15 Apr '13, 10pm

@TNYJohnCassidy

Beyond its industrial and cosmetic uses, gold performs two functions in the economic system. It’s a store of value, and it’s an object of speculation. In recent years, speculation has been rampant, with hedge funds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (E.T.F.s), and individual investors bidding the price up from six hundred dollars an ounce in 2007 to a peak of $1,920.30 in September, 2011. Recently, though, bitcoin , the virtual currency, has been stealing some of gold’s speculative lustre, with everybody from Maltese hedge funds to the Winklevoss brothers piling in. Could this be responsible for gold’s tumble? No. The gold market is huge. Every day, tens of millions of ounces are traded on commodity exchanges in London, New York, and Tokyo, and that might be an underestimate. Some traders say the market is worth five trillion dollars a year. By comparison, the bitcoin ma...

Full article: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2013/04...

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