For a couple of weeks I have been looking at Bitcoins. First more out of curiosity, but over the last couple of days more from an investment point of view. It’s fascinating that someone managed to come up with the idea for this new currency and that he (or she? Nobody knows who was behind the original Bitcoin idea) made it into a globally accepted means of payment.
Globally is relative of course, but in most countries of the world there are at least some merchants accepting bitcoins. Not a lot though: today there are just 12 companies accepting bitcoins in Vancouver for example. But I believe this will change, and therefore I see a huge opportunity. Because hardly anybody uses bitcoins the demand is relatively low compared to supply. The supply side will certainly go up a lot over the next years (more people will buy or build bitcoin miners), but because it will get harder to mine every day (that’s part of how bitcoins work) I expect that demand will go up a lot more.
As an economist I see a big opportunity here: if supply is constrained and demand will go up it means that bitcoins may easily be worth 10, 100 or even 1000 times as much as their current value. Don’t underestimate what can happen it bitcoins would really become a global currency: in 2010 someone bought a pizza for 10,000 bitcoins, just 3 years later those bitcoins are worth USD 1 million. I hope the pizza maker kept them in his bitcoin account!
Of course there are a lot of risks. Maybe the theory behind bitcoins has a critical flaw that nobody thought about. Possible, but more and more unlikely as time goes by. A bigger risk, however, is that governments will ban bitcoins. This is something that is actually quite likely in the US or the EU, although a global ban will be impossible because bitcoins are anonymous. But if it happens my theory about demand outstripping supply might not work, because the general public won’t use them.
The currency seems to be a lot more stable than just a few weeks ago, so this looks like a good time to take a position. Either I’ll lose my complete investment or I’ll make a mega-return. No risk no fun, just like in my daily life as a venture capitalist!