In a recent episode of her Unchained podcast, Laura Shin interviewed Dan Morehead and Joey Krug of Pantera Capital, which is a cryptocurrency and blockchain-focused investment fund that was founded in 2013.
During the interview, Morehead commented on the potential future trajectory of the bitcoin price in response to a question related to where the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry is today in its overall life cycle. In his reply, Morehead pointed to a potential price move to $356,000 within three years based on past trends of Bitcoin’s price movements on a logarithmic scale.
Morehead’s math also indicated that a $42,000 bitcoin price by the end of 2019 is in the cards. It should be noted that crypto prime dealer SFOX also recently released a research note that could indicate a bullish move for Bitcoin during the holiday season later this year. Additionally, digital asset research firm Delphi digital recently released a report that showed how retail investor enthusiasm around Bitcoin has returned in 2019.
Bitcoin’s Neverending Hype Cycles
When asked about the current stage of development for the cryptocurrency space as a whole, Morehead first pointed to the Gartner Hype Cycle, which is a method of interpreting the wide-ranging levels of hype that can occur around new technologies.
“A small kernel of something very important gets people to be crazed about [Bitcoin] and then the trough of disillusionment [occurs]. And we’ve already gone through two of those cycles in the six years that we’ve been investing in it,” said Morehead.
Morehead added that it’s important to remember that, in his view, Bitcoin and the technologies around it are a project that will take two decades to unfold, and we’re only ten years into it at this point.
“We still have another solid ten years to go before this is fully fleshed out,” said Morehead.
Although he doesn’t believe the Bitcoin price is a great proxy for the development of the blockchain technology space as a whole, Morehead did point out that the price always tends to be going up when one zooms out more than a year.
“If you ever go back and zoom out your lens more than a year, Bitcoin as a proxy for the industry is always going up,” said Morehead.
According to Morehead, Pantera’s fund has only had one down year in its six years of existence and there has only been one year where Bitcoin’s annual low was lower than the previous year’s low.
“We’re always trying to look three to five years out and be thinking about where the industry will be then rather than worrying about these kind of manic phases of bubbles and then the crypto winters where everyone thinks it’s never going to work,” added Morehead.
Where Does the Bitcoin Price Go from Here?
When asked where the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry is today in terms of these various hype cycles, Morehead pointed out that the Bitcoin price chart is relatively consistent when graphed on a logarithmic scale. However, price bubbles, such as the ones in 2013 and 2017, are also clearly visible on the chart.
On a logarithmic price chart, price movements are tracked in terms of percentage changes rather than simple, nominal price increases and decreases.
Earlier in the year, when Bitcoin was still near the bottom of its current market cycle, Pantera graphed out what the Bitcoin price may look like if it spent the next twelve months returning to its previous trend line and the continued along that trend line for the next couple of years after that. According to Morehead, that previous trend line indicated a compounded annual growth rate of 235%.
This methodology from Pantera pointed to a $42,000 price by the end of 2019, a $122,000 price by the end of 2020, and a $365,000 price by the end of 2021.
“I know [that] sounds crazy, but essentially, we’re half way back there. It’s right on the trend line, and I think it’s a good shot that by the end of the year we hit that,” said Morehead.
Obviously, it should be mentioned that past trends are not indicative of future results. Although it was on a much shorter time scale, there were many people in various cryptocurrency forums touting the LINK altcoin due to its more than 800% rise against the U.S. dollar earlier this year. Since then, the altcoin has dropped 33% against the dollar.
In terms of what has caused the Bitcoin price to move back in a positive direction this year, theories have ranged from manipulation via the Tether stablecoin, normal activity by a store of value asset, and some indirect help from Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project.
Additionally, another report from Delphi Digital earlier in the year pointed to a bottoming out of the Bitcoin price based on blockchain analysis.
“[With] our first research piece that we wrote on Bitcoin, we predicted it would go to $5,000, and when it was at $100 everyone thought that was totally nuts. But these numbers in two or three years, people look back and go, ‘Oh yeah, that makes sense.’” Morehead later added during his interview with Shin.