Cramer believes in both gold and crypto — but says they play different roles in portfolio

  • CNBC's Jim Cramer said Tuesday he believes cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether serve different functions than gold in a portfolio.
  • "At the end of the day, I'm a believer in both gold and crypto," the "Mad Money" host said.
  • " You want insurance? Buy gold. You want to speculate, buy bitcoin or Ethereum," he said.

CNBC's Jim Cramer said Tuesday he believes cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether serve different functions than gold in a portfolio, suggesting investors can have exposure to both.

Proponents of gold or bitcoin often tout their respective asset as long-term stores of value to hedge against inflation and irresponsible government spending. However, the "Mad Money" host said to him, "it's not either/or."

"At the end of the day, I'm a believer in both gold and crypto," Cramer said, while adding he sees "absolutely no reason for treat these two things as somehow equivalent."

Gold has scarcity value and proven its worth over time, Cramer said. "I regard gold as an insurance policy against long-term inflation; it's boring, but absolutely essential."

Bitcoin and ether, on the other hand, have created "ridiculous fortunes" in recent years, yet they remain nascent and, as a result, can be very volatile, Cramer said. Bitcoin was created in 2009, and the Ethereum blockchain, on which ether is the native digital currency, was founded in 2013.

Cramer said he sees them both as more of a "speculative trade."

"Maybe crypto is going to be a store hold of value when it goes up, but it's a colossal error when it goes down," Cramer said. "That's not what I'm looking for in an insurance policy. You don't speculate with insurance. Crypto absolutely has its advantages if you're willing to take on extra risk to chase big gains, but that's very different from protecting yourself."

Cramer has previously invested in both bitcoin and ether, which are the world's two largest cryptocurrencies by market value.

"Gold's value is its timelessness; crypto's value is its timeliness. You want insurance? Buy gold. You want to speculate, buy bitcoin or Ethereum, but do not confuse the two," Cramer said.

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