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As the leader of crypto exchange Kraken, Jesse Powell is bound to be bullish on Bitcoin. Yet he’s projecting a disruptive future that would stretch the imagination of even the most ardent crypto fans.
In a Bloomberg Television interview, Powell said Bitcoin could reach US$1 million in the next decade, adding that supporters say it could eventually replace all of the major fiat currencies.
“We can only speculate, but when you measure it in terms of dollars, you have to think it’s going to infinity,” he said. “The true believers will tell you that it’s going all the way to the moon, to Mars and eventually, will be the world’s currency.”
The CEO also said San Francisco-based Kraken is considering going public, possibly next year.
Extreme predictions are nothing new in the world of Bitcoin, where adherents stand to profit from convincing a wider audience that crypto is a legitimate asset class, rather than a speculative fad. The dollar remains the world’s reserve currency and is the benchmark for global trade, though its value has softened in the past year.
Powell said Bitcoin bulls see it one day exceeding the combined market cap of the dollar, euro and other currencies.
The dollar “is only 50 years old and it’s already showing extreme signs of weakness, and I think people will start measuring the price of things in terms of Bitcoin,” he said.
The digital currency slipped 3 per cent in early U.S. trading on Thursday, hovering around US$49,000. Prices have surged almost 600 per cent since the start of 2020 on the back of wider mainstream adoption, with bulls seeing it as both an inflation hedge and speculative asset.
Critics argue that Bitcoin is in a giant, stimulus-fueled bubble destined to burst like the 2017 boom and bust cycle.
Kraken benefits from higher prices as it reaps fees from increased trading. Bloomberg reported last month that the exchange was in talks to raise new funding, which would double the company’s valuation to more than US$10 billion.
“Personally, I think US$10 billion is a low valuation,” Powell said. “I wouldn’t be interested in selling shares at that price.”
The CEO did acknowledge the potential for wild market swings, saying prices can “move up or down 50 per cent on any given day.” That kind of volatility has long been one of the negatives of Bitcoin, relegating the market to one of speculation, rather than a means of doing business.
“If you are buying into Bitcoin out of speculation, you should be committed to holding for five years,” Powell said. “You have to have strong convictions to hold.”