Bitcoin, the world's largest digital currency by market capitalisation (market cap), has experienced sharp price volatility since coming into existence in January 2009. The cryptocurrency has enjoyed both notable rallies and equally substantial declines.
As Bitcoin has experienced these sharp price fluctuations, market observers and analysts have repeatedly predicted where its price will go further down the line. This article will review several notable predictions involving the cryptocurrency, in chronological order. Investors should keep in mind that any and all predictions are speculative, and they may never materialise.
Dec 2013: Bitcoin Will Top US$40,000, Says Cameron Winklevoss
In December 2013, Cameron Winklevoss predicted that Bitcoin's price will surpass US$40,000, which was roughly 40 times the value it had when he offered this particular forecast.
He described the "small bull" scenario in an "Ask Me Anything" conversation on Reddit:
The "small bull case scenario for Bitcoin is a 400 billion USD dollar market cap, so 40,000 USD a coin, but I believe it could be much larger. When this will happen, if it happens, I don't know, but if it happens, it will probably happen much faster than anyone imagines," he said.
Nov 2017: Bitcoin To Reach US$1 Million By End Of 2022, Says John McAfee
In November 2017, John McAfee, a technologist and entrepreneur who is associated with McAfee Antivirus, predicted on Twitter that Bitcoin would reach US$1 million by the end of 2022. He confirmed that he was sticking by this bet multiple times, reiterating his wager on Twitter in February 2018 and then informing Newsweek in August 2018 that he had not changed his mind.
"I absolutely stand by the million-dollar prediction," he stated. "It is still two and a half years away, in which two things will happen: bitcoin will continue to grow, and the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies will devalue."
Jan 2018: Bitcoin Will Hit US$125,000 By 2022, Says Tom Lee
In the beginning of 2018, Tom Lee, managing partner for Fundstrat Global Advisors, said that Bitcoin prices would rise to US$125,000 by the end of 2022.
At the time, when the digital currency was trading below US$10,000, he also forecasted that it would hit US$25,000 by the end of 2018. He cited a valuation model that considered variables such as the expansion of the money supply and alternatives to that money supply, such as gold.
Apr 2018: Bitcoin Will Reach US$250,000 By 2022, Says Tim Draper
In April 2018, venture capitalist Tim Draper tweeted that Bitcoin would rise to US$250,000 by 2022.
This was not the first time that the venture capitalist made a bullish prediction. He forecasted in March 2018 that in five years from that date, no one would use fiat currencies any longer. Instead, he said they would be leveraging digital currencies to make transactions.
"In five years you're going to walk in and try to pay fiat [a government-backed currency like the U.S. dollar] for a Starbucks coffee, and the barista is going to laugh at you, because they're going to say, 'What is this? Are you counting out pennies? Give me shells?'" Draper said during CNBC's "Fast Money."
Jul 2018: Bitcoin To Hit US$50,000 In 2018, Says Arthur Hayes
Arthur Hayes, co-founder and CEO of digital currency exchange BitMEX, predicted on CNBC in May 2018 that Bitcoin prices would climb to US$50,000 by the end of the year. He reiterated this forecast in July 2018, appearing once again on CNBC's "Fast Money" and offering further detail.
While Bitcoin prices had fallen sharply from their recent high, Hayes emphasized that "something that goes up to [around] US$20,000 in one year can have a correction." He noted that while Bitcoin might bottom out "in the US$3,000 to US$5,000 range ... we're one positive regulatory decision away, many an ETF approved by the SEC, to climbing through US$20,000 and even to US$50,000 by the end of the year."
Aug 2018: Bitcoin To US$96,000 By 2023, Says Satis Group
Bitcoin prices could reach US$96,000 by 2023, according to a report released by ICO advisory firm Satis Group.
When arriving at this figure, the two authors of the report, an analyst and a head of research for Satis Group, made use of fundamental analysis. They claimed that "currently, the vast majority of the total cryptoasset market capitalization is held in traditional store of value markets, with offshore deposits accounting for nearly 40% of the total."
"Increased store of value use case penetration" will be the primary cause of this market capitalisation increasing over time, they wrote in the report.
"We see penetration of the offshore deposits market by cryptoassets jumping dramatically in the next 1-2 years as custody solutions come online," the authors stated, predicting that the total market value of these digital assets will rise sharply, climbing to US$3.6 trillion in 2028.
Sept 2018: Bitcoin To Trade Between US$8,800 And US$10,000 In 2018, Says Mike Novogratz
In late September 2018, former hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz, who worked for Fortress Investment Group, told CNBC Fast Money that Bitcoin prices would bounce back that year, inevitably rising to between US$8,800 and US$10,000 in 2018.
The former hedge fund manager stated that financial institutions like hedge funds and pension funds would fuel the next rally in cryptocurrencies as they purchase these digital assets amid fear of missing out (FOMO).
"It won't go there (US$20 trillion) right away," he stated, adding that once major financial institutions start offering custodial solutions, it could provide a key impetus. Late in 2018, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley announced their plans to offer such services.
Dec 2018: Bitcoin Could 'Easily' Surpass US$100k In 3-4 Years, Says Lou Kerner
Bitcoin may be on its way to replacing gold as a "store of value," and if it succeeds in this respect, the digital currency could "easily" exceed US$100,000 in the next three or four years, market analyst Lou Kerner told Bloomberg during an interview.
Kerner, cofounder and CEO of venture capital firm CryptoOracle, said that gold, a store of value, had a total market value of US$8 trillion, that silver was worth US$50 billion, and that Bitcoin had a market capitalisation of US$60 billion.
He added that while central banks may issue their own versions of cryptocurrencies, these digital assets will be pegged to fiat currencies, and no one knows how what the money supply of these fiat currencies will be going forward. Bitcoin, however, is capped at roughly 21 million units.
Mar 2019: Bitcoin Will 'Claw Back' To US$10,000 In 2019, Says Arthur Hayes
Arthur Hayes, cofounder and CEO of digital currency exchange BitMEX, wrote in a March newsletter that "The 2019 chop will be intense, but the markets will claw back to US$10,000." "That is a very significant psychological barrier," he added.
Hayes elaborated on this prediction, stating that "US$20,000 is the ultimate recovery." "However, it took 11 months from US$1,000 to US$10,000, but less than one month from US$10,000 to US$20,000 back to US$10,000."
Mar 2019: Bitcoin Could Surpass US$50,000 In Next 20+ Years, Says Ryan Selkis
Ryan Selkis, founder and CEO of digital research firm Messari, tweeted a bullish prediction in March 2019. He forecasted that Bitcoin could reach US$50,000 or even more in the coming decades. To explain how he determined this figure, Selkis pointed to the "Great Wealth Transfer" that could see Millennials inherit US$30 trillion in the next 20 or more years. He then said that if even 1% of that amount is invested in digital currencies, Bitcoin prices could rally to US$50,000 or higher.
If 1% of US$30 trillion flows into digital currencies, this could increase the total market value of these innovative assets by "10 to 20 times the incoming capital," said Mati Greenspan, a senior analyst for social trading platform eToro.
Selkis made this statement shortly after 43% of participants in an eToro survey revealed that they have more faith in digital currency exchanges than stock exchanges.
Mar 2019: Bitcoin Could Surpass USD$1 Million In '7 To 10 Years,' Says Xapo CEO
Bitcoin could reach more than US$1 million apiece in the next "7 To 10 Years," depending on how thoroughly the digital currency is adopted, according to Wences Casares, CEO of digital currency firm Xapo. The article containing this info, dated 1 March 2019, made it clear that at the time, Bitcoin was worth approximately US$4,000.
Describing the cryptocurrency as an "experiment," Casares predicted that if Bitcoin gains wide enough adoption, its price could skyrocket. "I have noticed over time that the price of Bitcoin fluctuates around ~ $7,000 x how many people own bitcoins," he said. "So if that constant maintains and if 3 billion people ever own Bitcoin it would be worth ~ $21 trillion (~ $7,000 x 3 billion) or $1 million per Bitcoin."
Apr 2019: Bitcoin Could Hit US$50,000 In Next 2 Years, Says Peter Brandt
In April 2019, veteran trader Peter Brandt predicted that Bitcoin could enter a parabolic bull market, climbing to US$50,000 in the next two years. He elaborated on this prediction when speaking with Yahoo Finance YFi PM and emphasized the digital currency's market history.
"I believe that charts reflect underlying supply and demand fundamentals and that's how we have to look at it," Brandt said. "What's happened from December of 2017 to 2018 is really an analog to what happened in the 2013 to 2015 bear market, where we saw sequential 10 up-and-down moves in the bear market and we've almost identically formed that same sort of pattern."
During both of the aforementioned periods, Bitcoin suffered sharp losses and fell more than 80%, according to industry data provided by cryptocurrency hedge fund manager Tim Enneking. However, when Bitcoin bottomed out in 2015, it enjoyed a very strong advance, Brandt said. If history were to repeat itself, the digital currency could enter a parabolic bull market after falling sharply in 2018.
However, the veteran trader noted that the timing surrounding this rally is uncertain. "The only question I have is do we rally here some and then sometime in late summer check the late 2018 lows or not? There is a chance that it does, there's a chance that it doesn't."
Apr 2019: Bitcoin To Hit US$50,000 In Next 2-5 Years, Says Hayes
Hayes made another bold prediction, this time in April 2019 when he said that the digital currency would reach US$50,000 "in the next two to five years." He made this prediction when speaking with Venture Coinist and emphasized the affinity that younger generations have for technology.
Now that "the baby booming generation and the older Gen Xers are entering the years when they are disposing of assets, their tastes and preferences are less relevant than the younger generation, Millennials, who are entering their prime asset earning years," he stated. "And so what do we know about Millennials?"
"Some of them, on the younger end of the spectrum, are digital natives, mobile first," he said. Hayes added that if we take this approach and apply it to the financial services industry, it is easy to understand how "analogue ways of dealing with money and trading are not going to be successful in the next 10 to 20 years. It's going to be platforms that deal only on the internet."
Market analysts have provided a wide range of forecasts regarding what Bitcoin prices will do in the future. Investors should keep in mind that any and all predictions are speculative, and they may never materialise.
When considering potential options, investors can benefit greatly from conducting thorough due diligence. For example, if they want to consider the forecasts of different market experts, it could be quite helpful to investigate the background of these analysts.