Crude and bubblenomics
Santa baby, slip a little bitcoin under the tree for me. Bitcoin futures debuts at the CME Group on Sunday night just as one report suggests that the cryptocurrency may be the biggest bubble of all time. According to a story on MarketWatch, the co-founder of Convoy Investments, Howard Wang said that the speculative gains in bitcoin exceed the Dutch tulip mania in Holland in the 1630’s. Wang says that the price of bitcoin “has now gone up over 17 times this year, 64 times over the last three years and superseded that of the Dutch Tulip’s climb over the same time frame.”
Some of you might not be aware of the Dutch Tulip bubble that economists always use as an example of speculation that has gone wild. So, to get an idea of just how high those Tulip bulbs went I spoke to a legendary trader and amateur historian Marc Nemenoff. Mr. Nemenoff reminded me that it was not just any type of tulip bulb that acted like a currency but the coveted Viceroy Tulip bulb. As prices soared just one of those bulbs reached incredible heights. Marc says to give you an idea of the purchasing power of just one bulb at the bubble peak, you must look at what you could buy with it. One bulb could buy you either 4 fatten oxen, or 8 fatten sheep, 2 tons of butter or my favorite 4 tons of beer.
So that got me thinking, what can you buy based on relative value for a bitcoin today. Bitcoin opened as of this writing at 17,697.50 this morning and is surging higher. That means at that price it would take 2 bitcoins to buy all the gifts in the song the Twelve days of Christmas. PNC Financial Services Group put out its yearly total cost for the "12 Days of Christmas" gifts in 2017 would be $34,558.65. You would even have money left over for an extra Lord a leaping or maybe another maid a milking.
With just one bitcoin at current levels, you could buy a new car! They are many new cars that you can get under 17k such as a Chevy Cruz, Dodge Dart. Nissan Sentra, Fiat, and the list go on. Heck at that price one bitcoin you could even buy the same Hermès Birkin purse that Kanye West bought for Kim Kardashian.
But let’s look at comparable markets. At the CME, Group Butter prices closed at $2.50 a pound. So, one bitcoin could buy you like 7,078.8 pounds of butter or 3.5 tons versus two tons during the Tulip bubble. I could go on, but we must talk oil.