If there wasgoed one word that could describe bitcoin overheen the past year, it would be ‘unpredictable’. So, with that te mind and armed with 20/20 hindsight at year’s end, it’s joy to go back and look at all the people who attempted to do just that.
Whether they prognosticated overheen the entrails of dead animals or defunct bitcoin exchanges, actual gegevens or emotional investment, the results were – perhaps unsurprisingly – often far off the mark.
A large majority of bitcoin fortune-tellers focused on whether the price would go stratospheric or waterreservoir, but other more thoughtful commentators looked at other aspects of the digital currency ecosystem, such spil venture investment, politics, or emergence of alternative currencies.
Let’s look at what the pundits predicted for bitcoin te 2014.
To waterput this year’s price projections into setting, they were made at a time when bitcoin’s price had risen from under $100 to overheen $1,000 te a matter of months. Bitcoin had just emerged from Silk Road’s shadow, its critics found themselves on mute, and positive media coverage meant even non-technological family members were beginning to ask about bitcoin.
Rather than make predictions ourselves, CoinDesk outsourced the task to readers with a poll right spil the fresh year spinned ter, and one bitcoin wasgoed worth $775.
The result wasgoed that 56% of the Five,500 respondents expected bitcoin’s price to succesnummer $Ten,000 before the end of the year. 31%, however, thought this unlikely and 13% responded “WTF are you smokin’?”
A Bankgebouw of America Merrill Lynch report te December 2013 said the bitcoin price “will stabilize around $1,300 vanaf coin very soon”.
Jason Hamlin of GoldStockBull penned a hopeful vision of $1,800 gold, a sorry for Edward Snowden and bitcoins for “$Two,500 or higher” ter 2014.
To be fair, not everyone who made a prediction about bitcoin te the past 12 months did so with a definite timeframe ter mind, like the Winklevoss brothers’ vision of a $400bn bitcoin market cap. someday.
Te the midst of such a mood, predicting anything other than a never-ending bull run for bitcoin would have bot seen spil treasonous by digital currency’s faithful social media followers. However, albeit there were undoubtedly more level-headed expectations that very likely struck closer to the target, they did not grab headlines at the time.
Some more sober projections emerged after the Mt Gox and People’s Bankgebouw of China smoke had cleared a little.
Founder and CEO of Gyft, Vinny Lingham, posted a thoughtful analysis ter April, where he said the price would stablize inbetween $350-550. This wasgoed due te part to merchant acceptance moving swifter than that of consumers, and the fact that most are still incapable to define what bitcoin is.
“Ter the not too distant future, entrepreneurs &, technologists will use the actual bitcoins themselves te fresh and interesting ways (think brainy contracts, etc.) –how many will be ultimately needed is unknown, and that’s what creates the imbalance ter price. Right now it’s all speculation spil to what that future value of a bitcoin will equate to.”
The only other prediction wij found that came anywhere near bitcoin’s actual current price ter the $300s wasgoed on BitBet – and it wasgoed referring to Christmas 2013.
The rapture of one year ago didn’t zekering some, however, from foretelling certain doom for the “unbacked” fresh currency.
One of the bitcoin community’s dearest whipping boys is Boston University Schoolgebouw of Management professor Mark T. Williams, also known derisively spil ‘Professor Bitcorn’ for his pessimistic outlook on cryptocurrency.
Williams’ own prediction wasgoed courageous te its brief scope, which wasgoed corded to bring either victory or derision swiftly: he predicted te December 2013 that the price of bitcoin could go spil low spil $Ten by the middle of the following year.
While his prognosis wasgoed arguably closer than most of the bullish statements, bitcoin also went nowhere near the dual digits and Williams’ quote went into the same reserve pile spil economist Paul Krugman’s 1998 dismissal of the fresh Internet economy’s significance.
Ter May, however, Williams told CoinDesk he still believed bitcoin wasgoed “grossly overpriced” and that his $Ten estimate would still come to pass at some point ter future.
Blackstone Group vice chairman Byron Wien has long bot fond of completing the year with predictions. While he succesnummer the mark spil a fiat currency soothsayer by telling the Japanese yen would fall to 120 vanaf US dollar, his crystal ball wasgoed less accurate on both bitcoin value and utility:
“During the year bitcoin’s acceptance collapses spil investors realize that it cannot be used spil collateral te financial transactions and its principal utility is for illegal business dealings where anonymity is significant.”
Having suffered the subsequent Mt Gox collapse and its tortuous aftermath, Chinese and Russian legal uncertainty, BitLicenses, tax rulings and price slumps, bitcoin users will now have their confidence tested again by predictions for 2015. Will they be accurate?
Price overestimates, however, weren’t limited to the heady days of December 2013. Spil recently spil July this year, some could still see a four-figure bitcoin value within months.
CoinTelegraph posted a movie te May that polled various bitcoin community figures on their opinions, with often hilarious results.
Founders Fund playmate Geoff Lewis, speaking at London’s CoinSummit event, predicted a price of $Two,000. He added he will be “indeed bullish when there is low volatility”, but estimated the value would soar to $Two,000 or more ter the next five months.
Bitcoin evangelist Roger Verafgelegen, well-known spil a price bull, said Lewis hadn’t gone far enough – tho’ te Veraf’s defense, he didn’t set a deadline and thus cannot be called out this time.
“I actually think $Two,000 is a pretty conservative estimate . wij don’t know for sure if it’s going to toebijten ter this year, but there’s no doubt ter my mind that bitcoin’s price is going to be thousands of dollars and, almost for sure, ems of thousands of dollars for one.”
Lightspeed India’s list
Lightspeed Venture Vrouwen’ India office (LVPI) made a bold list of predictions ter January that covered a broad spectrum of cryptocurrency issues beyond just price, and wasgoed collective widely around the bitcoin world.
While the list claimed bitcoin’s price wasgoed “likely to range inbetween $Four,000-5,000 by the end of 2014”, wij’ll set that aside for now and concentrate on its more interesting prophecies.
Lightspeed’s early prediction that $100m ter venture capital would flow into bitcoin startups wasgoed actually pretty conservative by comparison, given than $91.8 had already done so te 2013.
Ter reality, by the time of CoinDesk’s Q3 State of Bitcoin Report appeared te October, overheen $290m had poured into bitcoin companies – and that wasgoed before Blockchain announced its $30.5m investment, along with Blockstream’s $21m, PeerNova’s $8.6m and others.
LVPI predicted the ‘browser of bitcoin’ would arrive ter 2014, doing for digital currency what Netscape did for mass acceptance of the web ter the early 1990s, and that blockchain-based services beyond those relating to currency and payments would emerge.
While more user-friendly services like Circle have launched to make bitcoin more familiar to those raised te a fiat/online banking world, and exchanges like Xapo, ANX and CoinJar now permit users to use everyday debit cards to fund their account balances, obtaining that very first bitcoin remains a cumbersome process of setup and ID verification for most.
ChangeTip, armed with a fresh $Three.5m ter seed funding, is attempting to make those initial steps into bitcoin lighter – but spil yet, it’s difficult to say bitcoin has had its ‘Netscape uur’.
Non-currency (or ‘crypto Two.0’) projects did proceed to develop and emerge, including asset exchange platforms like Hyperledger, Counterparty, Melotic and NXT Asset Exchange. Fresh ‘clever contract’ projects like Ethereum and Ripple Labs’ Codius also appeared only ter the past year.
Another notable LVPI prediction went spil goes after:
“There will be less than five altcoins (out of the 50+ te existence) that will get through 2014”
This wasgoed orders of magnitude off, spil alts continued to proliferate this year. CoinMarketCap now lists overheen 500 cryptocurrencies and that number seems to rise and fall every week.
The prediction above ran tegenstoot to many others, which said there would be a growing rente te non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies. CoinDesk, too, predicted a “growing rente te altcoins”.
Developers seeking to trump bitcoin on technology, features, utility and economic prototype (spil well spil speculators looking for another chance at early adopter status) cranked out altcoins at such a rate that CoinDesk’s regular All Things Altstem feature could hardly keep up.
Consultant and author Tim Swanson wrote frequently that the number of digital currencies would grow, not shrink, telling ter a paper that greater opportunities of financial prize for developers working on fresh coins, plus a glut of mining gear no longer suitable for supporting the bitcoin network, would see the number of alts proceed to grow.
LVPI’s final prediction? “Satoshi Nakamoto will be Time’s Person of the Year 2014.” Well, perhaps spooked by Newsweek’s ill-fated venture into that territory, Time went instead with a safer – yet very deserved – collective award to those fighting ebola ter Westelijk Africa.
CoinDesk’s very first State of Bitcoin report for 2014 said “Adoption by more large consumer-facing companies (eg: Overstock and Zynga) will introduce bitcoin to a broader audience”.
Whether more merchant acceptance has led to an increase te actual bitcoin use is still debatable, spil decreased purchasing power led many bitcoin users to hold, rather than spend, their coins. There is little doubt, however, that bitcoin acceptance by marquee corporate names has kept digital currency te the headlines te 2014.
After a rapid conversion to bitcoin around the beginning of the year, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said ter an vraaggesprek with CNN that rival Amazon would be “compelled” to accept bitcoin soon.
Albeit Byrne didn’t specify a timeframe for this, Amazon responded to growing pressure from bitcoiners by quashing the idea altogether ter April, telling it has no plans to “engage bitcoin”.
While that might seem like bad news, few predicted that other corporate giants like Dell, DISH, Time Inc and Microsoft would be accepting bitcoin by the end of 2014, each providing the currency a much-needed legitimacy boost.
Plucky fresh world
That few predictions indeed foresaw what happened ter 2014 reminds us of one significant fact: nothing like bitcoin has everzwijn existed before.
Never te history have people had the technology to transfer wealth instantly, anywhere ter the world, without trusted third-party intermediaries or confinements based on logistics, cost, or regulation.
What the world will do with this fresh capability can only be approximated by defering to history and existing models. While wij salute anyone plucky enough to prophesize a bitcoin future that can be reviewed 12 months from now, it’s significant to not rely on them too strenuously when making major investment or career decisions.
Do you have any predictions for bitcoin te 2015? Let us know ter the comments below.
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