Balaji Srinivasan 'Burns' $1 Million in Bitcoin to Prove a Point

The investor and ex-Coinbase CTO has settled his Bitcoin bet early, but insists we are in the midst of a “fiat crisis.”

By Mat Di Salvo

3 min read

Ex-Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan today said that he has now settled a high-profile Bitcoin bet made in March by donating $1.5 million of his own money. And he’s done it to prove a point, he says, that the U.S. economy is in such bad shape, people will flock to cryptocurrency instead.

Srinivasan initially announced a $1 million bet in March, claiming that the global economy is on the edge of rapid change, and as a result, we will see the rapid adoption of Bitcoin—which he calls “hyperbitcoinization.” 

The original bet was made with Twitter pundit James Medlock and stipulated that if Bitcoin failed to hit $1 million within 90 days, he would receive $1 million in Circles USDC stablecoin.

Today, he said the bet had been “closed out by mutual agreement” and settled early, giving $500,000 to poverty charity Give Directly, $500,000 to Bitcoin core developers, and $500,000 to Medlock. 

“So, I settled the bet ahead of time and donated even more than I had committed,” he wrote today on Twitter. “I spent my own money to send a provably costly signal that there’s something wrong with the economy, and that it's not going to be a ‘soft landing’ like Powell [Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell] promises—but something much worse.”

While it could be viewed as ultimately conceding the bet, he claimed that his reasoning for donating the money before the 90-days were up is that he “believes in the public good, but unfortunately we can't rely on the public sector anymore to tell us when something's wrong.” 

Srinivasan insists that the American economy will enter hyperinflation and Bitcoin will be a go-to safe haven—eventually hitting a market cap of $19.3 trillion. Bitcoin now has a market cap of $555 billion. 

At the time of writing, Bitcoin was trading for $28,827, according to CoinGecko, meaning it would have to shoot up in value by 3,369% to hit $1 million per coin. 

The asset is currently vauled 58% less than its November 2021 all-time high of $69,044. But in May 2013, it was priced at $123.10, meaning that over a decade, the original digital currency has appreciated by 23,317%. 

Srinivasan went on to say that economic catastrophe was coming and that he made the donations to make the point that “things could unwind very fast.” 

“Many things are breaking at once,” he continued, referring to the U.S. debt ceiling, the banking crisis, bonds losing value, and the Russia-Ukraine war. 

“I just burned a million to tell you they’re printing trillions.”

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