Bitcoin vs Gold in Google Sheets

Updated: January 16, 2021

Google Sheets, available as part of both consumer Gmail and organization-wide Google Workspace, allows users to easily create trend charts based on any source that can be connected to a Google Sheet.

The GOOGLEFINANCE function for Bitcoin was not working for a time, but seems to be working again now. You can “set and forget” the function—cells will auto-populate or auto-update at regular intervals.

Bitcoin Price Chart vs Current Gold Price

The Bitcoin price and the price of gold were compared to one another by many in 2016 and early 2017. During May of 2017, the dollar price of Bitcoin climbed well above the then price of gold. From there, Bitcoin continued its ascent toward a peak of over USD $19,000.

The Bitcoin price has proven to be more volatile than the price of gold. Bitcoin has seen 25% price swings in a matter of days. The price of gold changes more slowly. The biggest daily swings are on the order of 1%.

There is no doubt that cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, have been yet another disruptive technology that the internet has fostered.

In this case, precious metals have been the disruptees. Even though gold coins have a shadow and a reflection, the virtual has outdone the physical by a wide margin in terms of market value.

We used the following GOOGLEFINANCE function to create the trend line in the embedded Google Sheets chart below. If you do not see a blue trend line, Google Sheets had a problem fetching the data.

=GOOGLEFINANCE(“CURRENCY:BTCUSD”, “price”, DATE(2020,1,1), DATE(2020,12,31), “DAILY”)

Google’s disclaimer is, “Quotes are not sourced from all markets and may be delayed up to 20 minutes. Information is provided ‘as is’ and solely for informational purposes, not for trading purposes or advice.”

We used an ImportXML function to import the current price of gold from Packetizer. The formula was dragged all the way down the column in the Google Sheet. That formula is:

=ImportXml(“”, “/SpotPrices/gold”)

Update: the above stopped working, so we are now using:

=ImportHtml(“”, “table”,27)

Note: the chart may take up to 30 seconds to load from Google Docs. Here is a link to the Google Sheet, which includes a full screen view of the chart.

Historically, there has been a noticeable correlation between interest in the search term “bitcoin” and the Bitcoin price chart. As interest in a commodity grows (even a virtual commodity), so does demand. As demand rises, given a constant supply, prices rise.

Bitcoin as Digital Gold

Bitcoin has been referred to as digital gold. There has been a shift to viewing Bitcoin as a store of value rather than a medium of exchange.

Contrarians view Bitcoin as a speculative asset without the visible value of assets such as shares in a company, real estate or gold.

While Bitcoin does not have physical properties as does gold, it does have a limited supply. There will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins.

If someone invested $100 in Bitcoin on July 17, 2010, that investment would have been worth over $75,000,000 on January 16, 2021.

The original meteoric rise, coupled with prolific recent press coverage, has captured the attention of a lot of people.

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