Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency that is welcoming old-time critics. Arthur Hayes, the co-founder of crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX, has gone from calling Ethereum “a double-digit shitcoin” to wishing he had gotten in early.
With Ethereum recently breaching $2,500, Hayes is left wishing that he had bought some ETH during the pre-sale in 2014 when the digital asset sold for about 30 cents.
Hayes asserts that Ethereum along with many other cryptocurrency projects are imitations of Bitcoin. However, he believes that the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency “offered a substantial improvement by creating a virtual decentralized computer that greatly expands the potential use cases for the technology underlying Bitcoin.”
He is one of many Ethereum supporters who believe that the network is yet to reach its full potential. Co-founder of Three Arrows Capital, Kyle Davies, for instance, revealed in a podcast that their fund is “overweight Ethereum.”
The ETH 2.0 staking contract is proof that many investors are bullish on the future of Ethereum. The number of staked coins has now surpassed 3.9 million ETH. Furthermore, Ethereum is also the cornerstone of the $60 billion decentralized finance (DeFi) sector.
Traditional systems are failing?
The BitMEX co-founder focused his latest write-up on how far the crypto market can go if it captures a portion of the centralized market.
He zeroed in on the failing traditional banking model. Available data shows that the banking index around the world has been performing poorly despite government intervention. According to him, “Banks who privatize profits and socialize losses haven’t managed to enrich their shareholders.” On the flip side, these institutions would have been sitting on gains if they embraced the technological improvements offered by blockchain technology. He wrote:
The equity market is shouting that the traditional banking business model is broken [...]Every product and service offered by a bank can be replicated and improved upon by a decentralized service powered by a public blockchain. I believe this replication can happen at a lower cost on a macro scale.
To put things in context, banking institutions receive around $2.68 trillion from customers. This accounts for 2% to 3% of the world’s GDP. Beyond this, audit and accountancy services cost up to $87.09 billion. Hayes believes that as blockchain solutions go mainstream, these values will tend towards zero.
Ethereum is the answer
Now to Haye’s $20k price target for Ethereum, he opines that no other public smart contract-based blockchain has been able to beat Ethereum.
Ethereum is the most developed, decentralised smart contract network. Even though the gas fees are currently astronomical, it is a good problem to have. No other public smart contract-enabled blockchain operates at the scale of Ethereum. When they do, I will refresh this analysis.
But away from the argument of Ethereum’s scalability and its current high transaction costs, Hayes thinks that Ethereum could reach astronomical numbers if it can capture a percentage of the 5-year average earnings of financial institutions.
At just 0.5%, the price of ETH could rise by 10 times, putting it at above $20,000. But while this figure may seem like a long stretch, the key lies in DeFi solutions, according to Hayes.
I am very certain that DeFi can take away at least 0.50% of activity from CeFi. Can DeFi exhibit an even higher degree of success? Absolutely.