Hindsight on Bitcoin: $10,000 Predicted Back in 2011
Old LessWrong conversations seem to be spot-on in predicting the prices of Bitcoin, as the now-archival discussion sounds prophetic.
While we are discussing the future of Bitcoin in terms of Wall Street and regulators, older discussions from 2011 reveal what the thought process of early adopters may have been.
One of the most active forums for Bitcoin was LessWrong, a lively hive of futurism, transhumanism, scientific skepticism - and, additionally, Bitcoin and cryptography. The LessWrong discussion of early adopters contains some surprising gems.
On Bitcoin making people wealthy:
"I think the probability of Bitcoin succeeding is very low. I would not put it at a million to one, though, so I recommend that you go out and buy a few bitcoins if you have the technical chops. My financial advice is to not buy more than ten, which should be F-U money if Bitcoin wins," wrote Mencius Moldbug (Curtis Yarvin).
Later to become an alt-right cult figure (though denying he is alt-right himself), he turned out to be partially correct. Still, 10 BTC is indeed F-U money, in many cases. For Yarvin, Bitcoin may be a small reward, especially as he was recently revealed to be a persona non grata on the Google campus.
The above further reveals how much of a niche project Bitcoin was back in 2011.
User Wei-Dai gave some early advise on mining vs. buying Bitcoin at $1:
"If you value 1 BTC at $25, you should just buy BTC with cash directly. I understand there are websites that allow you to do this, and the current price is less than $2 per BTC.
Apparently, either most people have not considered that a bitcoin may eventually be worth more than $10,000, or they think the probability of this happening is closer to 0.01%."
At above $11,000, and at one point with a price of $19,000, BTC must have done the impossible.
Mining and Hard Forks
And then user Isparrish went on to predict the advent of mining rigs, happening around 2013:
"However there is probably a near future where customized ASICs (structured ASICs initially) are the most profitable kind of mining -- something for which a large number of shareholders and a small number of specialists is the more favorable strategy."
And JoshuaZ was prophetic on the issue of Bitcoin forks:
"That's a major reason why governments generally like to control currency. Forking currency can be quite bad. The good news is that when one doesn't have physical currency having two different cryptographic currencies in circulation shouldn't be hard to deal with. One could even imagine software the converts between them nearly seamlessly."
As Bitcoin struggles to find a directions, with predictions ranging from total obliteration to a price of $1 million, a similar discussion is going on. Perhaps the answers would be clearer in another 10 years. But one thing is sure, LessWrong was right in the advice to at least buy a bit of BTC at one dollar apiece.