Hard-working Britons with their life savings stashed in British pounds woke up Friday morning about 8 percent poorer after their country voted to leave the European Union.
Meanwhile, bitcoin investors were shielded from the Brexit news: They enjoyed an almost 9 percent jump in the value of their holdings.
It's the type of event that bitcoin enthusiasts, many in the technology industry, have anticipated because of growing political and economic instability in many regions of the globe. Meanwhile, legions of skeptics have criticized the cryptocurrency as a high-risk bet on an unprotected and unregulated alternative to money.
"Bitcoin is effectively becoming digital gold," said Ashvin Bachireddy, co-founder and general partner at Geodesic Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that backed bitcoin start-up 21 Inc. "You can continue to see further validation of bitcoin as something detached from a centralized government that allows people who work to preserve wealth in a secure way."
Not that Bachireddy — or any credible bitcoin investor — is recommending selling all your pounds, euros or dollars in favor of the cryptocurrency. There is tremendous volatility involved, and the currency still has limitations in how and where it can be used.