Asteroid 16 Psyche is worth more than Earth's economy

Asteroid 16 Psyche contains over $10,000 quadrillion in precious metals, more than Earth's entire economy.

Asteroid 16 Psyche is worth more than Earth's economy

Bitcoin has many positive attributes over gold. It's digital, decentralized, finite, borderless, immutable, and could be traded on Mars. And while gold is popular, one its biggest criticism is that its total supply is infinite and unknown.

About 244,000 metric tons of gold has been discovered to date on Earth, mostly from China, Australia, and South Africa. Estimates range there is somewhere between 155,244 tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes of gold on Earth.

But one asteroid in particular contains more metals than we could ever expect to find of Earth. Located between Mars and Jupiter, Asteroid 16 Psyche is one of the most massive objects in the asteroid belt of our solar system, with a diameter of about 140 miles. It is roughly the same length as Massachusetts. The asteroid's metal is worth an estimated $10,000 quadrillion, which is the number $10k with 15 added zeroes. This is more than the entire economy of Earth.

Psyche was discovered by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis on March 17, 1852. He named the asteroid for Psyche, the Greek goddess of the soul who was born mortal and married Eros (Roman Cupid), the god of Love. Psyche seems to have a surface that is 90% metallic and 10% silicate rock, and scientists believe most of these metals contain iron and nickel.

Psyche orbits the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter at a distance ranging from 235 to 309 million miles from the Sun. Psyche takes about five Earth years to complete one orbit of the Sun, but only a bit over four hours to rotate once on its axis (one "day"). No spacecraft has visited Psyche, but in 2014 a mission to Psyche was proposed to NASA, emphasizing the importance of studying the only majority metallic planet in the solar system so far. The mission was approved by NASA in January, 2017, and was originally targeted to launch in October 2023, with an Earth gravity assist maneuver in 2024, a Mars flyby in 2025, and arriving at the asteroid in 2030. In May 2017, the launch date was moved up to 2022.

Bitcoin has a market cap of roughly $700 billion, while gold stands at roughly $10 trillion. If digital gold replaces 10% of gold's market cap, then its price would be around $154,000, says CryptoQuant. By comparison, there are about 1.3 trillion euro in circulation, about 13% of gold's entire market cap.

It remains to be seen if Bitcoin will succeed in its conquest to $10 trillion, but having a $10,000 quadrillion asteroid within viewing sight of NASA might cast some doubt on gold's chances of being the global reserve currency of the future, especially if those resources could eventually be mined.