Plus the Driverless Car Future Is Speeding Toward Us
Welcome to your Sunday digest…my weekly breakdown of the things we’re thinking about and talking about in the Global Intelligence world.
First up this week…bitcoin had a horrible, no-good, very bad week.
The world’s leading crypto fell from the $47,000 range on Monday to around $42,000 by Friday afternoon (European time) amid widespread instability in the stock and crypto markets.
Of course, despite this, I remain extremely bullish on bitcoin.
And so too does Goldman Sachs.
In a report released this week, the investment banking giant said that bitcoin could more than double to over $100,000 per token within the next five years.
In the report, Zach Pandl, co-head of global foreign exchange, interest rates, and emerging market strategy for Goldman Sachs, wrote that in the years ahead, bitcoin will steal market share from gold in the so-called store-of-value sector. This refers to the assets that investors use to protect and store their wealth.
Bitcoin currently has about 20% of this market, but Goldman believes it could reach 50% by 2027.
I agree with this assessment…to an extent.
Bitcoin will certainly become more popular as store-of-value asset, but I think Goldman is massively underestimating its likely price.
I won’t be surprised to see bitcoin push high into the six figures, or even hit seven figures, over the remainder of this decade.
The massive debt levels in the U.S. and other Western economies are eventually going to start impacting sovereign currencies like the dollar, euro, yen, etc., driving down their values.
When that happens, people are going to pour their money into store-of-value assets like gold and bitcoin. I’m increasingly seeing as well some very smart movers/shakers talking about the idea that bitcoin becomes a reserve currency. Lots of laughing at that, I suspect. But no matter how small the odds might seem, there is a greater than zero chance this comes true.
That doesn’t mean, however, that bitcoin will enjoy a meteoric rise from here.
Volatility is very much baked into the crypto cake.
But expect to see bitcoin set higher highs and higher lows in the months and years to come.
Next up…our driverless future.
The Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, held annually in Las Vegas, is the event to watch if you want to know what major tech is coming down the pipeline.
And one of the big takeaways from this year’s edition was the growing focus on driverless vehicles.
Self-driving cars have been a topic of much discussion ever since the early 2010s, when Google’s autonomous vehicles started appearing on California’s roads.
Some related tech now appears in top-of-the-line vehicles such as Tesla cars and certain Mercedes models. These cars can do things like turn and switch lanes in certain settings, without needing driver input. However, drivers still have to be prepared to assume control, so these are far from the fully self-driving machines we were promised.
Now, however, companies are making commitments about rolling out true self-driving cars.
At CES, General Motors announced its intention to roll out self-driving vehicles by the middle of this decade. Chinese car-maker Geely, working in conjunction with Intel subsidiary Mobileye, has set a 2024 target date.
These would be “Level 4” autonomous vehicles, meaning that they won’t require any input from a human driver in some situations, such as when they are driving in specific geographic areas, like a certain town or city.
Current vehicles have only “Level 2” autonomy, according to widely recognized industry standards. That means drivers have to watch the road at all times.
Of course, as with everything tech-related, it’s unlikely the companies meet these deadlines. And even if they do, the cars may be prohibitively expensive…at least in the beginning.
But the race is on to develop Level 4 vehicle autonomy. And I expect we’ll all be taking robo-taxis by the end of the decade.
Finally…NFT tech is the real deal.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are unique, one-off cryptocurrencies that are used to represent ownership of an asset, like a digital artwork.
I’ve been investing in this space lately and have made some pretty spectacular gains. (You can read about some of those gains, and get my brief intro to investing in NFTs, in a two-part series I wrote in late December. Check out those columns here and here.)
I know from the emails I get from readers that some of you are very interested in this space.
I also know that some of you remain skeptical. That’s perfectly understandable. From the outside, it can seem insane that people are spending so much money buying and selling digital artworks.
But this space has amazing potential…and leading investment firms know it.
On Tuesday, OpenSea, one of the leading marketplaces for NFTs, announced that it had raised $300 million in new venture capital funding.
This cash injection was led by investment firms Coatue Management and Paradigm, and valued the startup at $13.3 billion…just four years after it was founded.
So, yes. NFTs are a bit out there. But this technology is the real deal.
Major venture capital firms don’t put hundreds of millions of dollars into a tech company unless they believe that firm has a society-altering innovation.
That brings us to the end of this week’s digest. Many thanks for being a subscriber. And if you have any feedback or questions, reach out through the contact form on the Global Intelligence website.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
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