Category Archives: Fintech

Bitcoin price in 2019-2020

Early 2018 I made an accurate prediction what the value of Bitcoin in $ would be by the end of that year. At least this prediction was much closer to that of some of the best known names in the industry, like Fundstrat’s Tommy Lee and  the person I responded too in this tweet (Ran NeuNer).

Even in recent days the most crazy predictions about the future bitcoin prices are circulating. I think the most outrageous one was made by John McAfee.

I followed in 2018 closely how the Bitcoin price was influenced by economic circumstances. I expected for example the crisis with the Turkish lyra to have a positive effect by inflow of money from Turkey. I did not see such correlation. The 2018 price saw one constant: it went lower and lower with in between some higher lows.In November 2018 the price saw an extreme, accelerated  dive to a level around $3.000 coming from a rather constant period where it remained around $6.000. It is difficult to determine what makes the price ‘tick’, it mainly seems to be influenced by matters of mass psychology and speculation. The down fall in November 2018 could be explained by the Bitcoin Cash fork and its influence on Bitmain, a large supplier of Bitcoin mining equipment and one of the initiators behind Bitcoin Cash. So the area of price discovery not has ended yet and it is easy to forget the world has never seen a phenomenon like Bitcoin and its relatively recent entering on the financial world stage.

From November 2019 on the price stabilised and February 2019 saw some price increments to a current level of around $3.950. I consider the fundamentals of Bitcoin still strong. The ignorance of people about its potential is still staggering. Repeatedly the same arguments why it should considered worthless crop up and it will take time to prove they are using false arguments.

It is difficult to predict if we will see in 2019 other influences than pyschology and speculation driving the price level. Most and for all there will be the memory of the price fall from $20.000 to $3.000 and the horrible stories in the media of people’s investments being wiped out. That effect will take time to come to terms with before we will see any major influx in the Bitcoin ecosystem again. But eventually people will forget the 2017-2018 price developments. But will there be other factors that come into play positively influencing its price?

There are no similar products to make any kind of comparison as to predict the prices. It is not comparable to  stock, where a company’s -future- profits might drive the price. It is even hard to compare to precious metals due to its different nature of portability, mining and distribution. Evangelisation and education will be in coming years the main incentive for a positive image of Bitcoin and therefor the price development. In its narrative the negativity about the 2018 experiences should be seen in a bigger picture: the current price level would be considered spectacular even as recent as one and half year ago (mid 2017). The core arguments for evangelisation remain merely the same as in the past: non-tampering, non-inflatable, non-governmental and trustful storage.

2017 was the year that Bitcoin was catapulted in a world that before was ignorant about the phenomenon of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in particular. Besides attracting a new group of investors in general it also attracted professional traders. These are people that make their living with day trading and speculating on short term price developments (like shorting) instead of following a long term path for positive price developments (‘hodling’). With the introduction of new financial products into the Bitcoin ecosystem (like futures and ETF’s) these developments will make it more difficult than in 2017 to see extravagant price explosions: profits will be take sooner or speculated against.

Innovations like Lightning Network (LN) might contribute to some positive signal in price development, but there should be reason for caution: technological innovations in the past an sich have never been a clear driver for price developments. In the case of LN it might be slightly different due to the fact that it is a recognisable utility of Bitcoin.

My conclusion is therefor that the Bitcoin price in December 2019 will see a small improvement over today’s levels: $5.000. Mid 2020 a new halving of block rewards will kick in. Historically that has been a driver for a higher Bitcoin price. So then we might finally see a new, though limited bull run and a new treshold minimum level of Bitcoin’s price (app. $ 6.000). In December 2020 I expect to see a maximum price level of $18.000.

Nootdorp, The Netherlands, February 23th, 2019

Apple Pay evolution to the blockchain

In its current format Apple Pay is depending on traditional banking and credit card institutions. This has not proven to be a guarantee for a fast world wide roll out of the service. There are tough negotiations involved both on the side of merchants as well as the financial institutions.

For example in The Netherlands there have been talks about rolling out for more than a year. Finally next month things should be ready for ‘prime time’. I have no idea what the final ‘service’ will look like in the Netherlands. It surely will be along the lines of scanning your bank debet card(s) and credit cards (hopefully all financial institutions will be involved) in order to enable transactions. The final seal of the transaction will be made through the Touch ID of Face Recognition when iPhone X will make its way to the community. There is the challenge to attract  merchants to accept Apple Pay. Judging from the acceptance in the USA where Apple pay already is active, another possible factor that the final service will be somewhat crippled from the start.

Suppose that in the near future Apple would be skipping the financial institutions and operate as a financial intermediair supported by a decentralised public ledger (blockchain). It would look something like this.

Blockchain, currency

Apple starts the blockchain with its own currency, opening the ‘to be’ blockchain to miners processing transactions and offering financial compensation delivering the computational power for transaction processing.

Consumer

The consumers are able to buy Apple’s own currency, exchanging fiat money for the Apple Currency (which I shall name ACX for convenience reasons). This process is from a consumer perspective similar to buying something from the App Store. Only the exchanged money does not land on Apple’s bank account but on the blockchain, so Apple has a function here as an exchange institution (from fiat money to ACX). As soon as the exchange transaction is processed (all made possible through an Apple device like an iPhone, iPad with a dedicated app) the ACX balance of the consumer is updated and visible from the app.  The consumer will now be able to spend his ACX balance online or through Apple Pay at physical stores.

Transaction with merchant

The merchant who is affiliated with Apple Pay is then capable of adding balance to his Apple business account also stored on the blockchain. The transaction between consumer and merchant takes place between two Apple devices for example an iPad on the merchant side and an iPhone on the consumer side. There must be a kind of handshake between the two devices, finalized by a ID on both merchant and consumer side. The consumer will be debited for the transaction, the merchant credited. Apple will allow the merchant as well as the consumer to exchange their ACX for fiat money (USD, EUR etc.). Transaction will processed by decentralised processes on the blockchain enabling miners to receive a fee for the transaction.

Conclusion

I am sure that solutions along the lines as described above will be made available in the near future. I can imagine that Apple choses its own blockchain, it has the financial power to do so. Not only by Apple but all the major big players (Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc.) wil start offering services along these lines. I use the example of Apple because they are probably already ahead of the bunch and already have an integrated ecosystem.

The implications are far stretching: Apple becomes a financial institution itself and largely independent from the traditional banking and credit card institutions. Therefor it may decide to start a specialised branch named Apple Pay. The underlying blockchain technology will be essential to guarantee the integrity and security of the ecosystem. I also understand such a scenario will have far reaching fiscal and financial consequences which I will not address here, but in general Apple’s dedicated branch will behave very much like a traditional financial institution from a fiscal and financial perspective.

The Hague, October 21th 2017