold x 32,150.7 troy ounces per tonne x $1,615.50 per ounce = $10.1 trillion.
In total, the value of all bitcoin was about 1.6% of the value of all gold.
Bitcoin is the largest and best-known cryptocurrency in the global economy. However, it is far from the only one. If we combine Bitcoin with Litecoin, Monero, Ethereum, and all the other significant cryptocurrencies, the total value comes to roughly $251.8 billion. That is still a bit less than 0.7% of the value of all narrow money given above.