“Why Bitcoin?” is a question I get fielded a lot. As the “crypto expert,” so to say amongst my family and friends, they ask me why it may be wise to invest some capital in the cryptocurrency over, say, stocks, precious metals, or even cash sitting in a “high-yielding savings account.”
To answer, I’ve mentioned many things, like how the future will be digital not analog or the growing levels of distrust in institutions. But most often, I mention potential risks forming in the traditional financial system, spurred by unorthodox central banking policy.
One such risk is the introduction of negative interest rates, which means that with some lenders, they’re actually losing money on their lending, not generating a return as one would classically expect.
Top Danish Bank Forces Negative Interest Rates
Over the past two decades, policy interest rates set by the world’s central banks have been in freefall, reaching the lowest they’ve been in millennia, some analyses have indicated.
This trend has largely gone unnoticed by the bulk of consumers, with the investing narrative slowly shifting to being centered around stocks rather than bonds and savings accounts.
But, it appears that consumers may soon feel the brunt of this trend.
Hunter Horsley, CEO of Bitwise Asset Management, shared the below image, which shows that clients of Saxo Bank — a Danish investment bank specializing in online trading and investment — will be subject to negative interest rates.
Per details from Horsley and others that shared this information, all clients holding cash in EUR, CHF, or DKK will be subject to an annual rate of 0% to -3%. This means that if you’re in the worst bracket of -3%, a $10,000 deposit will see you lose $300, rather than the few hundred dollars you might have earned in historical economic paradigms.
Saxo Bank, backing this decision, cited the European Central Bank’s decision to lower its policy deposit rate to -0.5% to stimulate the economy.
Saxo Bank sending an email informing the client they will start *charging* to hold cash in deposit accounts.
0-3% fee to hold cash.
What a time to be alive — pic.twitter.com/JC4vTia3XQ
— Hunter Horsley (@HHorsley) February 21, 2020
Saxo Bank is the latest relatively high-profile bank to have introduced negative interest rates for its clientele.
ING, one of the largest Dutch banks, revealed at the end of January that it will be charging an interest rate of -0.5 percent for wealthy clients with more than 1 million euros in their account. This will come into effect for businesses from April 1st and for private customers on July 1st. ING chalked up this move to the Netherland’s low rates:
“Due to persistent low and negative interest rates in the market.”
Only 6,400 customers, the bank claims, will be affected by this move, but as rates have been decreasing for years now, it may be a precursor of what may come for mom and pop consumers.
Bitcoin (and Crypto) Fixes This
Bitcoin doesn’t offer any yield and inflates with time, just like cash, but analysts say that it is becoming digital gold, so to speak, or a digital store of value that should theoretically hold its value over long swaths of time.
In fact, per many predictions, BTC is extremely likely going to outperform a cash account being charged -3% a year over the coming decades.
DeFi, too, could be an alternative to the extremely low and even negative interest rates charged by the world’s banks.
As can be seen in the table, users can earn an interest rate of anywhere from 0.26% to 12.91% a year (rates are variable) by lending stablecoins and even Ethereum to platforms like dYdX, Compound, or Dharma.