Bitcoin predictions are a dime a dozen. That’s ironic given many pundits are predicting a one million dollar bitcoin over the course of the next decade. Depending on a person’s perspective, the idea of a one million dollar bitcoin might be inspiring or laughable.
This retrospective covers the good, the bad and the ugly (yes, there is such a thing as an ugly bitcoin prediction). Don’t take this post as investment advice, as no one can truly predict the future. But for now, let’s have some fun and play crypto oracle, or at least look at all of the other people who are trying to do just that.
The Very First Bitcoin Predictions
Believe it or not, bitcoin price predictions are 11 years old (the same age as bitcoin itself). Just one week after its invention, computer scientist Hal Finney steps out on a limb and provides this prediction in writing:
“Imagine that bitcoin is successful and becomes the dominant payment system in use throughout the world,” he wrote.
“Then the total value of the currency should be equal to the total value of all the wealth in the world. Current estimates of total worldwide household wealth that I have found range from $100 trillion to $300 trillion. With 20 million [bitcoin], that gives each coin a value of about $10 million.”
Finney’s writings stop short of making an explicit prediction persay, but he’s known as one of the original contributors to the bitcoin project. Unfortunately, Finney won’t live to see his price tag come to fruition. He passed away in 2014 after being diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative neurological disease. Still, seeing crypto prices where they are today, Finney’s surely smiling down from the heavens.
The Most Over-Confident Bitcoin Prediction
If anybody is a little bit too confident in the future price of bitcoin it has to be John McAfee, the founder of McAfee antivirus software. In 2017 he famously tweeted that he will do something drastic if his price prediction is wrong:
if not, I will eat my dick on national television.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) July 17, 2017
That’s right! McAfee says he’ll do the unthinkable if bitcoin doesn’t reach $500,000 in value within three years. As the tweet shows, there is about a year left on the clock. For those that think McAfee is a bit crazy, don’t worry, he amended his original prediction in November of 2017:
When I predicted Bitcoin at $500,000 by the end of 2020, it used a model that predicted $5,000 at the end of 2017. BTC has accelerated much faster than my model assumptions. I now predict Bircoin at $1 million by the end of 2020. I will still eat my dick if wrong. pic.twitter.com/WVx3E71nyD
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) November 29, 2017
So much for giving himself some breathing room! It’s true, McAfee doubled down on his prediction instead of retracting it, predicting a $1 million bitcoin by the end of 2020. His bet might have had some merit in 2017 when the whole world seemed to be bullish on bitcoin. However, we’re about 18 months away from the end of 2020 and digital gold is going to need quite the jump to meet McAfee’s suggested price target. He better get his barbecue sauce ready.
While McAfee’s prediction is hilarious, he lost a lot of clout in the industry soon after that tweet. A news story came out saying that he was accepting up to $105,000 to tweet positively about certain cryptocurrency projects. One of those projects was a privacy coin called Verge. The Verge blockchain was hacked shortly after McAfee offered his sponsored support. Nevertheless, he’s probably the least shy person in the cryptosphere when it comes to making price predictions. Anyone interested in how much time he has left before he has to cash in on his bet can check out the countdown timer the whole bitcoin world is watching.
By the way, anybody that thinks the last two years have given McAfee an opportunity to go back on his bet, he simply keeps doubling down on his original statements. Consider this tweet posted last month:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Bitcoin is at the mid 10's and people worry. LMFAO!! Why do you pay attention to weekly fluctuations? Look at the past few months FFS! It's rising drastically. I'm still positive about my $1 mil BTC price by the end of 2020. Alt coins like MTC and Apollo will rise ten times more.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) July 14, 2019
99bitcoins.com reviews everything crypto related, but the site isn’t known as much for its reviews as it is for its bitcoin obituaries section. It’s a collection of notable and perhaps not so notable figures and their predictions that bitcoin is dying. So far, the blockchain is proving everyone wrong. The interesting thing about it all is that every year that the bitcoin price goes up, so does the number of predictions that it will fail.
The very first bitcoin obituary came out on a website called The Underground Economist in 2013. The first obituary says the following:
“Negative feedback loops like this are basically homeostasis. In nature, positive feedback loops like exist with Bitcoin are lethal; the only thing that’s even kept Bitcoin alive this long is its novelty. Either it will remain a novelty forever or it will transition from novelty status to dead faster than you can blink.”
2017’s historic bitcoin bull run yielded more obituaries than any other year in bitcoin’s existence. 124 of them to be exact.
That year, Carnegie Mellon professor and technology entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa wrote an article on LinkedIn titled, “Why Bitcoin is the largest Ponzi scheme in human history”. He points out the project’s downfalls (some of which have since been addressed, namely the transaction fees):
“First, anyone who has access to a Bitcoin password (or private key) has the authority to spend the Bitcoins it unlocks; loss of the password means loss of all of the associated Bitcoins, with no recourse. Second, linear growth in the chain of blocks that make up Bitcoin is resulting in exponential growth in the computation necessary to process and verify transactions: transactions that used to take 10 minutes now take hours. Third, with Bitcoin transactions fees hovering above $25, a $5 payment now costs $30. This obviously is not a workable digital currency.”
Wadhwa’s criticisms follow along the lines of many bitcoin detractors. He brings up the lack of support for losing one’s passwords and mentions transaction costs. The adoption of the lightning network has curbed concerns about the latter, but still Wadhwa’s criticisms weren’t as harsh as those of others. Reporters from Forbes and Bloomberg called it a “scam” and “implausible”. Even Mr. Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort, who doesn’t exactly have a clean track record when it comes to scamming people referred to bitcoin has a “huge, gigantic scam”. Prominent advisor James Faucette said that the likely value of bitcoin is $0.
It’s not just professors taking a conservative estimate on bitcoin’s future, even one of the cofounders of Bitcoin.com decided to sell all his bitcoin. Emil Oldenburg commented in 2017 that he had to wait 12 hours and pay a $50 fee for a bitcoin transaction to go through. He called the currency worthless and proceeded to sell every coin he owned.
Even Warren Buffett, the famed investor who made all of his wealth using fundamental analysis in the stock market, has gone on record many times saying that bitcoin has no fundamental value whatsoever. In an interview from earlier this year, Buffett stated, “Bitcoin has no unique value at all…it’s a delusion basically.”
Put Your Bitcoin Where Your Mouth Is
It’s one thing to come out and be bullish on cryptocurrency. It’s another thing to put big money into it. Venture capital investor Tim Draper is doing just that. Earlier this year he claimed that by 2022 people will be using bitcoin to buy Starbucks coffees, and that anybody pulling pennies out of the wallet will be behind with the times. Things aren’t exactly happening as fast as he is hoping however. Draper says he is now scaling back on his prediction that bitcoin will be worth $250,000 in 2022. He says it will now take until 2023.
Either way it makes sense that he would bring a bullish sentiment to the table as Draper is heavily invested in bitcoins himself. Draper famously purchased nearly 30,000 bitcoins at $632 each back in 2014. With the currency currently trading at between $10,000 and $11,000 USD, he’s laughing all the way to his hardware wallet. The question is, is there really room for more growth from bitcoin and will the ridiculous predictions keep on coming?
Other Whacky Bullish Bitcoin Predictions
Arguably the most whacky and unlikely prediction for a bullish bitcoin future comes from a well-respected independent research firm called Fundstrat. The head of the company’s research department, Sam Doctor, says that his firm expects an uptick in bitcoin mining to drive the price forward for the rest of the year. As it stands right now bitcoin’s price would have to increase by 500% for Doctor and his associates to stand correct.
Jeremy Liew and Peter Smith may not be household names to the average person, but they are in the investment world. Liew is the first to venture capitalist to ever back Snap Inc., the company behind the social media app SnapChat. Smith is the CEO of Blockchain, one of the crypto industry’s first wallets. The two predict that a growing amount of access to mobile devices will cause bitcoin adoption to spread quickly. They estimate that there is a chance bitcoin hits $500,000 in value by 2030. They base that on an estimated 400 million people using it regularly. They also assume that cryptocurrency transactions will account for more than half of all digital transactions by that time.
John Pfeffer is another famed venture capital investor predicting a big time bitcoin price. He says that someday bitcoin will be worth over $700,000. Pfeffer didn’t provide a specific timeline for this to happen. But he says that bitcoin has the potential to replace currency reserves held by central banks and that it will likely replace gold as a store of value. Those ideas are certainly optimistic, but at least he won’t be making promises he likely doesn’t want to keep like John McAfee.
What Will Future Bitcoin Predictions Be Based On?
Throughout the last 11 years, bearish and bullish investors alike have offered many different takes on the future of Bitcoin. Bears say it has no fundamental value because it’s not backed by a ‘real’ asset and that it’s difficult to spend. People who are pro-bitcoin say the world is changing and everything will eventually be digital anyway. That using digital currency is a natural progression as we move from sticks and stones, to paper money, to credit cards, to blockchain technology.
Only time will tell who’s right or wrong, but what else can possibly drive Bitcoin? Will it be more and more entire nations drowning in debt, kind of like what’s happening in Greece and Venezuela right now? Will it be the desires of dictators around the world to suppress people that lead people to seek currency not backed by any government? Will a global collapse see millions of people lose their money as investors pull out of bitcoin that has a whole generation of people sour on the idea of digital currency? The answer to the last question is probably a now, yet for all we know, bitcoin could indeed be the world’s biggest pyramid scheme.
For now, early adopters are the ones sitting pretty with all of the profits. lt seems like everyday more and more people are becoming bitcoin converts. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before bitcoin takes over the world. Just like Hal Phinney suggested 11 years ago.