Anyone who follows Bitcoin knows how it has a history of dramatic price swings.
But that history, when translated to a logarithmic Bitcoin price prediction chart, shows that over the long term, the price of Bitcoin has followed a distinct pattern as it has moved higher.
And that suggests several more steep jumps lie ahead for the preeminent cryptocurrency that will push BTC not only past its all-time high of just under $20,000, but far beyond it, past $50,000 in the near term and ultimately to $250,000 or even $1 million.
Prateek Goorha, an interdisciplinary social scientist with an interest in the economics of innovation and creativity, has written two blog posts analyzing the phenomenon, which he calls the "parabolic supertrend" in Bitcoin.
The basic idea is that each major Bitcoin price jump has come as the result of three distinct phases….
What Bacteria Can Teach Us about Bitcoin Price Moves
It turns out that Bitcoin's price behaves a lot like bacteria.
Each major price move has included a phase of stasis, an exponential phase of rapid growth, and a phase of decline. These cycles have driven the price of one bitcoin from mere pennies in 2010 to thousands of dollars.
This Is Creating Billionaires: This technology is projected to grow 63,000% and create $7 trillion in new wealth. Will you be able to capitalize on these windfall profits? Read more…
In that context, the recent 70% decline isn't as ominous as it might seem. This chart, first created by an internet crypto technical analyst who goes by "Parabolic Trav," does a good job of showing how Bitcoin's periodic sharp declines haven't broken the overall pattern of parabolically higher prices.
Take a look:
The gains may not look dramatic at first glance, but this chart uses a logarithmic scale rather than a linear scale. So what you're seeing are percentage gains.
Goorha's posts on Medium likens what's happening to the life cycle of bacteria in a Petri dish.
During the stagnation phase, he says, the bacteria are "acclimatizing to the environment," resulting in "little to no growth." That's followed by an exponential phase in which the bacteria "begin propagating by cell doubling" as they channel the available resources into growth.
In the third phase, as resources are exhausted, there's a decline in the bacteria population.
When applied to Bitcoin, the community of users is comparable to the Petri dish, with the fiat money invested (be they U.S. dollars, Japanese yen, euros, or South Korean won) the resource feeding growth.
Periods of selling starve the system of resources and result in a decline. Eventually the decline stops as the Bitcoin market adapts to these circumstances. The next phase is triggered when Bitcoin's "Petri dish" – the number of users – gets bigger, introducing fresh resources to the system.
In an e-mail, Goorha explained that the infusion of fiat money into Bitcoin "fuels the growth of the network, much like oxygen fuels the growth of bacteria."
So while Bitcoin has experienced several periods of steep decline, the arrival of the next cycle prevents the price from falling to levels seen in previous cycles.
Take Bitcoin's first bubble, for example. BTC soared from $0.95 to $32 then all the way back down to $2.00 – a 94% drop. But even so, the price of Bitcoin ended up twice as high as where it started.
The same thing happened in late 2013, when Bitcoin rocketed to nearly $1,200 from less than $100 in under four months. In the long decline that followed, Bitcoin did briefly slip below $200, but spent most of 2015 in the $220 to $275 range – more than twice the launch point from mid-2013.
That brings us to the present. What can the parabolic Bitcoin price chart tell us about 2018's disappointing performance? And what does it forecast for the years ahead?
This remarkable ride is far from over…