Gold’s price fluctuates as everybody knows.
But alternative currencies have price movements that could put someone on the ledge of a tall building.
Imagine having an asset that declines from $319 to 10 cents.
That apparently happened with Ethereum last week.
It is not as widely known as Bitcoin, but it is intended to serve the same function as gold.
The price did recover, but it is still well below the $319 starting point.
Such a swing in value makes $20 daily movements in gold worth celebrating.
The point of owning gold is reassurance.
It will always have value.
No matter what happens to the U.S. dollar, stocks, commodities, or real estate, gold will be there for you.
While Ethereum has probably made a fortune for some people, it certainly doesn’t appear to be something that will help its owners sleep better at night.
Call this the fuddy-duddy factor that makes gold so appealing.
Part of the attraction of electronic alternative currencies that have no physical form is that they are the opposite of safe and sound.
There is a place for them, especially for the block-chain method they use for keeping records online.
This method of keeping records is supposed to be the coming thing.
But no matter how successful alternative currencies will turn out to be, they will not displace gold.
With thousands of years behind it as something of value, gold cannot be displaced culturally.
However tempting an alternative currency might be, keep this basic gold fact in mind.
Then resolve to keep the funds you have dedicated to gold right where they are.
Sticking with the tried and true will allow you to bravely dip your toe in other investment waters.
Perhaps those other investments will make a fortune for you.
I hope so.
But remember, owning gold is how you keep that fortune once made.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
• Like this blog? Read more by subscribing to Numismatic News.