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.