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."
June 2019: Bitcoin Could Reach US$25,000 'By The End Of 2019 Or Early 2020,' Says Oliver Isaacs
In June, cryptocurrency analyst Oliver Isaacs told The Independent that "I believe bitcoin has the potential to hit $25,000 by the end of 2019 or early 2020." "There are multiple drivers behind the recent resurgence," he added.
"There are geopolitical, technological and regulatory drivers," said Isaacs. "The net effect of the trade war between the US and China has led to the sudden interest in bitcoin as a hedge on investments." Isaacs also pointed to the growing adoption of Bitcoin by major companies.
June 2019: Bitcoin Will 'Likely' Rise To US$40,000 Within 5 Months If It Reaches US$10,000
At a conference in June 2019, Tom Lee predicted that if "Bitcoin somehow manages to get to $10,000, it's very likely it's going to make a run to $40,000 within five months." While giving the keynote speech at the 2019 CryptoCompare Digital Asset Summit in London, Lee stated that once Bitcoin prices surpassed US$10,000, it would provoke "full blown" FOMO, creating a situation where the digital currency could hit the US$40,000 milestone.
Lee provided background for this prediction during a Binance podcast in June 2019. He noted that in the decade that it had been around, Bitcoin had only been valued above US$10,000 approximately 3% of the time. "If you look at past cycles, once you get to that 3% threshold, the typical surge in the next five months is 200% to 400%," he said.
June 2019: Bitcoin Is Heading To US$100,000, Says Peter Brandt
Peter Brandt tweeted in June 2019 that Bitcoin was "experiencing its fourth parabolic phase dating back to 2010" and that it had taken "aim" at a "target" of US$100,000. "No other market in my 45 years of trading has gone parabolic on a log chart in this manner. Bitcoin is a market like no other."
Aug 2019: Bitcoin Will Never Reach US$50,000, Says Gold Advocate Peter Schiff
Peter Schiff, a market analyst and long-term gold bull, predicted in August 2019 that Bitcoin would never attain the US$50,000 price point. He made this forecast on Twitter, after Bitcoin bull Tom Lee criticised Schiff's 2012 claim that gold prices would climb to US$5,000 within two years.
Schiff told Lee that "My gold forecast came a lot closer than your Bitcoin forecast." He then added, "Plus at least gold will eventually hit 5k."
Oct 2019: Bitcoin Could Reach US$100,000 By 2023, Says Crypto Analyst Tone Vays
Tone Vays, whose Twitter handle describes him as both a derivatives trader and analyst, stated during a 2019 Cointelegraph interview that bitcoin could rise to as much as US$100,000 by late 2023. The digital currency could hit this milestone if enough anticipation builds following the upcoming halving.
This next halving, which will reduce the reward for successfully mining a bitcoin block by 50%, is scheduled to take place in May 2020. At that point, the aforementioned reward for completing a block will fall to 6.25 BTC.
After this next halving takes place, the rate at which new units of bitcoin enter the system will be reduced, affecting supply. Should enough anticipation build up going into the subsequent halving, which is scheduled to take place in 2024, bitcoin could potentially reach US$100,000, said Vays. However, he emphasized that even after the next halving took place in 2020, market observers would need to wait another four years for the subsequent event in 2024.
Vays also noted that the digital currency's price could potentially skyrocket to US$100,000 in a rather short time, emphasizing that if a significant enough geopolitical event were to take place, it could place significant upward pressure on the cryptocurrency.
Jan 2020: Bitcoin Could Reach US$50,000 This Year, Says Nexo Cofounder Antoni Trenchev
On 3 January 2020, Antoni Trenchev, who cofounded crypto lending startup Nexo, said that Bitcoin's price could rise to US$50,000 later in the year. Focusing on the upcoming halving, he noted that the last time one of these events materialised, Bitcoin prices rallied 4,000%.
During the interview with Trenchev, it was pointed out that the cryptocurrency's price had climbed 9,000,000% in 10 years. Further, he stated that we should think of Bitcoin as being digital gold, and that if the digital currency was worth even 10% of gold's market value, Bitcoin's price would rise to US$50,000.
Jan 2020: Bitcoin Will Approach 2019 High Of US$14,000, Says Bloomberg Report
Bitcoin prices "are more likely to edge toward 2019's high of about $14,000" in 2020, according to a "Bloomberg Crypto Outlook – January 2020 Edition." The report, which listed Mike McGlone, commodity strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence as its author, stated that Bitcoin's supply should rise by only 2.5% in 2020—an all-time low. The report also pointed to growing adoption.
"The fact that a store-of-value asset with fixed supply and increasing adoption is more likely to appreciate in price will keep Bitcoin supported in 2020, in our view, while the primary trends of 2019 that favored the first-born cryptocurrency vs. rivals should persist," the author wrote.
Jan 2020: Bitcoin Will Surpass US$20,000 In 2020, Predicts BitPay Inc. Executive Sonny Singh
During an 8 January 2020 interview with Bloomberg, Sonny Singh, chief commercial officer for crypto payment services provider BitPay, offered a forecast that Bitcoin would rise above US$20,000 in 2020.
He mentioned that while many analysts are citing the upcoming halving when making price predictions, Sing believes that "unforeseen" circumstances will help drive the cryptocurrency above US$20,000 in 2020. He pointed to Facebook's Libra and how the announcement of the proposed payment system affected the markets, which included a rise in Bitcoin's price.
Please note that past performance is not an indicator of future results.
July 2020: Bitcoin To Approach $US288,000 Before 2024 Halving, Says S2FX Model
On 1 July 2020, a person with the Twitter handle PlanB provided an update to a chart created for the BTC S2F Cross Asset Model, also known as S2FX. The model, which uses dots to chart Bitcoin's price history relative to halving events, received a second red dot on 1 July. These dots are crucial because BTC prices have traditionally risen when these dots appeared after a halving.
According to the chart provided by PlanB, BTC started moving toward a major price increase following the 2020 halving. PlanB published a Medium post on the S2FX model in April 2020, in which he estimated that the digital currency will reach US$288,000.
The stock-to-flow (S2F) model, from which S2FX is derived, asserts that BTC's value is based largely on its scarcity. More specifically, stock refers to the existing amount of Bitcoin, and flow refers to the rate at which new supply is added.
PlanB explained this in a 2019 Medium post, noting that given BTC's current stock and rate of new supply, it would take 25 years of new units being created to reach the existing stock, compared to 22 for silver and 62 for gold.
"Bitcoin is the first scarce digital object the world has ever seen," PlanB wrote in the Medium post. "A statistically significant relationship between stock-to-flow and market value exists. The likelihood that the relationship between stock-to-flow and market value is caused by chance is close to zero."
In April, PlanB modified S2F, changing it to S2FX. "The original BTC S2F model is a formula based on monthly S2F and price data," they wrote. "Since the data points are indexed in time order, it is a time series model."
"In this article I solidify the basis of the current S2F model by removing time and adding other assets (silver and gold) to the model," the author clarified. "I call this new model the BTC S2F cross asset (S2FX) model."
Aug 2020: Bitcoin Is Headed To Six Figures, Says Max Keiser
Bitcoin prices are "heading to 6-figures," said Max Keiser, host of the Keiser Report, said on Twitter. He predicted the digital currency would experience a retracement before then, also stating in the same communication that "$28,000 is in play before we see a pullback."
A few days later, he offered additional insight into the matter in a second tweet. "The $20,000 level for #Bitcoin won't pose any resistance," he stated. "We won't see any resistance till $28,000." Keiser added that bitcoin would experience "A brief pullback then the assault on $100,000 begins with renewed vigor."
Feb 2021: Bitcoin Could Reach US$600,000, Says Guggenheim CIO
The price of Bitcoin could rise to as much as US$600,000, Guggenheim global chief investment officer Scott Minerd stated during a CNN Interview. He noted that previously, the digital currency didn't have a large enough total market value to draw the interest of institutions. However, Bitcoin started to "look interesting" as its price rose, he added.
"If you consider the supply of bitcoin relative … to the supply of gold in the world, and what the total value of gold is, if bitcoin were to go to those kinds of numbers, you'd be talking about $400,000 to $600,000 per bitcoin," said Minerd.
Feb 2021: Bitcoin Could Rise To US$85,000, Says Bridgewater
The price of Bitcoin could reach US$85,000 if investors pull enough of their money out of gold and put it into the digital currency. That's according to the digital asset trading firm QCP Capital, which was citing analysis conducted by hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.
"Bridgewater's piece out last week had a sensitivity analysis which showed their estimates of BTC price should private holders of Gold switch to BTC. They forecasted that should 50% of capital in Gold move into BTC, that would result in a price of $85,000 BTCUSD."
"We think that this estimate might be conservative," QCP Capital wrote.
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.
This article was last updated 14th March 2021.
Senior Market Specialist
Russell Shor (MSTA, CFTe, MFTA) is a Senior Market Specialist at FXCM. He joined the firm in October 2017 and has an Honours Degree in Economics from the University of South Africa and holds the coveted Certified Financial Technician and Master of Financial Technical Analysis qualifications from the International Federation…