In brief

  • Chamath Palihapitiya, the CEO of Social Capital and the chairman of Virgin Galactic, shared his thoughts on Bitcoin's future.
  • During the "Pomp Podcast," Palihapitiya said Bitcoin could potentially become "gold 2.0" if the US dollar falters.
  • Bitcoin needs to get out of the “ghetto of day traders and speculators” to emerge as a safe haven.

Chamath Palihapitiya, the CEO of Social Capital, the chairman of Virgin Galactic and the owner of Golden State Warriors, thinks that Bitcoin could potentially become “gold 2.0” by 2030 if traditional economies falter.

During today’s “Pomp Podcast” hosted by Anthony Pompliano, co-founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital, Palihapitiya said that “Bitcoin needed a moment like this for it to be relevant.”

In his opinion, in the next 10 years, the economy will be at a crossroads: it could introduce inefficiency and cost and “inflate its way out”—or face debasement. In the latter case, Bitcoin could “really emerge as a flight to safety.”

“There’s a real chance by 2030 we don’t find a way to inflate our way out of this, and that the only way to break the back of deflation is essentially to create some quasi form of gold standard,” said Palihapitiya.

“But it will be almost impossible to do that between governments and central banks. They’ll never agree on an instrument and they’ll never agree on an exchange. But then bottoms up people could decide to do it. And the minute when that happens, then it’s a done deal,” Palihapitiya added.

He noted that Bitcoin could become an index. And while gold’s kept in vaults, Bitcoin can be owned and possessed by everybody.

“What it does is it replaces the method of value transfer that you need for fiat money to be valuable, but it only happens if it looks like the US dollar is going to careen into a wall,” said Palihapitiya.

This is the US dollar that’s being printed at a rate of $1 million per second.

At the same time, Palihapitiya said that today, Bitcoin is still a speculative instrument—too much so to be reliable. When talking about the notion of Bitcoin potentially replacing fiat currencies, Palihapitiya said that “one thing you have to look at is the volatility of the US dollar—and you can’t replace it with something that’s nine sigmas more volatile.”

He added that currency markets are even more important than debt markets, and in such markets, enormous liquidity five percent moves—or 500 basis points—are newsworthy, yet take years to play out.

In the case of Bitcoin, 2,000 basis points moves are possible in half an hour—and people can’t effectively use it because of that. This pushes Bitcoin into the “ghetto of day traders and speculators.”

To improve the situation, crypto markets need to flush those players out and keep some basis of interest from long-term holders, he said. “And then you need to have it slowly look like the traditional infrastructure could really implode,” Palihapitiya added.

With the current state of events, slowly might be the wrong word.