Instability in government-backed currencies induces price spikes in Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency anchored by an army of computers, which some like to refer to as "digital gold".
The price of Bitcoin had actually yo-yo'd just prior to the Bexit vote; it had reached $750, followed by a weekly low of $550. But once it became apparent Britain was out of Europe and the pound started to fall, Bitcoin surged to $650. At press time it was trading at $681.
Bitcoin is a small ecosystem relative to fiat currencies and so it reacts violently and can be driven up or down by price by feedback loops. But when, for example, the Bank of England is forced to come out and say £250bn has been made available so don't panic, Bitcoin's safe haven status is invoked.
Bitcoin's appeal as a safe haven is rather modest in terms of utility, but it underlines the fact that crypto is a bearer asset; there is no fractional reserving going on. Because it doesn't involve a bank, you are not being duped into believing in an exchangeable 1-1 agreement, which is really an unsecured loan to a highly leveraged deposit-taking institution that is too big to fail.
There had been a period in last few months when Bitcoin's prices looked remarkably stable. Over May/June Bitcoin had a 28-day period when it was less volatile than gold. But we must be honest here - volatility is par for the course with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which is why many people like to trade them.
Some Bitcoin start-ups reflected on the Bitcoin Brexit spike and what it says about cryptocurrency. Andrew Lee CEO of Purse.io., which registers over $1m per month in sales on Amazon to discounted Bitcoin users, told IBTimes: "Chinese exchanges traditionally led bitcoin price surges, including the most recent spike to $780. For the first time, GBP/BTC is leading. Bitcoin is the new gold. It's easier to store, transfer, and trade."
Lee was less optimistic about Europe: "Instability with government-backed currencies forces the world to pay attention to alternatives. Bitcoin's popularity will spike as the European Union dismantles: Brexit, Grexit, Spexit, etc."
Gene Kavner, CEO of Bitcoin wallet provider iPayYou, went into more detail about the degree of assurance that comes with having a fixed supply of a currency, as is the case with Bitcoin.
He said: "Governments have traditionally reacted to major economic changes by manipulating and in many instances damaging the value of their currency (by printing more of it).
"Bitcoin, on the other hand is immune to involvement by any government. It is predictable with certainty, its supply is known and the rate with which it increases is about to be reduced by half. This contrast, bitcoin's stability and certainty is providing investors the confidence and ability to trust it to withstand any profound changes that we are facing.
Events like Brexit and the previous threat of Grexit promote Bitcoin as a putative safe haven. But this should be qualified; you can't be stable and volatile at once. Kavner was less emphatic about Bitcoin as a default safe haven in all cases.
He pointed out that cryptocurrencies are predictable in their supply, said the "democratisation of safe havens" will see Bitcoin mature as a reliable store of value in the coming decades.
"There is still quite a path for Bitcoin to grow to truly become this haven. The true value and genius of Bitcoin is still waiting to be discovered by the world. It has to become easier to use by those not familiar with the virtual currencies. As Bitcoin is growing this recognition, it is certainly becoming a powerful alternative to traditional safe havens such as gold and other precious metals," said Kavner.
But some cryptonomic experts argue that being "predicable in their supply" is actually the root of the volatility problem for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which has stood in the way of its adoption as an exchange of value.
Robert Sams, CEO of Clearmatics, a decentralised trading system which uses distributed ledgers, has called Bitcoin's deterministic supply a "bug rather than a feature".
This is Sams on an Epicentre Bitcoin broadcast a couple of years back, which is still worth quoting: "If you have a fixed supply you will never get stability in the purchasing power of the coin. On the one hand you want the coin to be adopted – so in the early days of a cryptocurrency if it starts to gain traction you should expect coin demand to increase dramatically, hyperbolic growth.
"But the mere expectation of that growth creates a separate type of demand, a speculative demand that anticipates future transactional demand. And that speculative demand is what generates the volatility. But the volatility itself is the very thing that chases away the demand from people who want to use it as a medium of exchange.
"So you get this paradoxical consequence, that the very optimism that the coin is going to be adopted by a lot of people is actually what stands in the way of it being adopted in the first place."
However, being viewed as a safe haven in times of trouble can create virtuous feedback loops and attract investors, believes Darin Stanchfield CEO of KeepKey, a hardware wallet to secure Bitcoin and digital assets.
He told IBTimes: "Bitcoin is still a much smaller market than other currencies. Changes in investor psychology about safe havens, at the margin, will make an impact on the Bitcoin market. This starts a feedback loop, where investors see how prior events affected Bitcoin price, and decide to seek some exposure to Bitcoin, which in turns drives up its price.
"We saw early signs of this back in 2013 during the fear of a US government shutdown, and then again last summer during the Greek bailout referendum. Overtime, perception becomes reality."
Solving the stability problems of cryptocurrencies is a growing area of interest with projects like stable-coin, the Fedcoin proposal and more recently announcements from Colu about a hybrid approach.
Ned Scott CEO of Steemit, a growing cryptocurrency a market cap of $16m, said the British people should think about moving some of their wealth into Bitcoin in the face of uncertainty.
He said: "People may be waking up to the realities of fiat currencies and debt economies. Centralised, debt-based economies and their currencies come with risks, such as bail-ins and bail-outs, that digital currencies protect consumers from."