The world's best-known and most widely traded cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC) is widely known for its phenomenal growth. Now, as awareness of cryptocurrencies continues to spread, all eyes are on Bitcoin's price. So we asked our panel of 42 cryptocurrency experts what's in store for the coin.
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The majority of panelists (61%) say Bitcoin is currently undervalued and on average the panel expects Bitcoin to end 2021 at US$66,284 per BTC. This is 28% higher than the panel's end-of-2021 prediction back in December 2020, but 30% lower than the end-of-2021 prediction in April of this year.
Morpher CEO Martin Fröhler, the most bullish among the panel on BTC, gives an EOY prediction of US$160,000 per BTC and says increased adoption will propel prices forward.
"Adoption by corporations and institutional investors paired with a loose monetary policy and high asset inflation will propel Bitcoin to 6 figures before the end of this year," explains Fröhler. "The next halving cycle will see increased adoption of Bitcoin as a legal tender by developing countries, and until 2030, Bitcoin will have replaced gold as a global reserve asset."
CoinSmart CEO Justin Hartzman, who gives an EOY prediction of US$60,000, agrees that the next halving will push both prices and adoption harder.
"[By 2030,] Bitcoin supply will be dwindling down, and the supply crunch is going to kick up demand and push price and mainstream adoption," Hartzman says.
Wave Financial senior trader Justin Chuh gives a lower-than-average EOY prediction of US$56,000, but expresses confidence in Bitcoin as the "tried-and-true safe haven" of digital assets:
"As crypto assets continue to spring up, most will ultimately fail, and funds will eventually rotate back to Bitcoin as the tried-and-true safe haven and store of wealth. Investors in alt coins ultimately must have some faith in cryptocurrencies. But when their flavour of the day fails, hopefully they realise only some of the digital assets in existence will actually accomplish what they need."
Panellists like Thomson Reuters technologist and futurist Joseph Raczynski and Arcane Crypto analyst Vetle Lunde, who give EOY predictions of US$75,000 and US$120,000, respectively, attribute their predictions to the move toward the institutionalisation of Bitcoin.
"We're standing in the midst of the institutionalisation of Bitcoin," Lunde says. "More funds are joining the space, the first country has adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, and we have several exchange-listed companies now owning Bitcoin. I believe this trend will continue onwards."
However not everyone is as bullish. University of Canberra senior lecturer John Hawkins, who is among the most bearish and gives an EOY prediction of US$20,000, thinks that countries adopting Bitcoin will actually have a negative impact on its price:
"I'm assuming El Salvador adopting it as legal tender puts a floor for a while. But after the price has dropped a lot, they may remove the legal tender status."
Trade the Chain cofounder Ryan Gorman gives a prediction just below the panel average at US$60,000 per BTC by EOY. According to Gorman, prices will not likely surpass previous highs in the near future. However, he does think that "some of the more outlandish price predictions we've seen are entirely plausible on a long enough time horizon."
Bitcoin has roughly halved in value from its all-time high earlier this year, currently hovering around US$30,000. Yet despite recent news of Bitcoin entering a "death cross", whereby BTC's 50-day trend line fell below the 200-day moving average, the market is not moving toward a bear market, according to the majority (62%) of panellists. However, 17% say we are, and the remaining 21% are uncertain.
Quantum Economics foreign exchange and crypto market strategist Imran Yusof and Allnodes CEO and founder Konstantin Boyko-Romanovsky, who say that the death cross is nothing more than a mere indicator of current conditions and doesn't necessarily predict what's to come.
"I don't believe that BTC and the crypto market are entering a severe bearish run. The death cross is a predictor of bear markets in the traditional sense of the word, and a long-term predictor on top of it all, Boyko-Romanovsky says.
"Of course, the price of BTC will surely jump up and down, but it would be worth keeping in mind that BTC is not a stock, and the crypto market is a different type of market. And even in regular markets, the death cross is not a definite prediction for long-term bear market conditions."
Finder cofounder Fred Schebesta says that a death cross would typically be an indicator for a bearish market, but such isn't the case for Bitcoin:
"While we are currently bearish, announcements from large players could very quickly move the market out of this bear trend – and invalidate the concern of a death cross. It's like a game of chicken: Large institutions want to buy lower by letting the bear market continue. However, the longer they wait, the more they risk that another beats them to the chase."
Banz Capital CEO John Iadeluca expects the price of Bitcoin to fall further, explaining, "While I don't believe the death cross alone is indicative of a bear market, historically BTC prices have repeatedly continued to fall further than its first dip in weeks after death cross signals."
Bitbull Capital COO Sarah Bergstrand says the market is simply experiencing a retail flush, rather than heading toward a bear market.
"We don't see a complete lack of buying interest at the moment, nor do we see fundamentals becoming irrelevant, as they do in a bear market," explains Bergstrand. "For now, we believe the market has had a retail flush and a consolidation is underway."
Decred international operations lead Jonathan Zeppettini says that while 20% market drops are typically indicative of bearish conditions in traditional markets, the same cannot be said for crypto:
"Crypto is still so young and volatile that 20% moves can easily happen on a weekly basis. I'd really look more toward broad market psychology to gauge whether we're in a bear. A steep decline, as we've currently experienced, followed by a long period of sideways (or further down) action would cause sentiment to shift bearish for most."
For Imran Yusof and CoinFlip founder and chief advisor Daniel Polotsky, prices would need to drop further and stay there for a considerable time before we considered it a bear market.
"$34,000 is still well above the 2017 all-time high, and higher than all subsequent prices until last December (which was only 6 months ago!). The price has been lower than $34,000 per coin for a vast majority of Bitcoin's existence, so I would not consider this a bear market," Polotsky says.
Yusof furthers this idea, saying:
"There should be a sustained lack of buying interest. In the case of Bitcoin, the price should drop below US$25,000 and stay there – i.e., there should be a sustained interest to take profit above $25,000 and a lack of interest to buy. I don't think either Bitcoin scenarios will happen at the same time. Hence, I don't think we are in a bear market."
We asked the panel how low they expect BTC to fall in this cycle before we start to see prices increase. Our panel expects BTC to drop as low as US$25,112 per BTC, an average of forecasts from 23 panellists who answered this question.
Both University of Western Australia associate professor Lee Smales and MarketOrders COO Sukhi Jutla predict that the price of Bitcoin will drop to US$15,000 within the year.
Jutla attributes her prediction to recent negative news surrounding Bitcoin coupled with the UK FCA's ban on Finance, stating that this sends "a clear signal to investors that they don't feel this type of currency is safe … this sentiment will further create negative ripple effects on the downward movement of the price."
Smales goes so far as to say that we may potentially enter a long-term bear market brought on by threats of regulation and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs):
"I think we are potentially entering a long-term bear market for cryptocurrency prices. There is an increasing threat of regulation, and also central bank digital currencies are moving closer at a much faster pace than previously thought. Blockchains and cryptocurrencies that are able to provide other uses (e.g. Ethereum) will be the out-performers going forward."
Panellists UCL School of Management associate professor Jean-Philippe Vergne and Trade the Chain research analyst Nicholas Mancini predict that Bitcoin will drop to as low as US$28,584 and US$30,000, respectively, but state that the miner exodus from China could provide greener pastures for the coin.
Mancini put it this way:
"Negative news around China's ban spooked the market and forced institutional buyers back into their holes. We are now seeing hash rate bottom, and Chinese miner transfers slow down to early 2020 levels.
This in combination with sentiment finding a bottom, along with price, means that Bitcoin should be heading to greener pastures now that we have news of big buyers looking at crypto again. We are bullish from the low of $28,584."
While there may be some medium term price depreciation, the panel predicts that by December 2025, the price of BTC will go up to US$318,417. This is 61% higher than the panel's end-of-2025 prediction in December 2020, but 12% lower than that in April.
Chuh sees the price of Bitcoin on an upward trend, predicting BTC will end 2025 at US$210,000 and 2030 at US$400,000, with halving events and inflation taking prices upward.
"Halving events and inflation along the way to 2025 and 2030 will likely trigger the larger upside moves," Chuh says. "Prices are likely to be continuously driven by supply and demand, less availability for a wider group of users."
Panelists predict that by December 2030, the price of Bitcoin will go up to a whopping US$4,287,591 per BTC. However, the average is skewed by outliers – when we look at the median price prediction, the 2030 price forecast comes down to US$470,000.
ZebPay Co-CEO, Avinash Shekhar says higher rates of cryptocurrency adoption will put upward pressure on Bitcoin's price.
"Presently, the overall acceptance of Bitcoin contributes to a small percent of the world population. The growing acceptance will impact the popularity and the utility of bitcoin. It'll be unfair to price bitcoin against fiat when that happens and hence, bitcoin will have its own intrinsic value in the future."
54% of the panel thinks hyperbitcoinisation - the moment that Bitcoin overtakes global finance - will happen by 2050. 29% think it will happen as soon as 2035 and an additional 20% by 2040. Meanwhile, one panellist (2%) thinks it will happen but on a much longer timeline and 44% of panelists don't expect hyperbitcoinisation to ever occur.
With El Salvador becoming the first country to use Bitcoin as legal tender and Venezuelans using it as a means of beating hyperinflation, we asked the panel about the use of Bitcoin in developing countries specifically.
55% of panellists think bitcoin will become the currency of choice in developing nations – a third of panellists (33%) say it could happen within the next 10 years, while another 21% say it will, but not for at least 10 years.
Meanwhile 33% say it will never happen, and the remaining 12% say they're unsure.
Coinmama CEO Sagi Bakshi sees a dominance of Bitcoin happening in the near future.
"All eyes on El Salvador now – some mocking, some crossing fingers," Bakshi says. "I am sure that their use case will be a great example of innovation and fast penetration. Financial services will be built on top of a public ledger, and the naysayers will be surprised."
Amber CEO Aleks Svetski agrees that it could become a trend we see take effect in the near future.
"The momentum will only pick up. But the beauty is also that these broken nations will transform faster than major nations as Bitcoin undermines the nation state model," Svetski explains.
CryptoCompare director James Harris shares a similar sentiment.
"We think this is a trend that could find real momentum, quickly," he says.
University College Dublin lecturer Paul J. Ennis says he can see it happening, but it's more likely to happen further down the line.
"I can envision a world where Bitcoin is used by populist governments to challenge and undermine the dominant economic forces in our world, but more as a bargaining tool than because they are true believers," he says.
However a major barrier to Bitcoin adoption is environmental concerns as the industry's expanding carbon footprint becomes harder to ignore. Nearly everyone on the panel (93%) says environmental concerns will have an adverse impact on Bitcoin price, however just how significant this will be is contested.
Nearly one in three (31%) say Bitcoin's energy intensive proof-of-work model will have either a significant or very significant impact on prices. Close to a third (31%) say it will have a moderate impact and a further 31% a marginal impact.
However when asked if Bitcoin should move to a more environmentally friendly Proof-of-Stake model, the majority (55%) said no. Just under a quarter (24%) said yes and 21% said they were unsure.
Most panellists said Bitcoin couldn't even move to Proof-of-Stake if it wanted to. 66% say the Proof-of-Work model is a necessary evil, compared to the 34% who say Bitcoin could move to Proof-of-Work.
It's the time to buy Bitcoin, say just over half the panel (55%), while 38% say hodl and just 7% say sell. This weighting is similar to that of our April report, when 49% said it was the time to buy, 39% said hodl and 12% said sell.
PhD candidate at University of Saskatchewan Ajay Shrestha says it's the time to buy. While Shrestha thinks BTC will be worth just US$50,000 by the end of the year, he also thinks BTC will increase to US$300,000 by the end of 2030.
Senior lecturer at Brighton Business School Paul Levy is more tempered in his forecasts and says it's time to hodl for now. He thinks BTC will increase over the next 10 years, though not substantially from its recent all-time highs.
"There will be a steady but not dramatic increase. Much depends on the stability of the wider global economy and the development of alternative, more regulated cryptocurrencies," Levy explains.
Meanwhile, associate professor at University of New South Wales Elvira Sojli thinks it's the time to sell, predicting BTC to be worth just a fraction of its current value by the end of 2030, with a forecast of US$100.
What could drive Bitcoin’s growth?
- Limited supply. The total supply of Bitcoin is limited to 21 million, and there are around 18 million BTC already circulation. This is an important factor to consider when determining the supply/demand equation and the influence it could have on price.
- Prestige and credibility. Mention the word “cryptocurrency” and the first word that comes to many minds will be Bitcoin. Launched in 2009, Bitcoin has been around a long time (in crypto terms) and is the most widely recognised digital currency.
- Media hype. If Bitcoin goes on another price surge like it did in 2017, expect it to be extensively covered in the media. Positive media coverage can potentially lead to increased demand for a particular currency.
- Ease of access. As the most popular cryptocurrency (in trading volume) in the world, Bitcoin can be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges all over the world. This makes it easy to access and also increases its credibility.
- Increasing acceptance. If the number of businesses and service providers that accept Bitcoin as payment increases, this could increase demand for the currency. Increased interest from institutional investors, as hedge funds and other financial services providers start offering Bitcoin trading options, could also drive up demand.
- Upcoming tech developments. There is a range of upcoming tech upgrades and proposals designed to overcome Bitcoin’s scalability issues. For example, the introduction of SegWit, designed to improve transaction times and lower fees, and the rollout of the Lightning Network, a relay network that aims to further reduce fees and speed up transaction times. If successful, this could vastly improve Bitcoin’s functionality.
What could hold Bitcoin back?
- Scalability problems. Bitcoin has been criticised for its slow transaction times and high transaction fees, and there are concerns over whether Bitcoin will be competitive even with the Lightning Network.
- Mining concerns. As Bitcoin mining becomes increasingly difficult and expensive, this could narrow the field of miners able to compete and centralise the process.
- Market competition. The cryptocurrency market is becoming increasingly crowded as a wide variety of altcoins compete for market share. While many of those coins aren’t necessarily direct competitors for Bitcoin, they could still detract from Bitcoin’s overall market dominance.
- Threat of increased regulation. Cryptocurrency is still in its infancy and there are regular media reports of governments around the world introducing tighter legislation targeting digital currencies. These announcements can have an impact on the price of Bitcoin – for example, Bitcoin’s value dropped almost 20% in January 2018 amidst rumours of a Chinese government crackdown on cryptocurrencies.
- Negative news. While positive media stories can potentially drive values up, negative media stories, such as those reporting Bitcoin bubbles, can also have an effect on prices.
- Lack of cryptocurrency adoption. Cryptocurrencies are yet to achieve widespread adoption. While there are plenty of projects working on bringing cryptos to the mainstream, a lack of acceptance of digital currencies across the board could potentially affect values.
- Community disagreements. The governance of Bitcoin can also influence its price. For example, disagreements about changes or upgrades to Bitcoin’s underlying technology can cause infighting, potentially leading to hard forks like the one that created Bitcoin Cash (BCH) in August 2017.
|Ben Ritchie, Managing Director, Digital Capital Management||Sagi Bakshi, CEO, Coinmama||Kate Baucherel, Digital Strategist, Galia Digital||Sarah Bergstrand, COO, BitBull Capital|
|Konstantin Boyko-Romanovsky, CEO & Founder, Allnodes||Jeremy Cheah, Associate Professor of Cryptofinance and Digital Investment, Nottingham Trent University||Justin Chuh, Senior Trader, Wave Financial||Paul J. Ennis, Lecturer/Assistant Professor, University College Dublin|
|Pedro Febrero, Head of Blockchain, RealFevr||Josh Fraser, Founder, Origin Protocol||Martin Fröhler, CEO, Morpher||Martin Gaspar, Research Analyst, CrossTower|
|Ryan Gorman, Co-founder, Trade The Chain||James Harris, Director, CryptoCompare||Justin Hartzman, CEO, CoinSmart||John Hawkins, Senior lecturer, University of Canberra|
|Julian Hosp, CEO, Cake DeFi||John Iadeluca, CEO, Banz Capital||Sukhi Jutla, COO, MarketOrders||David Klinger, Founder, Coteries Corporation|
|Paul Levy, Senior Lecturer, Brighton Business School||Vetle Lunde, Analyst, Arcane Crypto||Nicholas Mancini, Research Analyst, Trade The Chain||Desmond Marshall, MD, Rouge International & Rouge Ventures|
|Alex Mashinsky, CEO, Celsius Network||Bobby Ong, Co-founder, CoinGecko||Daniel Polotsky, Founder/Chief Advisor, CoinFlip||Forrest Przybysz, Senior Cryptocurrency Investment Analyst, Token Metrics|
|Joseph Raczynski, Technologist & Futurist, Thomson Reuters||Dr Iwa Salami, Senior Lecturer in FinTech Regulation, University of East London||Lee Smales, Associate Professor, University of Western Australia||Fred Schebesta, co-founder, Finder|
|Xavier Segura, General Partner, Morgan Creek Digital||Avinash Shekhar, Co-CEO, ZebPay||Matthew Shillito, Lecturer in Law, University of Liverpool||Ajay Shrestha, PhD Candidate, University of Saskatchewan|
|Lee Smales, Associate Professor of Finance, University of Western Australia||Elvira Sojli, Associate Professor, University of New South Wales||Aleks Svetski, CEO, Amber||Simon Trimborn, Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong|
|Jean-Philippe Vergne, Associate Professor, UCL School of Management||Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO, Unocoin Technologies Private Limited||Imran Yusof, FX/Crypto Market Strategist, Quantum Economics||Jonathan Zeppettini, International Operations Lead, Decred|
What’s coming up in Bitcoin’s roadmap
Bitcoin is an open-source project and, as such, doesn’t have an official roadmap. However, there are a few key challenges and developments coming up for Bitcoin in the future.
One of the best-known is the Lightning Network. Currently in the testing stage, the Lightning Network is designed to solve Bitcoin’s problems of slow transaction speeds and high fees. A payment network layered on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, Lightning Network could potentially have a big influence on the usability of Bitcoin, but the exact effects it will have remain to be seen.
The cryptocurrency sphere is crowded and becoming increasingly competitive all the time. If you’re thinking of buying Bitcoin, it’s important to be aware of the influences (both positive and negative) that the actions of competitors could have on the price of Bitcoin. Some of the main competitors to consider include:
- Ethereum (ETH). Launched in 2014, Ethereum is a decentralised platform where developers can build and deploy applications. Ether is used to pay transaction fees and services, and at the time of writing (26/02/2018) was the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation.
- Ripple (XRP). Ripple offers both a payment network (RippleNet) and a cryptocurrency (XRP), and it aims to allow banks and payment providers to send fast and secure transactions around the world. It’s one of the top five cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalisation, and you can find out more about how it stacks up in our Bitcoin vs Ripple comparison.
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Created in August 2017 following a hard fork of Bitcoin, BCH is designed to offer faster and cheaper transactions than BTC. It has since cemented its place as one of the top 10 currencies by market capitalisation.
- Dash (DASH). Built with a focus on fast and anonymous transactions, Dash is widely traded on a variety of cryptocurrency exchanges.
- Litecoin (LTC). Commonly referred to as “the silver to Bitcoin’s gold”, Litecoin was founded in 2011 and designed to provide faster transactions than Bitcoin. It’s also one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation.
If you’re considering buying Bitcoin (BTC), the most important points to remember are to do your research and to familiarise yourself with all the risks involved. Though this digital currency has delivered substantial returns to its early adopters, that’s no guarantee of future growth.
If cryptocurrencies can continue their push into the mainstream and achieve widespread acceptance, not only among consumers but also from governments around the world, this could mean good things for Bitcoin. And if the scalability issues facing the Bitcoin blockchain can be successfully overcome, there seems to be potential for future growth.
However, don’t forget that the cryptocurrency sphere is increasingly crowded, and Bitcoin is sure to face plenty of threats to its title as the world’s number-one cryptocurrency from a host of well-organised and professionally backed competitors. Watch this space to see how it all unfolds.
Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly
volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of
future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information.
You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory
requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may
have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.