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Tim Draper predicts that bitcoin will reach $250,000 despite FTX collapsing

Tim Draper, founder of Draper Associates, on stage at the Web Summit 2022 technology conference.

Ben McShane | Sports file via Getty Images

Venture capitalist Tim Draper believes bitcoin will hit $250,000 per coin by mid-2023, even after a torrid year for the cryptocurrency marked by industry failure and falling prices.

Draper previously predicted that bitcoin would top $250,000 by the end of 2022, but in early November, at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon, he said it would take until June 2023 for this to materialize.

He confirmed this position on Saturday when asked how he felt about the price talk following the collapse of FTX.

“I’ve extended my prediction by six months. $250k is still my number,” Draper told CNBC via email.

Bitcoin would need to rise nearly 1,400% from its current price of around $17,000 for Draper’s prediction to come true. The cryptocurrency has plunged over 60% since the start of the year.

Digital currencies are dormant as tighter monetary policy from the Fed and a chain reaction of bankruptcies at major industrial firms including Terra, Celsius and FTX have put intense pressure on prices.

FTX’s demise has also worsened an already serious liquidity crisis in the industry. Crypto exchange Gemini and lender Genesis are among the firms said to be affected by the fallout from FTX’s insolvency.

Last week, veteran investor Mark Mobius told CNBC that bitcoin could crash to $10,000 next year, a drop of more than 40% from today’s prices. The co-founder of Mobius Capital Partners correctly called the drop to $20,000 this year.

Still, Draper is convinced that bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, will rise in the new year.

“I expect a flight to quality and decentralized crypto like bitcoin, and some of the weaker coins becoming relics,” he told CNBC.

Tim Draper predicts that bitcoin will reach 0,000 despite FTX collapsing

Draper, the founder of Draper Associates, is one of Silicon Valley’s best-known investors. He made successful bets on technology companies, including TeslaSkype and Baidu.

In 2014, Draper bought 29,656 bitcoins confiscated by US Marshals from the Silk Road dark web marketplace for $18.7 million. That year, he predicted that the price of bitcoin would go to $10,000 in three years. Bitcoin continued to climb towards $20,000 in 2017.

However, some of Draper’s other games have deteriorated. He invested in Theranos, a healthcare startup that falsely claimed it was able to detect diseases with a few drops of blood. Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos’ founder, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for fraud.

‘The dam is about to burst’

Draper’s rationale for bitcoin’s breakout next year is that there remains a massive untapped demographic for bitcoin: women.

“My guess is that since women control 80% of retail spending and only 1 in 7 bitcoin wallets are currently held by women, the dam is about to burst,” Draper said.

Crypto has long had a gender gap problem. According to a survey conducted for CNBC and Acorns by Momentive, twice as many men as women invest in digital assets (16% of men vs. 7% of women).

“Retailers will save approximately 2% on every purchase made in bitcoin vs dollars,” Draper added. “Once traders realize that 2% can double their profits, bitcoin will be ubiquitous.”

Payment intermediaries such as e.g Visa and MasterCard currently charges fees as high as 2% every time credit card holders use their card to pay for something. Bitcoin offers a way for people to bypass the middlemen.

However, it is difficult to use the digital coin for daily use, since the price is very unstable and the coin is not widely accepted as currency.

“When people can buy food, clothing and shelter in bitcoin, they won’t need centralized bank fiat dollars,” Draper said.

“Management of fiat is centralized and erratic. When a politician decides to spend $10 trillion, your dollars become worth about 82 cents. Then the Fed has to raise interest rates to make up for the spending, and the arbitrary centralized decisions create an inconsistent economy ,” he added. Fiat currencies derive their value from their issuing government, unlike cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, the next so-called bitcoin halving — which cuts bitcoin rewards to bitcoin miners — in 2024 will also boost the cryptocurrency, according to Draper, as it chokes supply over time. The total number of bitcoins that will ever be mined is limited to 21 million.

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