Doomsday Preppers Are Switching From Gold To Bitcoin

The gold versus Bitcoin debate is complex, nuanced and still in its embryonic stages when put into the perspective of gold’s known 2,700-year use as money versus Bitcoin’s very modest eight-year track record.

From a pure investment perspective, as the following Bloomberg chart shows, Bitcoin has obviously “wiped the floor” with its esteemed rival and, no doubt, has absorbed a considerable volume of funds that otherwise might have found their way into gold investments.

One subset of gold investors, which is both over-stated and over-ridiculed in the mainstream media, is the “preppers”, or those preparing for a catastrophic disaster to occur in the future by stockpiling food, ammunition and “durable” methods of storing their wealth, etc. We clarify the term "preppers" because it is not common parlance in many European countries. While some allocation in gold was basically “de rigeur” some years ago, the prepping community is increasingly turning to Bitcoin, as Bloomberg reports.

Wendy McElroy is ready for most doomsday scenarios: a one-year supply of nonperishable food is stacked in a cellar at her farm in rural Ontario. Her blueprint for survival also depends upon working internet: part of her money, assuming she needs some after civilization collapses, is in bitcoin. Across the North American countryside, preppers like McElroy are storing more and more of their wealth in invisible wallets in cyberspace instead of stockpiling gold bars and coins in their bunkers and basement safes. They won’t be able to access their virtual cash the moment a catastrophe knocks out the power grid or the web, but that hasn’t dissuaded them. Even staunch survivalists are convinced bitcoin will endure economic collapse, global pandemic, climate change catastrophes and nuclear war.


“I consider bitcoin to be a currency on the same level as gold,” McElroy, who lives on the farm with her husband, said by email. “It allows individuals to become self-bankers. When I fully understood the concepts and their significance, bitcoin became a fascination.”

Wendy McElroy's profile, for what it’s worth, is not exactly that of a “whacko” prepper. A former journalist with FOX News, McElroy might be described as an “anarcho-capitalist”. She has authored a dozen books and numerous articles on subjects such as voluntarism (all forms of human association should be voluntary), feminism, how pornography can benefit women, capitalism and defending Wikileaks. In an article “Would Bitcoin ‘Function’ in a Societal Collapse?” on, McElroy cited the growth in Bitcoin adoption in the midst of the collapse of Venezuela’s economy and its currency.

Bloomberg continues by noting the seeming contradiction for preppers, like McElroy, since a collapse in the grid would take the internet down. However, it’s the ability of Bitcoin to operate beyond the control of central bankers (so far) which is a key attraction.

At first glance, it seems counter-intuitive that some of bitcoin’s most ardent proponents are people motivated by the belief that public infrastructure will collapse in times of social and political distress. Bitcoin isn’t yet widely accepted as a method of payment and steep transaction costs make it inconvenient to use at vendors that do take it. Preppers, as it happens, have a different perspective on what they see as the money of the future, which has surged 10-fold in the past 12 months as supporters lauded it as a digital alternative to rival the dollar, euro or yen. Used to send and receive payments online, bitcoin is similar to payment networks like PayPal or Mastercard, the difference being that it runs on a decentralized network—blockchain—that’s beyond the control of central banks and regulators. It was born out of an anti-establishment vision of a government-free society, a key attraction for those seeking unhindered access to their capital in case a massive shock shuts down the banking system.

Even if the grid went down temporarily, preppers are attracted by the blockchain’s record of Bitcoin holdings and transaction.

"Not too long ago, people in the prepper community were actively warning against crypto, and now they’re all investing in it,” said Tom Martin, a truck driver from Washington who runs a social-media website for people interested in learning skills to survive disaster.


“As long as the grid stays up, people will keep using bitcoin.”


In addition to gold, silver and stocks, Martin invests in bitcoin and peers litecoin and steem because they’re easier to travel with, harder to steal and offer better protection in the event of the kind of societal breakdown that would unfold if a fiat currency like the dollar collapsed. He’s among those confident that bitcoin can withstand even a complete blackout through the strength of the underlying blockchain, the anonymous public bookkeeping technology that records every single bitcoin transaction.

In the article, Wendy McElroy noted the increasing dependence on blockchain and the internet, the revival of which would be a priority after a disaster.

Yes. Electricity and the internet may be less reliable or more expensive but they would be available. An increasing dependence on the blockchain would make it a top economic priority. It would also be a top military priority. In October 2016, the Pentagon revealed it was actively exploring blockchain technology “to create tamper-proof military computer systems, including those used to control America’s nuclear weapons.” Other nations are undoubtedly doing the same.

Bloomberg acknowledges this view.

Preppers, though, stock enough food and supplies to sustain them for months, if not years, and they expect whatever governing structure emerges post-calamity will prioritize getting the web back up and running.


“It may be difficult, if not impossible to access for a while, but once things start returning to some level of normality, then the blockchain will return as it was before the disaster,” said Rob Harvey, a bitcoin investor who prepares for natural and nuclear catastrophes by learning and teaching survival skills, like making a fire. “The blockchain does not need a specific place or a specific person to survive—that’s a strong survival tactic”.

Bloomberg notes how Bitcoin has increasingly become a topic of debate on prepper forums, where participants were previously gold devotees.

Discussions on the pros and cons of investing in crypto have popped up on survivalist forums like and this year as bitcoin rallied above $7,000. “Buy bitcoin” is now a more popular search phrase than “buy gold” on Google.


The buzz is starting to impinge on gold’s role as a store of value especially since, like the precious metal, there’s a finite supply of bitcoin, which proponents say gives it anti-inflationary qualities. Sales of gold coins from the U.S. Mint slid to a decade low in the first three quarters months of 2017.


“It’s definitely had some impact on the market,” Philip Newman, who does research on precious-metal coin sales and is one of the founders of research firm Metals Focus, said by phone from Washington. “People see bitcoin prices going to the moon. No one thinks gold is going to the moon.”

While gold’s lack of “portability” is considered a negative.

Along the fringe, the 20,000 libertarians expected to converge on New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project are also switching from precious metals. They like bitcoin because it isn’t created by a government, unlike conventional currency.


“You can use bitcoin for economic transactions in a way that gold was never designed to do because it’s a physical thing—it’s heavy,” Matt Philips, the project’s president, said by phone. “A lot of people don’t know what the heck to do with gold if you give it to them in exchange for a cup of coffee.”

Wendy McElroy’s support for Bitcoin is drawn straight from the philosophy of Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged.

Whatever doom-and-gloom scenario unfolds, McElroy, from Canada, has faith in bitcoin. She’s writing a book called Satoshi Revolution, inspired by the pseudonym of the person or people who created bitcoin in 2009 as an answer to the financial turmoil wrought by the global financial crisis. She says the digital currency breaks society’s dependence on a state that uses its monopoly over the issuance of money to dominate the economy, making it a natural hedge against disaster. “It is a people’s currency,” she writes in the book’s introduction. “Bitcoins move seamlessly through a world without states or borders, obeying only the command of individuals who choose to deal with each other. Immune to currency manipulation and inflation, they do not serve the powerful elites at the expense of average people.”

When it boils down to it, the rationale and investment cases for gold and Bitcoin are similar enough that common sense suggests that the prepper community would, to some extent, adopt both.

With Bitcoin’s performance smashing gold to bits (intended), it’s hardly surprising that preppers are shifting their allegiance towards the digital currency. They are just “following the money”. As with all these things, however, we suspect that a point will come when too many people will be standing on the same side of the boat and there will be a sharp reversal in relative performance. The all-important question is whether that’s when Bitcoin is 10,000, 13,000 or 50,000?


Pandelis Dame Ednas Possum Mon, 11/20/2017 - 23:53 Permalink

Bitcoin versus Stocks - more like it.  Tech investors or prepers? bitcoin is more an investment - as to who are the people sending it to these new multiple highs in less than a year - i would say are the tech investors.The prepers for their nature expect some kind of grid failure or whatever, how can they invest in something completely dependent in the government ability to function wellInstead of investing in Amazon, Apple, Facebook those smart investors who see something that has run ints course and look for something flying up ... these are the people who are pushing Bitcoin to the moon.

In reply to by Dame Ednas Possum

overbet The_Juggernaut Tue, 11/21/2017 - 00:16 Permalink

The bashers ignore the plethora of positives of BTC and focus in on the extremely low probability event that would hurt it. Ignoring that if the electric grid went down it would be temporary and their gold wouldnt be very valuable like food and water and sure wouldnt be liquid. Try looking at the benefits a little more before you miss the boat. You couldnt fucking imagine a crisis where BTC went to 100k and gold sank to 100, but thats also a far fetched possibility just like the electrical grid going down permanatly. Take off your ignorant fucking blinders. 

In reply to by The_Juggernaut

RedBaron616 overbet Tue, 11/21/2017 - 00:30 Permalink

If large transformers were knocked out by an EMP, it literally will take months, if not years, to replace them. There's not a warehouse around full of these things. They are too expensive and so they are made to order and shipped. A very slow, long process which would come to a screeching halt if the plant making these also went down.

In reply to by overbet

hibou RedBaron616 Tue, 11/21/2017 - 00:54 Permalink

I brought a critical spare 2MVA transformer for my former employer, it took 2 years to be delivered. What happens when the orders pile up???The issue was the supply of core steel.It doesn't need an EMP to knock out the grid, just a high powered rifle. We had a small explosion inside a transformer and it buckled the cooling fins and the oil level dropped. Luck was that it didn't catch fire. The cooling fins are thin pieces of metal for heat transfer, bigger transformers use larger gauge but still a weak failure mode.The other point is Utilities tend to have below average predictive maintenance techniques, and switch gear likely not to operate in the event of a fault.Which means it not only the large transformers at risk, a propagating fault could easily take down large portions of the grid. We injection tested every year, cleaned and checked terminations, utilities don't.

In reply to by RedBaron616

Jack's Raging … overbet Tue, 11/21/2017 - 00:41 Permalink

On a rhetorical basis, ask Puerto Ricans. Regardless, the main (and salient) criticism about crypto is that it is not scarce. Each...iteration may have distinctions, but are ultimately ephemeral and limited only by ones willingness to spawn another. They are also useless for anything other than what they were specifically created for, which means their utility is inherently capped. Furthermore, it means that their only value resides with the herd's whim.

The herd's whim is fickle, my friend. I can put Ag and Au to very valuable use even if people don't want it as a monetary device. Cryptos have no such capability. You need to understand this. If you don't, then you're just part of the herd.

In reply to by overbet

Jack's Raging … overbet Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:47 Permalink

I didn't say post apocalyptic world. I was referring to it being useful beyond its monetary status. Even in an end of the world scenario, I can use them to make electrodes, for electroplating, antibacterials, circuits, as solder, RF antennae, as a catalyst in simple but important chemical reactions, etc. All of these can be conducted with the heat of a flame or the power of a car battery.

In reply to by overbet

runningman18 overbet Tue, 11/21/2017 - 00:43 Permalink

So, Bloomberg, a haven for whores that publish whatever the banksters tell them to, interviews how many "preppers" and then determines that they are switching from gold to bitcoin en masse?  I only see the name of one person.  Does anyone else see Bloomberg trying to market Bitcoin to preppers as suspicious at all?   

In reply to by overbet

the artist overbet Tue, 11/21/2017 - 01:24 Permalink

I can imagine it but at this point the boat has sailed . Who in their right mind would buy a bitcoin now at $8k??? Sorry dudes, if you did not buy in at $200 or whatever then you missed the speculation opportunity. If you did buy in early then hooray for you, but dont bash someone for being timid at this point. That brings me to my next point..."Not too long ago, people in the prepper community were actively warning against crypto, and now they’re all investing in it...All of us huh...where do I start? The only active warning I know of is not to treat bitcoin as an investment. At best it is an instrument of trade, ie a currency just as gold is. The difference is that nobody will ever say that gold WAS a currency. Dont get me wrong. I am in love with BTC. I bet I was predicting BTC at $10k looooong before 99% even knew what it was. But my love for it is as a central bank killer and as a way of circumventing currency laws worldwide. For that it seems to be doing its job. If you are holding and you got in cheap enough then good on ya but if you are speculating then look out below!

In reply to by overbet

ebworthen overbet Tue, 11/21/2017 - 02:57 Permalink

"Doomsday Preppers Are Switching Allegiance From Gold To Bitcoin"  DOH! I love you Crypto-folks, your heart is in the right place, but your brains in the black tulips.Get out while it is in the mania phase.  Issac Newton lost a fortune in the South Seas bubble, so don't quote intelligence and "math".

In reply to by overbet

shocktherapy overbet Tue, 11/21/2017 - 04:16 Permalink

2 months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico struggles to regain electricity.While lawmakers have focused on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, much of the U.S. energy system predates the 21st century, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Most transmission and distribution lines were built in the 1950s and 1960s, had a 50-year life expectancy and are unprepared to withstand severe weather events. More than 640,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in the lower 48 states’ power grids are at full capacity, according to ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, which awarded the country’s energy infrastructure a grade of D-plus. “Without greater attention to aging equipment, capacity bottlenecks and increased demand, as well as increasing storm and climate impacts, Americans will likely experience longer and more frequent power interruptions,” the group cautioned. 

In reply to by overbet

Dilluminati shocktherapy Tue, 11/21/2017 - 08:16 Permalink

^ is the most lucid comment today.   Forget all the dumb shit.  If you didn't get a generator this last year look for one and how to install it correctly and permanently site it.  If you aren't a homeowner: then find a stable community and become one, then get the generator.  Home ownership is the first step to prepping.  Own shitcoin and not a home?That would make you a shithead.

In reply to by shocktherapy

aurum4040 Pandelis Tue, 11/21/2017 - 00:57 Permalink

When was the last time you invested in a finite security that also has vast technological utility? I personally favor ETH moreso than BTC but...the basic premise is similar. Back to my point - when have you done so? Never, no one has. Period. So stop pretending to understand price dynamics when 90% of people on this planet do not have a clue how to procure BTC or ETH. It is still not a bubble. When the amount of people  who hold crypto reaches the same amount of those that hold USD, then talk about bubbles. And remember there is only 21mm BTCin existence and rememberin 18 months, ETH will pay 6% to 7% to park your ETH.And at that point there will be near 0%ETH inflation. 

In reply to by Pandelis

Raffie wee-weed up Tue, 11/21/2017 - 00:49 Permalink

You haters sound 'exactly' like the Trump haters who only know to spew Russian conclusion. EMP... yup.. its the EMP.... power and internet will never be restored again on a global scale....... DERP! Everyone will die except the stackers... LOL!! u Fing idiots..You fools think because you have gold/silver ppl will trade anything for it.Harsh reality coming for ya. People will want trades for items they need, not gold or silver where they will need to wait for society to start up to BUY items. They will have immediate needs that neither gold/silver will be able to give.By the time supplies start rolling so will power and internet, an guess what. So will cryptos to mock you and expose you for how foolish you are.  

In reply to by wee-weed up

the artist Raffie Tue, 11/21/2017 - 02:18 Permalink

Hysterical much?I think this article is hillarious. First it states that "All the preppers are Investing in it" Yeah that is right, Investing...Right. Then it says that as long as the grid is up that "people will keep using bitcoin" Nobody is "Using" bitcoin. I heard somebody bought a pizza with it once...once. Of course I am being hyperbolic but I find it hillarious that speculators see the value in btc as something to use to buy things but nobody (relatively speaking) is buying anything with it nor are they using it as a real currency beyond stock like speculation. I also find it hillarious that in your example above, the internet is down and supplies are cut off and then the internet pops back on again and supplies start rolling again...and it is btc that everyone will be clamoring for instead of gold. Have you thought this through? If the internet was just "down" to the extent that supply chains were interrupted then what is to stop that from happening again in a week???I am not saying gold is the be all end all but your example is a dud for so many reasons.  

In reply to by Raffie

chuckymcgee wee-weed up Tue, 11/21/2017 - 02:31 Permalink

If you're in a situation where there's no electricity or Internet anywhere, the only thing valuable thing left will be bullets and booze, not gold. Gold and bitcoin remain useful in a financial collapse only or a non-global disaster. Oh, but now the government has instituted capital controls and you're trying to flee with your wealth? Good luck getting past customs with 1000 gold coins shoved up your rectum.

In reply to by wee-weed up