Our mission to help you navigate the new normal is fueled by subscribers. To enjoy unlimited access to our journalism, subscribe today.
A team of analysts at J.P. Morgan’s Global Markets Strategy group are touting Bitcoin’s emergence as an alternative to gold among Millennials, suggesting a “doubling or tripling” in the price of the cryptocurrency if current trends continue.
The prediction, which came in a research note published on Friday, is remarkable given the bank’s one-time skepticism towards Bitcoin, which included CEO Jamie Dimon calling it a “fraud” in 2017 and saying he would fire anyone trading it for being “stupid.”
J.P. Morgan’s recent bullish stance is driven in part by PayPal’s recent decision to offer Bitcoin to its customers, and Square’s recent decision to add $50 million of the cryptocurrency to its balance sheet. Another major factor for its position, though, is the demographic trend in which younger generations are choosing Bitcoin over gold.
“The older cohorts prefer gold, while the younger cohorts prefer bitcoin as an “alternative” currency,” says the research note.
The analysts go on to observe that, if this trend continues, there could be a challenge to gold in the long-term—with important price implications for Bitcoin.
“Even a modest crowding out of gold as an “alternative” currency over the longer term would imply doubling or tripling of the bitcoin price from
here,” the note states.
Bitcoin is currently trading around $13,000. That falls well short of its all-time high of nearly $20,000, which occurred during the the crypto bubble of late 2017, after which Bitcoin fell to around $3,400 the following year. The current price run-up has been more stable, however, with Bitcoin staying above the $10,000 mark for an unprecedented three month stretch.
Millennials’ embrace of Bitcoin has been underway for a while. Late last year, a Charles Schwab survey found that shares of Grayscale’s GBTC—a company that holds Bitcoin in trust—were more popular among the cohort than famous names like Netflix and Disney. Meanwhile, Grayscale has been fanning the trend with a national TV campaign called “Drop Gold.”
As a percentage of total investment capital, however, gold still dwarfs Bitcoin by a factor of ten. As J.P. Morgan notes, the value of gold and Bitcoin ETFs are about equal, but the total yellow metal is worth $2.6 trillion in total (versus $240 billion for Bitcoin) because large amounts of it are held in the forms of bars and coins.
J.P. Morgan sounds a note of caution, however, observing that, “for the near term, bitcoin looks rather overbought and vulnerable to profit taking we think.” But the analysts also add the long term prospects for Bitcoin could further improve because of its utility as a payment mechanism compared to gold.
Business Insider first reported on the J.P. Morgan memo, a copy of which Fortune obtained independently.
More must-read finance coverage from Fortune:
- What Wall Street needs from the 2020 election
- Tom Steyer thinks business is missing a big opportunity—and that Trump has done “nothing but whiff”
- Can an A.I. algorithm help end unfair lending? This company says yes
- Procter & Gamble shows that increasing spending during a recession is worth it
- Stocks in “election-sensitive” sectors seem oblivious to which candidate wins. Why?