Take heed, cryptocurrency doubters. Billionaire Tim Draper says bitcoin is "bigger than the internet" and it's going to take over the world.
Draper, a venture capitalist who was an early investor in Tesla, Hotmail, and Skype, says bitcoin will be "bigger than all of those combined."
Draper made the bullish predictions at an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate presented in partnership with the Manhattan Institute's Adam Smith Society, as reported by CNBC.
"This is bigger than the internet. It's bigger than the Iron Age, the Renaissance. It's bigger than the Industrial Revolution. This affects the entire world and it's going to be affected in a faster and more prevalent way than you ever imagined."Draper, who has set a $250,000 bitcoin price target for 2022, has a flair for making flamboyant declarations, but he also has a pretty good track record. In 2014, the tech billionaire purchased 30,000 bitcoins for $600 apiece at a federal auction.
Tim Draper's Bitcoin Stash Tops $279 MillionAs of December 2017, Draper said he was still holding onto that bitcoin stash. At today's bitcoin price of $9,300 a token, Draper's stockpile is now worth a jaw-dropping $279 million.
While some people dismiss cryptocurrency as a fad, Draper said bitcoin will disrupt and transform the economy and society as we know it."In five years, you are going to try to go buy coffee with fiat currency and they are going to laugh at you because you're not using crypto," Draper said. "I believe that there will be a point at which you will no longer really want any of the fiat currency."
At the debate, cryptocurrency skeptic Gillian Tett — the managing editor of the Financial Times — presented the opposing point of view. Tett noted that bitcoin prices are notoriously volatile and that crypto has been used as a go-to vehicle for criminal activity such as money-laundering, tax evasion, and terrorism financing.
Draper retorted by saying, "[I feel] more secure in my bitcoin than I am in the money that's sitting there in Wells Fargo."
Nobel Prize-Winning Economist: Crypto Is A FadTett echoed the sentiments of noted crypto skeptics like Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller of Yale University, who dismissed bitcoin as trendy.
Shiller said bitcoin mania is a passing fancy that's driven by emotions and is not rooted in financial fundamentals.
"It's another example of faddish human behavior," Shiller said. "It's glamorous…Smart people went into these and other cryptocurrencies, but it's a story that I think goes way beyond the merit of the idea."
Virtual currencies have ignited heated debate among supporters and detractors, who either love crypto or hate it. For now, it's clear that the debate surrounding bitcoin isn't going anywhere anytime soon.