A single bitcoin might be worth half a million dollars ($500,000) in 2030, that’s just 13 years away, the first investor in Snapchat is claiming.
That prediction was made by Jerry Liew who is famous; or infamous, as the first investor in Snapchat. Liew and Peter Smith, the founder and CEO of Blockchain Inc. sent a press release with that boast to Business Insider. To be honest, it must be noted that it sounds as if the looking for investors so their claims should viewed with skepticism.
The Case for $500,000 bitcoin
Liew and Smith’s case for $500,000 bitcoin is a pretty simple one laid out here:
- The amount of remittance payments from expats in developed countries to family and others in developing nations is growing. The volume of remittances; most of which take the form of electronic money transfers, doubled over the past 15 years the World Bank reported. The value of the remittance payments sent in 2015 was $431.6 billion, Word Bank data indicates.
- “Expats sending money home have found in Bitcoin an inexpensive alternative, and we assume that the percentage of Bitcoin-based remittances will sharply increase with greater Bitcoin awareness,” Smith and Liew predicted.
- The believe that increasing political uncertainty driven by events like Brexit, popular anger at the European Union and the Trump election in the United States is undermining faith in established currencies. This is driving alternatives like bitcoins.
- The growth of mobile payment and digital wallets, they think that 30% of the world’s population will be using such contrivances in 2030. Since the world is projected to have a population of 8.5 billion in that year by the United Nations, that means an ecosystem of 2.55 billion digital wallets.
- Bitcoin is growing fast. The number of bitcoin users has grown from 120,000 in 2013 to 6.5 million in 2017. That means bitcoin volume has increased 54X in just four years. If that rate of growth continues bitcoin would have 400 million users in 2030.
How Realistic is $500,000 Bitcoin?
Surprisingly the argument is fairly credible but the two are ignoring some potential circumstances that might a damper on half a million dollar bitcoin. Such developments include:
- A government; or group of governments, figures out a way to ban or effectively discredit or sabotage bitcoin. This is likely because bitcoin threatens governments’ power and the wealth, influence and prestige of politicians and bureaucrats.
- Another more versatile or better liked cryptocurrency arises and takes bitcoin’s place. A strong contender is ethereum which has a number of capabilities that bitcoin lacks. For example ethereum can be used to create digital contracts and securities and store information. Ethereum is capable of even greater growth than bitcoin. Its value grew fivefold during the first four months of 2017. An etheruem coin was trading at $8.29 on January 1, 2017, and $44.01 on April 11, 2017, according to Coinbase.
- A good way to think of bitcoin is as the Model T or AOL of cryptocurrencies that will be traded in for a fancier and more sophisticated replacement at some point in the future. Consumers will dump bitcoin for something like ethereum just as they ditched cell phones for smartphones.
- Large financial institutions such as banks refuse to take bitcoin or develop a replacement. A number of banks including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) are experimenting with ethereum-based cryptocurrencies.
- The appearance of a blockchain based cryptocurrency driven by artificial intelligence. The first example of such a product Numerai is already on the market.
- Government-issued cryptocurrencies appear and take bitcoin’s place because they have official support. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has elaborate plans to develop and deploy such a solution. Other central banks will undoubtedly follow if it is successful.
- Central banks and other financial institutions get together and adopt another solution such as ethereum as the standard for cryptocurrencies.
- Unforeseen political or economic developments block bitcoin adoption. This might include war, political upheaval or widespread depression.
Therefore half a million dollar bitcoin is possible but getting there will be a rocky road. One thing is certain though, volatility is the norm for cryptocurrency prices so get used to it.