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Was Bitcoin the Best Pandemic-Era Investment?

By Evan Jones03/22/2024

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During COVID pandemic that began in 2020, the US government, along with other governments around the globe, provided stimulus in an effort to keep the economy moving. As the US gave out this money, many various asset classes started going on big runs as people looked to invest their newfound extra cash. 

With Bitcoin hitting all time highs, it seems a good time to compare investments made using this $1200 stimulus to see just how each investment has performed in the nearly four years since. Let’s jump in.

Comparing Investments in Different Assets

Below we’re going to compare investments into a variety of asset classes, along with some specific assets within those classes (such as a stock). 

For consistency, we’re going to use April 15th, 2020, as the date of purchase for the assets, with their prices on March 15, 2024 as their current benchmark.

Cash

Cash’s actual value doesn’t change, it’s always worth $1, but its purchasing power can certainly change over time. 

If you put that $1200 stimulus check into a savings account, left it until now, and got the high-end of interest at 4% in the US for a basic savings account, you’d now have a little over $1400 when compounding yearly. 

However, you’ve lost about 20% of your purchasing power with those dollars due to inflation and rising costs of everyday goods. This actually means you’ve essentially lost money by keeping your stimulus check as cash.

Gold

Gold has long been one of the safest places to park your money, but it’s not as transferable as stocks or cryptocurrencies except in its ETF form. That hasn’t kept it from continuing to perform well even as crypto takes off. 

On April 15, 2020, gold was $1727. On March 15, 2024, gold was $2161, about a 25% gain. This means if you invested $1200 into gold, you’d now have about $1500 worth of gold now.

S&P 500

The S&P 500 has performed extremely well over the past decade plus, and it has recovered greatly from its lows during the early stages of the pandemic. 

On April 15, 2020, the S&P closed at 2,783.36. On March 15, 2024, it closed at 5,150.48, nearly double what it was about four years ago. If you had invested $1200 into the S&P 500 Index in 2020, you’d have over $2200.

Tesla (TSLA)

Tesla has been one of the best performing stocks of the last few years thanks to their huge market share of the electric vehicle sector. 

On April 15, 2020, TSLA closed at 48.66 a share. On March 15, 2024, TSLA closed at 172.82, 355% increase. An investment of $1200 into TSLA with your stimulus check would mean you now have over $4200.

Nvidia (NVDA)

Nvidia is just about the hottest stock on the market, with the company being pushed into top 10 globally by market cap thanks to its current run. It’s worth noting that Nvidia is heavily involved with building AI infrastructure so it’s never been hotter.

On April 15, 2020, NVDA closed at 69.98 a share. On March 15, 2024, NVDA closed at 895.46, an absolutely whopping 1279% increase. If you had put your $1200 check into Nvidia you’d now have over $15,000. Nuts.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin (BTC) has been no slouch since the 2020 stimulus checks came out. Though it certainly has faced some rough patches, it still managed to hit a new all time high in early March 2024.

On April 15, 2020, Bitcoin closed at $6,645 per BTC. On March 15, 2024, Bitcoin hit a high of $72,357.13, a 1088% increase. If you had put your $1200 stimulus check into Bitcoin you’d now have just over $13k, no small sum.

Closing Thoughts

When comparing investments into different assets using the $1200 stimulus check, Nvidia is clearly the best performer, with Bitcoin being close behind. 

Of course, NVDA has made almost the entirety of its gains in the past year, as it’s up more than 4x in that time. This means you’d have had time to buy in for some time in order to make gains. 

Bitcoin on the other hand, reached its previous all time high of $69k in 2021 when NVDA was just about $130 a share, meaning you could have put your check into BTC, cashed out your profits, put them into NVDA and be doing extremely well now. 

Overall, when comparing investments into various asset classes, it seems clear that Bitcoin outperforms everything but outliers like Nvidia over time. 

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Evan Jones

Author

Evan entered the crypto scene in 2017, attracted to the many disruptive possibilities that blockchain could have on current world systems. He has a keen interest in decentralized services, payment processing, and viable NFT use cases such as event ticketing. He spends his days writing with his dog Kobe under his feet, if not on his lap.

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