The final talk of track 2 on the second day of the ‘Inside Bitcoin’ conference in Seoul was delivered by Tone Vays, Head of Research at BraveNewCoin, which Vays described as aiming to be the Bloomberg of the cryptocurrency space. It was titled ‘Bitcoin Speculation’ and proved to be the most entertaining lecture I attended.
Over the course of the talk, Vays examined the history of bitcoin prices, the reason for fluctuation and variation due to different events that altered the popularity of bitcoin to investors. One of the key questions and themes of the talk was the ‘bitcoin bubble’ – if we were still in it and was it unusual.
Along with various amusing or insightful quotes and anecdotes, Vays proceeded to talk the audience through the journey of bitcoin price, from when it was worth less than one cent for the first ever recorded transaction (2 pizzas for 10,000 BTC) to the high point of over $1,200 and on to the current price. A myriad of influences were described by Vays as affecting the price over this time, including the collapse of economies, changes in exchanges and the effects of regulation.
One thing that became apparent during the talk was the phrase ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ applied very strongly to bitcoin; although we might not agree with the actions of some people, there was no denying, Vays said, that the association with Silk Road was important to the development of bitcoin, whether it was due to the publicity given to bitcoin by an American senator speaking out against the use of the cryptocurrency for illicit substances (and during this outcry, showing viewers exactly how to do it), or the simple act of people using bitcoin to buy and sell illegal goods without being identified – it all helped bitcoin to grow.
On the subject of bitcoin being in a ‘bubble’, Vays showed graphs of the price of silver and bitcoin value over the past few years, noting the similarities in peaks and troughs, as well as overall shape. Bringing up a diagram of the typical stges of a bubble (stealth, awareness, mania and the wonderfully named blow-off phase), Vays then described where he thought bitcoin currently was, although he related an answer a member of the audience had previously given him: it’s not even reached the start phase yet – we haven’t even seen the beginning of what bitcoin will achieve.
Moving on to the end of his lecture, Vays (with more interesting historical references and entertaining facts) described what he thought would happen to bitcoin in the future. Showing a number of graphs he had created to analyse trends and predict the market, Vays finished by saying that he predicts a rise over the next couple of years, with a major event around August in 2017 – with bitcoin prices possibly rising to thousands of dollars. For all the investors sakes – let’s hope he’s right!