Americans still pay tribute to the California Gold Rush, both through the existence of the San Francisco 49ers football team and the way the phrase “gold rush” is still used today to indicate a windfall or frenzy (people use that term, don’t they?) But how much do you actually know about the California Gold Rush of 1849? And how much do you suspect younger generations know about this defining era in American history, for that matter?
Gold has been a valuable commodity since it was discovered thousands of years ago. The Egyptians are one of the earliest cultures to have fashioned gold into jewelry and for other ornamental purposes, marveling at gold’s natural shine, durability, malleability, and wonder.
Gold’s appeal has not diminished over the centuries, nor has its store of value. It is about to be the year 2020, and yet there is arguably no safer way to preserve your wealth than to buy gold. Yet, there is still some misunderstanding about gold by the general public, as evidenced by our recent survey How Well Do Americans Understand Money?
Gold once gave our American currency, and many other currencies around the world, stability. Each unit of money was tied to the per-ounce price of gold, and gold’s intrinsic value meant that the value of money fluctuated far less than it does today under our fiat currency system.
Some have called Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies the modern equivalent of gold. In some ways this statement rings true, yet there are distinct and notable differences between Bitcoin and gold that warrant discussion.