Is Bitcoin “Bigger than General Electric”?

I’ve seen a lot of headlines like these lately, and so I’ll take a moment to point out how wrong-minded they are. To compare Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) to a company is just wrong.
As I keep saying, Bitcoin is not an investment. That is,

  • It’s not a share of ownership in a corporation, like a stock.
  • It’s not a promise of debt repayment, like a bond.

Bitcoin is a currency.
And so, if we want to compare it to something, we must compare it to other currencies, not to stocks, bond, real estate, or whatever else.


So, let’s compare Bitcoin to dollars.

In 2013, there were said to be 10.5 trillion US dollars in existence. That was the figure for “M2” (M3, the broader figure, is no longer published.)

There are currently some 16.7 million bitcoins in circulation.

At its current valuation ($11,000), Bitcoin is worth about 183 billion dollars, or just 1.7% of the US dollar’s value.
That doesn’t make it sound quite so big, does it?
So, what if Bitcoin captured just 5% of the dollar’s value? In that case (and presuming that the relationships remained the same), one Bitcoin would be worth more than $31,000.
And if it captured 1/10 of the dollar’s action, Bitcoin would be some $63,000 each.
And bear in mind that we’re using a figure for US dollars that we know is too low.

But There’s More

Consider this please:

Bitcoin isn’t a replacement for just dollars, it’s a replacement for all government currencies.

Money supply figures are purposely difficult to find, but we can say that the value of dollars, euros, pounds, yuan, and yen – that is, just the biggest currencies, ignoring more than a hundred others – comes to at least 18 trillion dollars, and probably quite a bit more.
Presuming that those hundred-some smaller currencies equal the five big ones, that comes to a world money supply of 36 trillion dollars, minimum.
And if so, Bitcoin accounts for just 0.51% of world money supply.
If, then, Bitcoin captured 5% of world money supply, a single coin would sell for $108,000. At 10% it would be $216,000 each. At 25% it would be $540,000 each.
Granted, these are very rough numbers and the correlations are uncertain. This is definitely “back of the envelope” figuring. But after all the dramatic numbers, the point is this:

If we’re going to compare Bitcoin to something, it needs to be compared to currencies, not to investment vehicles… and Bitcoin is simply better currency.

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Paul Rosenberg

8 thoughts on “Is Bitcoin “Bigger than General Electric”?”

  1. Taken that the “back of the envelope figures’ are close enough, surely the major factor is that a ‘currency’ is just a medium of exchange. I don’t see how it can be claimed that a bitcoin is worth $10, let alone $1,000.

    1. A bitcoin is worth X dollars just like a Euro is worth X dollars. No difference.
      BTW, a lot of BTC wallets are now being set to “$/mBTC”. That is, dollars per thousandth of a Bitcoin. Eventually, if the exchange rate keeps rising, it will be measured in “satoshi’s”. A satoshi is 0.00000001 BTC.

  2. Thanks for sharing the history. So proud to see other anarchists/voluntarists create something that offers significant benefits for society. I’ve been working in communities fighting environmental racism and developing revolutionary restorative agroforestry systems & practices; but, like a fool, I didn’t take the time to get past my initial reaction to bitcoin–computer=surviellance/control. But after digging into the roots, I’m stoked to get involved. I just hope there is a quick movement to shift the tech to more being more ecologically and socially minded.

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