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Bitcoin vs. Real Estate

Bitcoin vs. Real Estate: Challenging the Traditional Investment

Many investors believe real estate is superior to Bitcoin because it generates cash flow through rent. This article argues that cash flow isn't the only factor in a reliable store of value, and Bitcoin offers unique advantages over real estate.

Debunking Intrinsic Value

The idea that objects have built-in value is a misconception. This view, influenced by the flawed labor theory of value, wrongly assumes value is tied to production costs. Applied to real estate, this theory suggests rental income or utility imbues it with intrinsic value. However, value is subjective.

In a free market, both parties in a trade believe what they receive is more valuable than what they give up. Value is based on perception, not inherent qualities. Economist Carl Menger emphasized this, stating value arises when humans recognize an economic good's personal importance. Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the value of Bitcoin or real estate comes from people's desire to own them.

Bitcoin's Value Proposition

Bitcoin's value doesn't come from its production difficulty. Instead, it stems from the security and settlement capabilities of the Bitcoin network. This creates demand for Bitcoin, a scarce digital asset with a limited supply and a disinflationary issuance schedule. Bitcoin's network is highly secure, further driving its appeal.

Real Estate's Value Proposition

Real estate investors often find that price appreciation, not cash flow, generates most profits. This highlights a key point: real estate's high value is more about scarcity and inflation protection than immediate income. This is evident when comparing house price increases to the growth of the money supply (M2) in the US.

Real Estate vs. Bitcoin: A Shift in Focus

Data shows that excessive demand for real estate is driven by inflation, pushing people towards scarce assets like real estate to preserve wealth. However, Bitcoin offers a strong competitor as a store of value. Its fixed supply, lower maintenance costs, and higher liquidity make it a more attractive option.

Bitcoin's resistance to regulation and physical degradation further strengthens its case. Unlike real estate, which requires upkeep to maintain value, Bitcoin offers a secure and easily transferable way to store wealth.

While real estate offers tangible assets and cash flow, Bitcoin provides a more secure and globally accessible store of value. It can also protect cash flow from inflation. As Michael Saylor argues, Bitcoin represents the digital transformation of value preservation across industries. Bitcoin's emergence might recalibrate real estate values, focusing more on utility than inflation hedging.

Despite Bitcoin's impact, real estate development and management will remain relevant. People will always need living and working spaces. Real estate, in this sense, is more than an asset; it's a service providing housing and production space for rental income. This income represents a return on investment, similar to "originary interest" – the difference between production cost and expected sale value.

While Bitcoin challenges real estate's role as a store of value, the development and management of real estate can still be economically viable, especially if it adapts to the digital financial paradigm shift that Bitcoin brings.

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