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Bitcoin now bigger than Buffett, Boeing and New Zealand economy

Five things that have been eclipsed by bitcoin in terms of market capitalisation.
Even if Bill Gates and Warren Buffett pooled their fortunes, they wouldn’t have enough to buy all the bitcoins in circulation. Picture: Bloomberg

Bitcoin’s extraordinary price surge means its market capitalisation now exceeds the annual output of whole economies, and the estimated worth of some of the world’s top billionaires.

With the debate over its bubble status still raging, the flagship cryptocurrency continued its march higher on Monday, solidifying above $11 000 and bringing its climb this year to more than 1 000%. With market tracker putting the total value of all bitcoins in circulation at $190 billion, it’s come a long way from August, when one coin could buy you a hefty supply of avocados.

Here are five things that have been eclipsed by bitcoin in terms of market capitalisation:

New Zealand’s GDP

The South Pacific nation’s farm-and-tourism-led economy is valued at $185 billion, according to World Bank data as of July, putting it some $5 billion below bitcoin. The cryptocurrency’s market cap is also bigger than the likes of Qatar, Kuwait and Hungary.



Goldman Sachs, and UBS

Bitcoin’s run-up has even seen it valued more highly than two of the world’s most influential banks. Goldman Sachs Group’s market cap was $97 billion as of Friday, while Zurich-based UBS Group came in at about $67 billion. Add those numbers together and it still falls short of bitcoin.

Both financial heavyweights have taken a hands-off approach to the digital currency, with Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein saying it’s too early to draft a bitcoin strategy and UBS — the world’s biggest wealth manager — saying it won’t allocate it in portfolios because of the threat of a government crackdown. 


It may make jumbo jets but Boeing Co’s market cap of $162 billion is also less than that of a digital currency that didn’t exist ten years ago. The Chicago-based company, which describes itself as the world’s largest aerospace firm, is more than a century old and employs 140 000 people in more than 65 countries, according to its website. Rival Airbus fares no better — it’s got a market value of 66 billion euros ($78 billion).



Fourteen aircraft carriers

If bitcoin’s market cap could be used to buy military equipment, it would pack a mighty punch. The USS Gerald R. Ford, the first of a new class of nuclear-powered supercarriers, was delivered to the US Navy in May. It cost an estimated $13 billion, so if investors put all their bitcoins together they would be able to buy a fleet of fourteen ships.

Bill Gates, Buffett and the Queen

They sit atop Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, but even if Bill Gates and Warren Buffett pooled their fortunes they wouldn’t have enough to buy all the bitcoins in circulation. Gates is worth $90 billion and Buffett has $83 billion, according to the index. Not even Queen Elizabeth II could get them over the line if she brought her $383 million to the table. While we don’t know what he told Katy Perry, Buffett has called bitcoin a “real bubble” in the past.

© 2017 Bloomberg

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Here is my concern. Bitcoin is now approaching 4x Visa’s asset value. Visa arguably makes all its money from transaction fees.

Ask any bitcoin pundit and they will wax lyrical about ease, convenience and above all, cost effectiveness.

So how do you maintain value this far above the biggest credit card company while people are not willing to pay anywhere near what Visa is charging per transaction?

Be realistic. Bitcoin is nothing but some hyped up millenial idea in cyberspace with no real or intrinsic value. How can it be “bigger” than a country. Would you rather have New Zealand , a Boeing aircraft , Buffet portfolio or some Bitcoin. What a lot of twaddle.

There is no limit to the number of cryptocurrencies that can be created on similar or even better tech backbone/blockchain (although number of bitcoin itself is limited) So longer term it’s not clear to me why anyone absolutely needs to hold a specific crypto. Unlimited supply cannot be good for any asset class. Bitcoin can limit bitcoins but not new cryptos.

I am all for crypto currencies and block chain as such, but this just spells disaster, soon all crypto currencies will be totally illegal because of the BTC whale, the world has take notice, expect increase regulation of Bitcoin and bang goes the bubble.

“Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to Britain’s Treasury,told parliament – that amendments will “bring virtual currency exchange platforms and custodian wallet providers into Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing regulation.” , Australia has also said it would strengthen its money- laundering laws by bringing Bitcoin providers under the government’s financial intelligence unit.

and soon the rest of the world will follow.

End of comments.





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