Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s longtime right-hand man, recently predicted that over the next 100 years, inflation will cause fiat currency (that is, government-issued currency) to plummet to zero. Munger’s track record speaks for itself, so people tend to listen whenever he has something to say about markets or the economy.
These comments are noteworthy given the current economic environment, with soaring inflation grabbing headlines and hurting consumers’ pockets. But from an investment perspective, people have a worthwhile option in front of them to place a bet with Munger’s comments in mind.
It’s the world’s top cryptocurrency, an asset that he has publicly eschewed. But I think that if you’re looking for the opportunity to build life-changing wealth, then you should seriously consider Bitcoin ( BTC 0.27% ).
Bitcoin is now a legitimate store of value
Cryptocurrencies can no longer be ignored by investors. And Bitcoin in particular, with its decade-plus history, is cementing itself as a smart place to park your money.
Institutional investors, such as ARK Invest, are extremely bullish on Bitcoin. And corporations like block, MicroStrategyand You’re here have even converted some cash on their balance sheets to the cryptocurrency. With the introduction of secure and seamless connections between the traditional financial system and the crypto economy, like Coinbase Global‘s Prime offering, it is easy for entities to gain exposure to the burgeoning asset class.
Then there is the potential for real utility. Other nations could follow El Salvador in making Bitcoin legal tender within their borders. And the massive global remittance market, at approximately $500 billion, is ripe for disruption due to slow processing times and high fees. Again, bitcoin could be the solution.
Although future returns might not resemble the past, I believe there is a material chance that Bitcoin continues beating the market in the years ahead.
Bitcoin as an inflation hedge
Inflation, spurred by the ultra-loose monetary policy since the Great Recession, is a key component of modern capitalism, as it encourages consumers to spend. And this is what Charlie Munger was alluding to.
Bitcoin, on the contrary, is characterized by absolute finiteness. There will only ever be 21 million coins in circulation, and this is based on computer code that can’t be tampered with. A situation like this is in stark contrast to fiat currency.
With inflation reaching record levels in recent months, the concept of Bitcoin as a hedge against rising prices is coming under intense scrutiny. Add in heightened geopolitical risk, and investors would expect safe-haven assets, like gold, to receive a boost. This situation has played out, as the precious metal is up about 8% this year. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is down 19% in 2022 as of March 8. But it’s worthwhile to zoom out and gain a better understanding of the true goal of investing.
It is not a smart idea to jump in and out of asset classes on a short-term basis simply because of certain macroeconomic events. The goal of investing, which is a long-term game (at least five years in the future), is essentially to increase your purchasing power over time. This simple fact is why holding cash is such a poor financial decision over a longer time frame. Inflation eats away at its purchasing value.
With this framework in mind, it’s strikingly clear that bitcoin crushes gold in terms of real wealth creation. Over the past five years, the price of an ounce of gold has risen just 60% (as of March 8), while Bitcoin has skyrocketed more than 3,200% during the same time. Undoubtedly, anything can happen in a given month, quarter, or even year. But over a longer period, Bitcoin is the clear winner.
Even with the extreme volatility that investors would need to endure, Bitcoin makes for a solid addition to a well-diversified portfolio. And although Charlie Munger has publicly condemned digital assets, his comments about inflation and the diminishing value of traditional currencies should lead investors right to Bitcoin.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.