Here’s how he came up with his price target in 10 years.
Van-Petersen is assuming cryptocurrencies in general – not just bitcoin – will account for 10 percent of the average daily volumes (ADV) of fiat currency trade in 10 years. Foreign exchange ADV currently stands at just over $5 trillion, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
Ten percent of $5 trillion is $500 billion. This is the ADV that cryptocurrencies could have. Bitcoin will account for 35 percent of that market share, which would that $175 billion of the $500 billion figure, he said. This would mean that $175 billion worth of bitcoin would be traded every day
Also, Van-Petersen then implies that bitcoin’s market capitalization would be ten times the average daily volume, giving a figure of $1.75 trillion for the market cap. The current figure is around $37.8 billion, according to data from industry website CoinDesk.
Bitcoin has a limited supply of 21 million which is expected to be reached by the year 2140. In 10 years, the analyst thinks that there will be 17 million bitcoin in circulation, up from the current 16.3 million figure.
If the potential 17 million of bitcoins in supply is divided by the $1.75 trillion market cap estimate, then each bitcoin would be worth just over $100,000.
Van-Petersen – who owns bitcoin – emphasizes that this is a rough calculation but that his growth predictions could be “conservative” given that in the year 2013 alone, bitcoin’s price grew over 5,000 percent. The analyst said that cryptocurrencies will survive in the long run.
“This is not a fad, cryptocurrencies are here to stay,” Van-Petersen told CNBC in a phone interview.
“There will emerge two to three main ones. Bitcoin will be one of those. And the reason is the first-mover advantage, the scale and the pioneering.”
Van-Petersen’s views are not the official view of Saxo Bank, the analyst said.
The bitcoin industry has had its fair share of problems and reputational damage. The digital currency has often had an image of being used for illegal means such as buying drugs online. The collapse of Mt.Gox in 2014, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, is still fresh in the minds of users. Some members of the exchange are still waiting for compensation.
More recent issues include some exchanges not allowing people to withdraw their money in fiat currency. On top of this, the view of bitcoin as a currency for criminals is still prevalent after the major WannaCry ransomware cyberattack saw hackers lock peoples’ files and ask for bitcoin in exchange to unlock them.
Still, Van-Petersen says that the industry is still extremely young and big improvements will come. A few factors will boost bitcoin adoption including better wallets, easier methods to buy the digital currency, use of it for money transfers in areas like remittances, as well as citizens of countries with volatile economies and currencies buying it.
“Volumes are going up, volatility is going down. A lot of people talk about the volatility, but if you are in Zimbabwe or Venezuela, this volatility is nothing. This is the interesting thing to me. I think in the West, a lot of people view it is as speculative, but emerging markets will get it, their needs will be different,” Van-Petersen added.
While Van-Petersen is offering one way to value bitcoin in the future, others say that there are other factors to take into consideration.
“It’s one way of slicing the pie to try and predict future prices which always relies on a lot of assumptions,” Charlie Hayter, CEO of industry website CryptoCompare, told CNBC by email.
“Equating volumes to price value is one method of attempting a valuation, but it doesn’t take into account the fundamentals of the ecosystem.”
The fundamentals of what bitcoin is capable of from a technical point of view and how regulation is molded around its use will determine its value too, Hayter added.