Bitcoin could hit $100,000 in 10 years, says the analyst who correctly called its $2,000 price

Bitcoin could hit $100,000 in 10 years, says the analyst who correctly called its $2,000 price
Artistry Cafe accepts payment in bitcoins
PHOTO: The Straits Times

In December, Saxo Bank published its annual report called "Outrageous Predictions" with one of the forecasts calling for bitcoin to hit US$2,000 (S$2,770) in 2017. At the time the note was published, bitcoin was trading at around $754, so the target price represented a 165 per cent rise. Bitcoin hit $2,000 on May 20.

But now, Kay Van-Petersen, the analyst behind the call, is looking long term and sees a big rise ahead for bitcoin.

How will bitcoin hit $100,000

Here's how he came up with his price target in 10 years.

Van-Petersen is assuming cryptocurrencies in general - not just bitcoin - will account for 10 per cent of the average daily volumes (ADV) of fiat currency trade in 10 years. Foreign exchange ADV currently stands at just over $5 trillion, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

Ten per cent of US$5 trillion is US$500 billion. This is the ADV that cryptocurrencies could have. Bitcoin will account for 35 per cent of that market share, which would that US$175 billion of the US$500 billion figure, he said. This would mean that US$175 billion worth of bitcoin would be traded every day.

 Hospoda Brewery is one of three merchants in Singapore that accept payment in bitcoin.
Photo: The Straits Times

Bitcoin 'not a fad'

Van-Petersen - who owns bitcoin - emphasizes that this is a rough calculation but that his growth predictions could be "conservative" given that in the year 2013 alone, bitcoin's price grew over 5,000 per cent. The analyst said that cryptocurrencies will survive in the long run.

"This is not a fad, cryptocurrencies are here to stay," Van-Petersen told CNBC in a phone interview.

"There will emerge two to three main ones. Bitcoin will be one of those. And the reason is the first-mover advantage, the scale and the pioneering."

Van-Petersen's views are not the official view of Saxo Bank, the analyst said.

The first dual-function bitcoin automated teller machine in Singapore, which converts cash to bitcoin and vice versa.
Photo: My Paper

Bitcoin's bad reputation

The bitcoin industry has had its fair share of problems and reputational damage. The digital currency has often had an image of being used for illegal means such as buying drugs online.

The collapse of Mt.Gox in 2014, once the world's largest bitcoin exchange, is still fresh in the minds of users. Some members of the exchange are still waiting for compensation.

More recent issues include some exchanges not allowing people to withdraw their money in fiat currency. On top of this, the view of bitcoin as a currency for criminals is still prevalent after the major WannaCry ransomware cyberattack saw hackers lock peoples' files and ask for bitcoin in exchange to unlock them.

Still, Van-Petersen says that the industry is still extremely young and big improvements will come.

A few factors will boost bitcoin adoption including better wallets, easier methods to buy the digital currency, use of it for money transfers in areas like remittances, as well as citizens of countries with volatile economies and currencies buying it.

"Volumes are going up, volatility is going down. A lot of people talk about the volatility, but if you are in Zimbabwe or Venezuela, this volatility is nothing. This is the interesting thing to me. I think in the West, a lot of people view it is as speculative, but emerging markets will get it, their needs will be different," Van-Petersen added.

While Van-Petersen is offering one way to value bitcoin in the future, others say that there are other factors to take into consideration.

"It's one way of slicing the pie to try and predict future prices which always relies on a lot of assumptions," Charlie Hayter, CEO of industry website CryptoCompare, told CNBC by email.

"Equating volumes to price value is one method of attempting a valuation, but it doesn't take into account the fundamentals of the ecosystem."

The fundamentals of what bitcoin is capable of from a technical point of view and how regulation is molded around its use will determine its value too, Hayter added.

 

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