If we’re going to decide how to spend our money and time today, we need to have a vision of where we’re going. This vision of the future is what I use personally to plan my time and my finances. It’s the foundation of the advice that I give to my family, best friends and closest associates. It governs what we do at Swan Bitcoin and how we invest via Bitcoiner Ventures. This is NOT some sort of hyperbitcoinization fantasy scenario that I’ve dreamed up, but rather a thesis for what I see as the most likely outcome based on my understanding of economics, history, geopolitics and technology.
Cory Klippsten is CEO of Swan Bitcoin. This article is part of Future of Money Week, a series exploring the varied (and sometimes weird) ways value will move in the future.
The year is 2035. Bitcoin has become the most widely adopted store of value in the world and is now trading at $10 million to $20 million per bitcoin. It’s accepted for goods and services throughout the world. Items in stores are priced in satoshis alongside dollars. The dollar is still in common use, but any meaningful amount of wealth is now stored in Bitcoin due to its superiority in preserving that wealth across time.
The decisions to focus on security and decentralization early in Bitcoin’s development proved to be correct. Despite more than $250 billion of venture funding, Bitcoin’s centralized imitators succumbed to hacks, fraud and human failings. Most cannibalized each other as one replaced another over and over again. When the dust settled, bitcoin emerged from the Great Crypto Bubble as the native money of the digital age. Names like Cardano, Solana and Ethereum are mostly forgotten, only popping up occasionally as cautionary reminders of a speculative mania gone wrong.
All useful innovation that occurred on other cryptos was deployed in layers on top of Bitcoin’s secure and decentralized settlement layer. In the end, Bitcoin proved to be sufficient for all use cases. Its scarcity, monetary policy and decentralization were the only traits that mattered to savers to store their wealth in it. In just a few short years, the benefits of adopting sound money backed by energy began to permeate throughout society, driving the world into a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity.
The entire world’s financial architecture runs on the most secure network in the world. Gone are inflation, high fees and limited accessibility. Bitcoin now underlies a majority of economic activity. Bitcoin fundamentally changed the way humans organize, serving as the Schelling point humanity accepted was better than centralized alternatives. Bitcoin serves as a neutral money that makes it more profitable for nations to coexist in peace rather than to go to war. This results in improved relations between nations and promotes global trade.
Read more from the Future of Money week.
The Future of Money: 20 Predictions: Jeff Wilser & Helene Braun
Introducing Future of Money Week: CoinDesk
Cultures begin to blend and borders hold less meaning. Individuals have more freedom than ever before. They choose to live wherever they please due to technological advancements along with the ability to take self custody of their wealth. Nations compete for sovereign individuals by bettering themselves to attract these digital nomads’ wealth and ingenuity. Bitcoin promotes political civility and a more peaceful world.
Bitcoin mining has revolutionized the way we interact with our energy resources and the electrical grid. For the first time in history, we have a way to monetize energy that is not location dependent. Wasted and stranded energy resources are now made productive. Producers become more profitable and can invest in long-term projects that bring about reliable, safe and abundant energy resources, like nuclear reactors.
Energy prices fall every year across the world as energy producers harness energy from cheap resources that were previously unfeasible. The electrical grid is stabilized with bitcoin miners that can respond to variable load demand with the flip of a switch. Gone are rolling blackouts and grid failures. More humans are able to interact with energy than ever before, lifting nearly all humans out of poverty in the process.
The year is 2050. Global gross domestic product (GDP) growth has exploded to levels not seen since the 1950s, and that is reflected in growing purchasing power for the middle class, which itself is growing rapidly as billions around the world join its ranks. No longer is success determined by how close to the money printer an individual is, but rather by how much real value they create in the world.
Money appreciates in value over time so that individuals can plan their future knowing their wealth will be protected. This leads to market participants’ time horizons lengthening, creating more investment, more entrepreneurship, more productivity and increased living standards.
This boom in entrepreneurship is what ultimately drives humanity forward. As more and more people continue to transact in bitcoin, it becomes more liquid, and its price signal allows market participants to coordinate with one another in the production of goods and services. That results in further division of labor, increases specialization and gives rise to highly efficient economic systems.
The ability to reliably save means people no longer need to speculate to beat inflation because inflation is gone. There is no need to stare at charts or listen to financial advice on how to speculate on risk assets just to keep up. Individuals can save their money and their time to pursue their interests and passions instead.
The arts and sciences flourish and a new renaissance begins. Individuals spend their free time thinking about how to solve big problems to provide lasting benefit for the world. Long-term projects are funded as people invest in the future they know is achievable. Freed from the rat race of consumption culture, a new generation of creators spend years developing their craft and produce works that last through the ages. This change in mindset leads to feats of invention and creativity unfathomable to people from the pre-Bitcoin era.
That is the most likely future I see for us. Another, more ominous future is still very much a possibility. A future dominated by surveillance states, central bank digital currencies, social credit scores, authoritarianism, conflict and chaos. But we have Bitcoin, and thus we have both hope and a plan. That’s why we’re building for Bitcoin. That’s why we’re building for bitcoiners. No one is going to make our Bright Orange Future for us. We need to do it ourselves. The stakes are high, but where there is hope, there is a way.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.