How Accurate are Bitcoin Price Predictions?

By Charlie Custer


“Nobody knows where the market is headed.” That’s a piece of crypto wisdom you’ve certainly heard before. Yet people make grand proclamations about Bitcoin’s price all the time (here’s just one of many examples from this week alone). Are they worth listening to?

Perhaps the best available data point is this article from 2014, which asked 50 different crypto experts to predict what Bitcoin’s price would be 12 months later. The list of experts includes some luminaries including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and Trezor and SatoshiLabs founder Alena Vranova. Estimates ranged from as low as $500 to more than $50,000, and literally all of them were wrong. 12 months after the article’s publication, Bitcoin was still hovering around $250; it wouldn’t even break the low end of that estimate range until nearly two years later.

And looking at the broader trend, overly optimistic predictions are quite common, even when predicting on shorter timelines. John McAfee, for example, predicted in May of this year that Bitcoin would crack $15,000 in June. That proved to be very wrong. 

That’s not to say everyone overshoots. Controversial Megaupload Kim Dotcom predicted that the Bitcoin price would break $2,000 in 2018 (it has only rarely dipped below triple that number all year).

Perhaps the most interesting prediction is VC Tim Draper’s famous 2014 prediction that Bitcoin would pass $10,000 in 2018. While the price of BTC is currently lower than $10,000, it did spend some time in 2018 above $10,000, and it isn’t too far away from that sum right now. One could argue convincingly that Draper got it right.

If you’re sold on Draper’s powers of prediction, now’s a good time to invest, because earlier this year, he made another four-year prediction: that Bitcoin will hit $250,000 by 2022. Sound unlikely? Maybe, but that’s what folks said about his 2014 predictions too

On the other hand, Draper -- like almost everyone making public predictions -- has a vested interest because he owns some of the currency he’s talking up. That might ultimately be the best reason not to listen to anyone’s predictions about Bitcoin: it’s too difficult to tell to what degree these predictions are based on neutral analysis.

(For a little extra context, here's how those 2014 predictions of 2015's Bitcoin price stack up against the current Bitcoin price:)


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