It’s become the preferred rallying cry of bitcoin’s faithful. When prices were rising throughout the second half of 2013, crypto-anarchists and speculators were having the slogan printed on t-shirts and coffee mugs, while creating and sharing an endless stream of digital memes across message boards and forums. There were predictions of $ 10,000 and $ 100,000 bitcoin prices within the decade.
With prices falling, slowly but steadily throughout 2014 (and, now, into 2015) the cheers were less confident, but no less exuberant. With each exclamation, bitcoin believers seemed to be saying, buy now while prices are artificially low because this wont last forever. Doubling down, they’d say, was the only smart move.
So the question is, what is sentiment like today with prices ($ 236) being at their most depressed levels in 15 months?
Asset management startup Hedgeable is attempting to answer that with a public survey asking people to estimate the one-year, two-year, and three-year bitcoin price. The company has divided the respondents into five categories: Bitcoin Enthusiast, Investor, Trader, Entrepreneur, and Media. The company writes:
Our bitcoin estimator allows the wisdom of the crowds to decide what the price of bitcoin will be over the next 1, 2, and 3 years. As part of Hedgeable’s mission to provide sophisticated investing solutions to all investors, we are committed to offering the most robust bitcoin research and investing solutions.
With an (admittedly limited) total of 155 votes cast, the consensus prices returned by the survey are that bitcoin will climb back to a price of $ 450 in one year, $ 800 in two years, and $ 1,852 in three years.
To the moon!
It’s worth mentioning that the survey has seen the most respondents from the enthusiast category, at 72 votes, followed by entrepreneurs at 50, traders at 12, media at 12, and investors at 9
Perhaps it’s not surprising, given the inherent biases, that enthusiasts have already submitted two votes for a price of “$ 10,000+” over a one year time horizon, four votes for two years, and seven votes for three years among the enthusiast category. Entrepreneurs have been slightly more conservative, on average, with just two predicting that prices would reach five-figures within three years, and a handful more predicting that it would reach $ 3,000 to $ 5,000 over that same period. Only one trader and one member of the media have bet on a price of $ 10,000 or more, both predicting it would take three years to achieve. No investors have been this bullish, with the most aggressive predictions being $ 2,000 in two years and $ 3,000 in three years.
While the prevailing sentiment seems to be positive, there were some predicting doomsday scenarios. For example, one enthusiast predicts a price of less than $ 50 within three years. Two others predicted it would be less than $ 200. Two entrepreneurs predict sub-$ 50 prices, one within two years and the other within three years. Investors are holding to a much narrower band with their predictions, with each believing that bitcoin would remain above $ 300 on the low-end, over the next three years. Similarly, the most bearish prediction from traders is a price range of $ 100 to $ 150 in one year, and $ 200 to $ 250 in two years.
If anything this data seems to indicate that professional investors and traders are more moderate in their predictions, indicating that bitcoin prices will neither rise nor fall to extreme levels in coming years. Entrepreneurs and enthusiasts, who some might describe as unsophisticated, appear to be far more emotional with their predictions.
Speaking to the significance of assembling this sort of data, Hedgeable CEO Mike Kane tells me via email:
It is important because there is no place to get sentiment about bitcoin. Because it’s such a nascent space, everyone is looking for opinions from experts on what the price will be, yet nobody has ever aggregated that data. We will be putting out periodic studies with analysis on this data, and as we get more data we will be able to track how sentiment is changing from different stakeholders, geographies, etc. This will help investors, entrepreneurs, and VCs, as they judge the potential for bitcoin. Bitcoin is still a very small community, and the data is quite fragmented and not easy to consume for the average person.
Avid bitcoin venture investor Marc Andreessen* offered perhaps the most articulate assessment of the state of bitcoin prices beginning the year in one of his infamous tweetstorms. He noted, among other things, that price volatility was part of the system design and necessary for its early growth. Moreover, Andreessen argued that many of the most interesting applications for bitcoin and its underlying blockchain are price and volatility independent:
23/The price of BTC has very little to do with the level of creativity of thinking that’s going into new Bitcoin apps, or their usefulness.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) January 5, 2015
As we have seen over the last 18 months, bitcoin prices can move wildly both on the back of significant industry news and macroeconomic factors and when driven purely by emotions market momentum. The reality is that none of the above respondents knows where bitcoin is headed. But as has come to be expected, the consensus in the community at large seems to be that bitcoin prices will rise over time.
Have you bought your digital treasure?
Submit your vote and see the real-tim Hedgeable bitcoin price estimates below:
(*Disclosure: Marc Andreessen is an investor in Pando.)
[Image via Sofamax]