The exponential rise of bitcoin is reminiscent of the beginnings of Skype for Michael Jackson, former COO of the multi-billion-dollar communications enterprise.
“We’re seeing this tremendous interest from the rest of the world which is, for normal people, beginning to get terribly interesting,” he told CNBC in a telephone interview on December 6, 2017.
In Jackson’s own words, Skype began as an online communications platform that was highly technical, making it difficult for the average person to use. “All the tools were nerdy, and all the nerds used it,” he said.
The big leap for the company came when the creators were able to make it more user-friendly, allowing someone without any technical or IT knowledge to use it with ease. He expressed that, from his point of view, this event marked the real creation of Skype and the company hasn’t looked back ever since.
Discussing bitcoin, Mr. Jackson admitted that he did not feel the digital currency was at that stage yet.
That being said, Jackson is a firm believer in the value and potential applications of the cryptocurrency, being a Blockchain board member and a Blockchain Policy Initiative contributor. However, he also maintains that it is not possible to predict wherein the future of bitcoin lies.
Presently a partner at Mangrove Capital Partners, Jackson authored a report entitled Tokenisation: Implications for the Venture Capital Industry. Therein he outlined the importance and potential investment opportunities for initial coin offerings (ICOs). According to him, ICOs will become a standardized system through which capital can be raised – especially for start-up companies.
He also shared a Business Insider article on his LinkedIn page, in which the publication discussed his findings and shared a positive outlook on ICOs in general. In the article, Jackson reported that “If one had blindly invested €10,000 in every ICO, including the significant number of ICOs that failed, this would have delivered a +13.2x return.”
As the price of bitcoin surged to $20,000 on Coinbase on December 6, 2017, there has been further speculation about the digital currency being a bubble. Almost to echo these fears, the currency dropped soon after that, trading at $14,100 three days later on December 9, 2017.
Jackson, however, doesn’t believe that it is a bubble.
“I think if you look at the economics and the value behind all of this,” he said, “There’s tremendous upside in it. It’s not a zero-sum game, and it’s not necessarily a bubble.”
With the introduction of bitcoin futures, many believe that large amounts of money will be placed in bitcoin. Others believe that the price will drop dramatically during this time, which does seem to be the case at this stage.
According to Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Investment Partners, trading is likely to start slowly. Regardless of the initial outcome, bitcoin futures marks a new era for the 9-year-old digital currency.
Many have compared the rise of cryptocurrencies to the early stages of the internet. The difficulty comes in determining which companies the market will favor in the long-term. Deciphering between the Amazon’s and Skype’s of the crypto world is no easy task.