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Safe haven or risky hazard? Bitcoin during the Covid-19 bear market


  • Conlon, Thomas
  • McGee, Richard


The Covid-19 bear market presents the first acute market losses since active trading of Bitcoin began. This market downturn provides a timely test of the frequently expounded safe haven properties of Bitcoin. In this paper, we show that Bitcoin does not act as a safe haven, instead decreasing in price in lockstep with the S&P 500 as the crisis develops. When held alongside the S&P 500, even a small allocation to Bitcoin substantially increases portfolio downside risk. Our empirical findings cast doubt on the ability of Bitcoin to provide shelter from turbulence in traditional markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Conlon, Thomas & McGee, Richard, 2020. "Safe haven or risky hazard? Bitcoin during the Covid-19 bear market," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 35(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finlet:v:35:y:2020:i:c:s1544612320304244
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Economic policy > Money and monetary policy


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Zhifeng Liu & Toan Luu Duc Huynh & Peng-Fei Dai, 2020. "Fears for COVID-19: The crash risk of stock market," Papers 2009.08030,
    2. Cristiana Ioana Șerbănel, 2020. "Best Practices for The Economic Environment During COVID-19," Ovidius University Annals, Economic Sciences Series, Ovidius University of Constantza, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 0(1), pages 500-509, August.
    3. Ender Demir & Mehmet Huseyin Bilgin & Gokhan Karabulut & Asli Cansin Doker, 2020. "The relationship between cryptocurrencies and COVID-19 pandemic," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 10(3), pages 349-360, September.
    4. Islam, Raisul & Volkov, Vladimir, 2020. "Calm before the storm: an early warning approach before and during the COVID-19 crisis," Working Papers 2020-09, University of Tasmania, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics.

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    Bitcoin; Safe haven; Downside risk; Covid-19;


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