Just under a third of panellists (30%) say BTC is limited in ways that ETH is not. However, the majority of panellists say it's not limited and 12% don't think BTC is a store of value at all.
Finder Cryptocurrency Predictions Report
Ethereum is predicted to end the year at $4,512, according to 35 experts on Finder's cryptocurrency panel.
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BTC has sustained a continued bull run this year, nearly doubling in value in the space of just a few months. But what about other digital currencies. Are they set to experience the same kind of growth? And is Ethereum set to outshine Bitcoin? We asked 35 fintech leaders and specialists for their opinions.
Meet our panel
|Ben Ritchie, Managing Director, Digital Capital Management||Samantha Yap, Founder and CEO, YAP Global||Tony Guoga, CEO, Cypherpunk Holdings Inc.||Vishal Shah, CEO, Alpha5|
|Craig Cobb, Founder, Trader Cobb||Martin Fröhler, CEO, Morpher||Veronica Mihai, Investor||Sagi Bakshi, CEO, Coinmama|
|Simon Trimborn, Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong||Joseph Raczynski, Technologist and Futurist, Thomson Reuters||Simon Peters, Market Analyst and Senior Account Manager, eToro||Dr Paul J. Ennis, Lecturer and Assistant Professor, University College Dublin|
|Igor Runets, CEO, BitRiver||Sarah Bergstrand, COO, BitBull Capital||Bilal Hammoud, CEO, NDAX||Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO, Unocoin|
|Lennard Neo, Head of Research, Stack Funds||Joel Kruger, Cryptocurrency Strategist, LMAX Group||Mohit Singh Sorout, Co-Founder, Bitazu Capital||Desmond Marshall, Managing Director, Rouge International|
|David Klinger, Co-Founder, Spring Capital||Iwa Salami, Senior Lecturer, University of East London||Elvira Sojli, Associate Professor, UNSW||Sorcha Mulligan, Founder, SMEchain|
|Sukhi Jutla, COO, MarketOrders||David Waslen, CEO, Wilder World||Vladislav Ginzburg, CEO, Blockparty||Julian Hosp, CEO and Director, Cake Pte Ltd|
|Jeremy Cheah, Associate Professor, Nottingham Trent University||John Hawkins, Senior Lecturer, University of Canberra||Lee Smales, Associate Professor, University of Western Australia||Josh Fraser, Cofounder, Origin Protocol|
|Nicolas Van Hoorde, CEO, Delta.app||Jason Lau, COO, OKCoin||Lex Sokolin, Head Economist, ConsenSys|
Bitcoin price predictions
Bitcoin is set to peak at US$107,484 in 2021 before capping off the year at $94,967 per BTC, according to the panel average on Finder's Bitcoin price predictions report. This is 82.8% higher than the panel's end-of-2021 prediction from December 2020 of $51,951.
With that, nearly half (49%) of Finder's panel said now is the time to buy BTC, while 39% say it's best to hold. Finder's panel expects BTC to jump to an average of $360,179 per BTC by 2025, so it's no surprise that only 12% say it's time to sell.
Ethereum price predictions
Panellists predict that the price of Ethereum will hit $4,512 on average by the end of the year. That's a 234% increase from December's end-of-year prediction of $1,351.
Founder and CEO at YAP Global Samantha Yap gave one of the highest forecasts for the end of 2021 at $10,000, noting that once BTC is mass adopted, ETH will be next on people's list.
Lecturer and Assistant Professor at the University College of Dublin Dr Paul Ennis gave the same forecast for 2021 ($10,000), arguing Ethereum is highly undervalued and has far more uses than Bitcoin.
Cryptocurrency strategist at LMAX Group Joel Kruger gave a more moderate EOY forecast of $2,000 but he's no less convinced of Ethereum's potential, viewing the currency as the major hub of innovation on the blockchain.
"As crypto adoption continues, most of that innovation will therefore be hosted on Ethereum, which we expect will translate into a much higher valuation," he added.
By 2025, the panel expects Ethereum to hit $19,842 on average.
BitBull Capital COO Sarah Bergstrand gave the highest forecast for the end of 2025 at $100,000.
"We are likely to see major upgrades to the Ethereum network this year, and those can be expected to push the price higher," she explained.
On the other hand, UNSW associate professor Elvira Sojli gave one of the most bearish forecasts, predicting ETH will end 2025 at just $1,850.
Buy, sell or hold Ethereum?
The majority of panellists (59%) say now is the time to buy Ethereum, while 28% say "hodl" and 13% say it's time to sell.
Many of those who are bullish on Ethereum cite its many use cases and strong vision.
Associate professor at Nottingham Trent University Jeremy Cheah, who says it's time to buy, thinks ETH will only grow in popularity over time.
"As decentralised finance keep[s] growing, with smart contracts being more widely developed and adopted, the demand for ETH will increase."
Trader Cobb founder Craig Cobb also thinks it's time to buy.
"... it's a strong trend, has the most use case within crypto with most new listings using ERC20 and the rise of NFT's," he says.
Thomson Reuters technologist and futurist Joseph Raczynski thinks it's time to buy, noting that while Bitcoin is a household name, it doesn't have the same kind of potential as Ethereum:
"While Bitcoin is important and a household name, it's generally one dimensional. Ethereum is a platform and ecosystem that is potentially transformative for all industries. It has an immense network effect, in the ability for people to build ideas into business and systems. Its impact is really only up to our human, soon to be AI, imaginations."
Meanwhile, Alpha5 CEO Vishal Shah thinks it's time to hodl. He agrees with the majority that ETH will continue to perform, but notes that it doesn't have the same scarcity benefits as BTC:
"... Further, ETH is in a race against other protocols to overhaul its usability profile. There are faster, cheaper chains that are gaining traction and will likely rival ETH in the long run."
While the majority of the panel thinks it's either time to buy or hodl, just four panellists, including senior lecturer at the University of Canberra Dr John Hawkins, say it's time to sell. He concedes that Ethereum has more use cases than Bitcoin, but that ultimately, it will likely follow Bitcoin's suit should prices fall.
How does Ethereum stack up against BTC?
Overall, the panel's average end-of-2021 price forecast for Ethereum increased by 233% since the December report. That's a significantly bigger increase compared to their BTC forecast, which grew by just 83% from December. So what's driving the interest in Ethereum, and is ETH set to outshine BTC long term?
To find out, we asked the panel a series of questions related to how ETH competes against BTC on several fronts. Here's what they had to say:
The panel was split almost 50/50 on which currency will be the most widely transacted by the end of the year. Ethereum takes a slight lead at 51%, while 49% say that Bitcoin will be the most transacted coin.
The majority of panellists (70%) say that DeFi and NFTs have given ETH a stronger use case than BTC.
ETH could be just as heavily adopted by institutional investors as BTC is currently, with the majority of panellists (77%) expecting institutional investors to invest in the currency.
Potential threats to Ethereum
While the majority of panellists are bullish on Ethereum and many suggest it actually outshines BTC in a number of ways, it's not risk-free. We asked the panel about two potential threats that could present a risk to the currency.
Ultimately, one of the greatest threats to the value of Ethereum might lie in who owns the coin, with recent data suggesting that large ETH investors own nearly 70% of total supply. This is a major threat, according to our panel, with 24% saying it's a high risk, 55% saying it's a moderate risk and 18% saying it's a low risk. Just 3% say this trend presents no risk to the currency.
Other smart contract blockchains could also pose a threat, with the majority of panellists (62%) saying there's some room for Ethereum to lose its users to these types of blockchains. However, 32% say there's not really room for this to occur and that other chains can succeed while being complementary to Ethereum.
Panel's top coin picks to hold in the short and long term
Best coins to hold in the short term
In terms of other alt-coins on the market, we also asked our panellists which 3 coins out of the top 20 by market cap are the best to buy over the short term. Binance Coin (BNB), Cardano (ADA), and Polkadot (DOT) surfaced as the top picks for this criteria, with around one third of panellists putting these coins in their top 3 to buy.
Other common picks frequently cited by the panel include Uniswap (UNI), XRP (XRP) and Chainlink (LINK). Meanwhile, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Klaytn (KLAY) are the least popular picks for a short term purchase.
Best coins to hold in the long term
Over the long term, Polkadot (DOT), UniSwap (UNI), and Solana (SOL) surfaced among the most popular picks to buy. Interestingly, while no panellist thinks that Bitcoin Cash is one of the best picks for a short term purchase, 7% say it's one of their favourite picks for a long term buy.
Regulatory changes and potential crypto bans
Government regulation in India
India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, has signalled that it may potentially look to ban cryptocurrency in the country. When asked why they think the Indian government is concerned about crypto, nearly half (45.16%) of panellists say that it's because crypto has the potential to negatively impact the Indian rupee.
The next most common reason cited was the threat of money laundering and terror (41.94%), followed by crypto making macroeconomics harder for the RBI to manage (29.03%).
Blockparty CEO Vladislav Ginzburg is part of those who cited macroeconomics becoming harder for the RBI. Additionally, he said that the large population of unbanked Indians getting their hands on crypto could factor into this:
"Cryptocurrency has the potential to tap users who are unbanked – of which there are many in India. A large population using an alternative economy may be problematic."
Coinmama CEO Sagi Bakshi believes that every government should be worried about crypto, given its potential to overtake local currencies, but says that all governments should learn to deal with crypto.
"So every government should learn how to deal with it. Some will panic, try to ban it and realise it is a stupid move. Some will regulate the hell out of it, just to realise it was a stupid move. Bitcoin will eventually win by being Bitcoin, it is a peaceful revolution," Bakshi said.
When asked if the RBI's concerns are warranted, half (45.16%) of the panellists who responded to the question believe that they are, while nearly a third (32.26%) say they're not, and the remaining 22.58% are uncertain.
University of East London senior lecturer Iwa Salami says the Indian government's concerns are warranted, but that doesn't mean she agrees that banning digital currencies is the right move.
"...banning cryptocurrencies is not the right approach to regulation, as they are increasingly facilitating financial inclusion across jurisdictions with huge percentages of the financially excluded, and people can still transact in the space through other means if regulation becomes too stringent," Salami said.
"The best approach is to strike the right regulatory balance, not killing the industry, but ensuring that investor protection, financial stability, market integrity and the prevention of financial crime still remain at the heart of the regulatory rationale."
The SMEChain founder Sorcha Mulligan, on the other hand, disagrees and thinks that any government's decision to ban crypto would be questionable.
"It is questionable why a government would opt for a ban or 'close to a ban' for any opportunity – crypto or not – that has the capacity to lift its poorest demographic out of severe poverty in the way that BTC is being applied from a financial inclusion perspective. It's suppressive," she said.
"When individuals, corporations and financial institutions are testing the water, governments should enable and govern rather than applying the strict regulations we saw over the past decade before the asset class proved its value and purpose."
Potential effects of a crypto ban
India isn't the only country whose government expressed concern over digital currencies. We asked our panel what they think would happen if governments started banning crypto, and the results are interesting.
Crypto bans won't necessarily stop people from getting their hands on crypto, according to Finder's panel. Nearly two-thirds (62.50%) of the panellists say that a crypto ban would inevitably lead to residents holding their crypto illegally, while half (50%) say that residents will send their digital currencies overseas to countries where they're still accepted.
Some panellists predict other things may happen.
Spring Capital co-founder David Klinger says that people would start holding fiat cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, City University of Hong Kong assistant professor Simon Trimborn thinks it could just be as simple as private cryptocurrencies becoming unimportant in those countries.
The rise of NFTs
We've recently seen a surge in media coverage around NFTs, with some major sales flooding the news cycle. Overnight, it seems they've entered mainstream awareness. So what's behind the sudden popularity?
New crypto millionaires are behind the surge, according to the majority of panellists (74%), who say they've driven NFTs into the limelight and generated headlines by paying enormous sums for certain NFTs. This has then triggered a gold rush as others want to cash in. The emergence of NFTs such as NBA Topshops is another popular choice (53%), as they've made NFTs more accessible to a wider audience.
The pandemic is also a clear driver, according to around half the panel, with more people engaging with the arts digitally and pandemic stimulus flooding the economy.
Are NFTs just a fad?
73% of panellists say NFTs are here to stay, and 76% say they will become part of mainstream culture. However, roughly a quarter of panellists think that NFTs are simply a fad and won't stick around forever.
OKCoin COO Jason Lau says that despite some cooling, NFTs are skyrocketing. He puts it down to four key reasons:
"(1) Massive money printing by the government has driven investors to look towards scarce, hard assets.
"(2) Cryptocurrency markets have boomed in the past year (BTC and ETH are up 10x+ over the past year) and a lot of crypto investors with newfound wealth are looking for ways to spend it.
"(3) Digital adoption is at all-time highs and younger generations have no problem with the concept of scare digital goods that can be owned (look at Roblox).
"(4) Content creators being empowered and owning their own content has become a powerful force, given recent de-platforming actions by all major tech platforms."
eToro market analyst and senior account manager Simon Peters thinks NFTs are here to stay and will eventually become mainstream, but also says it's best to exercise caution in choosing which NFTs to invest in.
"Currently, they're being created for pretty much anything, which is why, as a retail investor myself, I'm somewhat cautious about what NFTs I should consider investing in that will have the best chance of a higher value in the future. Once the NFT market grows and matures, my opinion may change," he said.
Cake Pte Ltd CEO and director Julian Hosp says that NFTs may just be a bubble in the short term but will become very strong long term.
Rouge International managing director Desmond Marshall says that the longevity of NFTs depends on the adoption rate:
"It's still very niche and first movers may benefit, but the reported sums will be exaggerated and people will lose money in the end, which will sick the popularity, and other new coins will pop up replacing this function."
So is it a good time to buy NFTs?
Despite the majority believing that they're here to stay, most panellists don't think it's the right time for retail investors to buy NFTs.
Samantha Yap thinks they're here to stay, but for the moment, the market looks "quite bubbly".
"People are paying ridiculous prices for NFTs to make a statement, and only this can happen in a bull market," she added.
Morpher CEO Martin Fröhler thinks there's too much hype around them at the moment:
"Real quality and demand will come in the second or third NFT wave."
Investor Veronica Mihai warned that those who invest need to understand the art market thoroughly:
"Those looking to invest in NFTs have to understand art, value it accordingly and not invest due to hype and short term speculation, as it will just end up creating an illiquid market."
Delta.app CEO Nicolas Van Hoorde says that the general idea of buying NFTs may be good, but he doesn't believe now is the time to buy them:
"Buying NFTs in general seems like a good idea if you're interested in the actual digital object behind it. But buying right now as an investment vehicle, I would advise against due to the hyper-inflated prices right now."
Meanwhile, MarketOrders COO Suki Jutla is part of the minority that think it's a good time for retail investors to buy.
"NFTs are a scalable and sensible use of blockchain tech that has real utility," she said.
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