In 2009, Bitcoin (BTC) already existed but was practically worthless, so no economic predictions were made. The first purchase of goods using BTC happened on May 18, 2010, when Laszlo Khanich, a programmer from Florida, exchanged 10,000 BTC for two pizzas. In those days, BTC could be bought on Bitcoin Market, the first crypto stock exchange, for $0,0025, so the whole pizza cost $25.
In 2011, the cryptocurrency market was still in its infancy. In January of that year, the price of BTC was less than $1 on the Mt. Gox exchange, but it had risen to almost $10 by early June. During this period, the first Bitcoin hard variants took place, the most famous of which was Litecoin (LTC).
In the fall of 2012, the Bitcoin Foundation emerged and the cryptocurrency became increasingly well-known, but no prominent analyst made any predictions about its future. The situation changed in 2013 – the year during which the price of BTC rose from $20 to $940, and at its peak, the value of BTC was over $1200. That’s when Bitcoin caught the attention of economists and journalists.
The earliest predictions of Bitcoin’s future
In a New York Times article dated November 27, 2013, Edward Hadas, economics editor of Reuters Breakingviews, was critical about the Bitcoin network’s prospects. He thought that Bitcoin developers were trying to privatize money and were bound to fail. According to Hadas, “Money that is not issued by governments is always doomed to failure.”
Despite his negative verdict, Hadas also expressed thoughts that are relevant today. He stated that BTC has no specific value, its legal status is unclear, and the market value of the cryptocurrency depends entirely on the faith of users. In addition, “If Bitcoin ever really started to take off, governments would either ban it or take over the system.”
An alternative opinion was expressed by Radoslav Albrecht, investor and founder of Bitbond. In an article for Coindesk on October 29, 2013, he predicted a BTC price of $1820 by 2020. The forecast was not unsubstantiated – Radoslav compared the Bitcoin network to PayPal on key positions and performed a mathematical analysis of the available data. Radoslav estimated the potential market volume at about $295 billion. The businessman also highlighted the key uses for BTC:
- online payments
- point-of-sale payments
Time has proven that the German businessman was essentially correct, even modest, in his assessment of Bitcoin’s prospects. Cameron Winklevoss made the boldest predictions about Bitcoin’s future in 2013. In his Reddit thread on December 15, 2013, he held an AMA session in which he predicted a price of $40,000 per BTC for the foreseeable future. He backed up his prediction with action – together with his brother, he invested $11 million in Bitcoin in 2013 (according to other reports, this was as much as $36 million), buying about 1% of the cryptocurrency’s volume at $120 per coin. In 2017, the Winklevoss brothers became the first publicly recognized crypto billionaires.