The other day Fidelity hosted a webinar covering investment opportunities in Bitcoin and showed off a graph that speculates a $100M price point for a single bitcoin by 2035.
Lots of finance and tech bigwigs have made bold price predictions — high and low — which rarely pan out.
What’s specifically interesting about Fidelity’s recent price prediction is the model they used to make it.
The pricing model is called Stock-to-Flow (S/F) and the idea behind the model is rather simple.
The stock-to-flow ratio (stock divided by flow) is a metric commonly used to quantify the scarcity, or hardness, of commodities. Stock is the existing supply of a commodity less the portion of supply that has been consumed or destroyed. Flow is the annual incremental production of new units. Together, the stock-to-flow ratio measures how many years of production are required to achieve the existing level of stock.
Commodities with a stock that is difficult to double due to a low rate of production relative to existing supply have historically served as superior stores of value. Such commodities are largely used for investment purposes, and occasionally industrial uses. On the other hand, consumable commodities that are susceptible to large increases in supply, are less effective in storing value.
S/F was popularized by an investor — under the psudonym “PlanB” — in a 2019 essay titled “Modeling Bitcoin Value with Scarcity“. (If you’re more of a podcast listener I recommend PlanB’s conversation with Natalie Brunell in the Coin Stories podcast.)
PlanB mapped this model to gold, silver, and other precious metals to accurately calculate their current market values.
What gives Bitcoin investors an advantage over other scarce investors is that the stocks and flows at any given time are transparent on the blockchain.
We know exactly how much bitcoin is in circulation today and how much will be added until mining no longer mints new Bitcoin in the year 2140.
Glassnode, a company that visualizes real-time bitcoin blockchain data, has a graph dedicated to measuring this relationship.
Obviously as a holder of bitcoin I’d love to see a 2000x return on Bitcoin in the next 15 years, but the fact that this projection suggests that there will be more money in bitcoin than the entire stock market might test this model’s limits.
Time will tell.