Venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel has admitted that he is long Bitcoin but does not hold out much hope for the rest of the cryptocurrency space.
Though he said that he was “somewhat sceptical” about how much blockchain technology “translates into good investments”, for one use case, that of store of value, there is potential and perhaps, “quite a bit of a way to go”.
He predicts that one cryptocurrency will likely make the transition into a store of value, and effectively become the “digital gold”. “My bet is there will be one online equivalent of gold”, he said. As to which one, he “would bet on the biggest.”
As a day to day payments system Bitcoin is “too cumbersome”. For Thiel the best comparison is “like bars of gold in a vault that never moves”. Like gold, Bitcoin may function as a hedge against the “whole world falling apart”, Thiel says.
Thiel said that he was long Bitcoin, but with “a few possible exceptions”, he was “neutral to skeptical” on the rest of the available cryptocurrencies. Comparing cryptocurrencies to precious metals he said that gold “could be replaced by silver but it doesn’t seem to be happening.”
When pressed on how likely it would be that Bitcoin could achieve gold-like status, Thiel said that he thought there was a 50-80% chance Bitcoin would end up worthless, and a 20-50% chance it would go higher.
On ICOs Thiel said that he was reminded of the dotcom mania of 1999-2000 where “people who exaggerate beat the people with a normal plan”. These are “crazy, unhealthy dynamics”, he said.
Thiel is a long time supporter of Bitcoin and earlier this year it was revealed that his Founders Fund had been accumulating it since 2012. He is also thought to have invested some of his considerable personal wealth in the cryptocurrency.
Thiel is part of the so called “PayPal Mafia”, a group of early PayPal employers who have since gone on to found innovative companies themselves. Its members include Tesla founder Elon Musk and Reid Hoffman, who co-founded LinkedIn.
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