Bitcoin Magazine

Show Menu
drevil

Time is Running Out for Mark Williams Prediction of a $10 Bitcoin

If there is a villain to bitcoin, Mark Williams would likely be named. He infamously made the prediction, in December 2013, when he declared bitcoin was not an innovation but a “smoke and mirrors deception”. At the time, bitcoin was still trading near $1,000.00. He went on to predict that by mid-year 2014 the price of bitcoin would pop by 99% and be trading for less than $10.00. Bitcoin chaos ensued on the bitcoin forums.

The attention he suddenly received brought more attention from mainline news agencies.  He didn’t seem to be promoting his new book: Longwood Covered Courts and The Rise of American Tennis. It strangely enough wasn’t found listed on the New York Times best seller section or Amazon.com, but if one was fascinated by the subject of covered tennis courts there may be a copy of it to be found here.

williams

When not predicting bitcoin’s ill fate, his day job is teaching economy classes at Boston University where his former students gave him mixed reviews. This being the case, many in the bitcoin world have wondered, “What is in it for Mark Williams”? Some have theorized he was simply riding the popularity of bitcoin’s rise and found his dissenting words brought him sudden attention. Perhaps it was simply at this point in his career he longed to be… relevant.

For the few people in the world who are paying attention to bitcoin, many remain sidelined. They watch the battle of ideas and likely remain largely confused. Mr. Williams found himself providing quotes affirming many reporters’ confirmation bias against bitcoin. Financial experts were likely embarrassed to miss the call on bitcoin which they commonly referred to as the next beanie babies, or tulip bulbs but may go down as the biggest investment story of their lifetime. Rightfully, their clients and viewers may some day wonder…”How in the world did you miss that“?  When the time comes for contract renewals and reviews they now have somebody in their back pockets to point their fingers at.  Perhaps he’s been their naive “patsy” all along.

Exaggerations

Mr. Williams became a great example of a bitcoin antagonist. In front of cameras and reporters his exaggerated warnings about bitcoin were repeated and echoed by several news sources. His comments found their way into minds of investors who watch the financial news programs and read the websites. They listened to Mr. Williams’ radical rants about bitcoin being an Existential Threat to humanity. That particular phrase is usually reserved for nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.  His penchant for exaggeration didn’t stop there. In the Committee on Small Business hearing, he gave testimony that bitcoin’s price increase of 9,000% was never seen on this planet – or any planet. Quick, somebody get Carl Sagan on the line.

Some things he got wrong:

  1. He told only half the truth: He stated facts about merchants not being able to accept it because it was too volatile.

Retailers typically work on tight margins and the immense volatility of the e-currency could eliminate all their profit or even result in losses. In this bitcoin world of uncertainty and risk, commerce would ultimately decline and stone-age bartering would increase. “Naturally, as bitcoin price swings increased, the number of businesses willing to accept e-currency risk would decline

He doesn’t admit that merchants sign up with payment processors like Coinbase and BitPay who convert the bitcoin to dollars immediately. He only admitted to these services in a Committee on Small Business hearing under further followup questioning later on.

  1. He stated that a computer program running a steady currency supply was “farcical”.

To assume currency can be computer generated, run in a decentralized manner and outside of the central banking system and controls is farcical and economically dangerous.

Many believe It was thinking like this that lead to the financial meltdown in 2007/2008. The advice from several financial experts stated that there was too much money in the system trying to find a home. (Literally and figuratively). Nobel Peace Prizewinner for economics Milton Friedman himself recommended using a currency system only needing a computer to control currency with mathematics. This would largely eliminate the need for a Federal Reserve. Not surprisingly, somebody working for the Fed would find this idea threatening to their “gravy train”, and therefore must be dismissed.

  1. He actually defends the current banking system of money transfer between banks that take three to five business days. He told the International Business Times:

“When we think about where eBay is right now, the backbone of PayPal is the ACH system, which is tried, true, and stable. When we compare that to bitcoin, it [bitcoin] isn’t stable.”

We see that banks are now rethinking the system of transfer that is still in use with technology dating from the 1970s – long before the internet. Perhaps the new payment train has already left the station with Williams still standing on the old banking rails.

4.      He claims that 90% of bitcoin is hoarded. Although how he could possibly know dead bitcoin from those available for sale is still a mystery. He later admits we don’t even know who owns them. The bitcoin referenced could easily be “legally dead” on a long buried hard drive. There have been no reports of him with shovel-in-hand trying to recover them.

5.    In his version of the world, central banks always know best. He’s a product of standard Keynesian economic thinking. This theory provides excuses for unlimited budget deficits and no debt ceilings. They essentially have no problem if debt is never to be repaid, or the debt becomes worthless through inflation.

For currency to be adopted as a medium of exchange there has to be trust in the ability to honor the underlying obligation and the ability for central banking policy to control inflation.

Even officials at the Federal Reserve realize the situation they’ve created is a ticking time bomb.  We’ve seen this before…see socialism and the economic theory used by list of currencies that ended in hyperinflation and ruined currency systems.

He does not admit that most of the world remains unbanked and has been completely left out of the system. To these people, their countries’ central banks have already failed them. We can now see that other central banks have begun to shift their attitudes without first consulting with him. They don’t appear to share Williams view of impending doom. His screams of “The Sky Is Falling!” seem to be met with ambivalence from those same central bankers he appears to believe he is protecting.  Cue the crickets.

Bitcoin community responds.

andre

Many bitcoin fans have been waiting for the day to arrive for Williams to “eat crow” and admit he was wrong.  Williams is now being referred to by some in the bitcoin community by the nickname “Professor Bitcorn”. A dedicated website was created and includes a real-time countdown for the expected final hour of his prediction (ending on July 1). The name “Bitcorn” that is referenced came from his miss-spoken word for bitcoin used in the hearing. Many bitcoiners have made unanswered wagers for Williams to put his money where his mouth is. If he was confident enough to meet these challenges and happened to be right, he might have some serious money on his hands.

South Carolina Representative Mulvaney puts it in perspective.

fife

The silliness of his manic bitcoin predictions and declarations that bitcoin was in a massive bubble was summed up nicely by Representative Mulvaney at the Small Merchant hearing.  He simply asked point blank: “So What”?  (56:20 minute mark). To his point, who cares?  He echoed what a lot of people were thinking; “Why was he raising such a fuss” ? Coinbase admitted their internet merchant penetration was still less than 1% of all internet merchants  doing business. It also was just a blip on the screen for brick and mortar locations. Who exactly was Williams intending to help?

Williams stated that it would make a big difference for the 47 people who presumably owned 29% of all bitcoin. Forty.   Seven.  People.  These were the same people he had just moments earlier emphatically accused of being “hoarders”. These were people that, if they still owned the private keys to access the bitcoin, bought or mined them for pennies or less. He also was rising to the defense of the people who owned the top 1,000 wallets containing the most bitcoin. His version of the Existential Threat of Earth had now boiled down to 1,000 people. These are people who likely heard the mantra to not invest into bitcoin more than they could afford to lose. They presumably knew the high risk for the possible high reward.  It wasn’t immediately clear why he wasn’t making the same kind of effort for the victims of the estimated 190 billion in credit card fraud being conducted each year.

The fading relevance of Mark Williams.

The days are winding to a close for his prediction that we only note in this article because of the breathless headlines it took on six months ago. He has become quieter regarding bitcoin lately and the requests for his opinions seem to be fading. The world has seemingly moved on and ignored his dire predictions as new investments and start up businesses are buzzing with excitement and new jobs. Even his beloved Federal Reserve is recognizing the potential boom in global commerce. That must have stung.  The results of his efforts being relevant in the world of digital currencies appears to be fading.  History doesn’t look to be in his favor.

Williams may soon be joining the assembly of short-sided critics who scoffed at the Wright Brothers flying machine. Ben Franklin, Tomas Edison, and Einstein each had their cynics and disbelievers as well. Who were these skeptics?  They are the forgotten, left in the dustbins of history and long since forgotten. The reward for being a critic or pessimists of grand ideas is negligible. Even if their prognostics are right it’s unlikely that anybody will be writing songs about them. His legacy might only be “road kill” as the bitcoin freight train races forward to its destiny and stops for no one.

It may soon be time to start a new timer countdown in honor of Mark T. Williams. This time we may appropriately set it for 15 minutes. That will be countdown of his last 15 minutes of fame believed by many as the time allotment of fame each of us are allowed in this world. Meanwhile, the creative geniuses that are now diligently creating bitcoin’s future will not slow down to reflect. They’ve got a new world in their imaginations for which they must prepare for us.

galaxy

By

Mark has spent close to 25 years working and advising in various IT roles for government, retail and healthcare industries. He graduated with a BS in Business Management from the University of Phoenix which taught nothing about bitcoin. He's into hardware and has a thing for Indian motorcycles.

Get Top Stories Weekly

We respect your email privacy

  • techenomics

    Bitcoin’s price did indeed crash since December 2013. From over $1,000 to under $370. It won’t be surprise for it to go down further to $10 with this kind of volatility and price manipulation.

    • Joshua Crampton

      Lol…you apparently aren’t very keen on economics which makes me think your username must just be a joke. Bitcoin’s price crashed because of a security flaw and the fear it created in it’s wake. The fact that it was able to rebound as quickly as it did is a solid indication of how powerful bitcoin is. Have fun watching the train go by. I’m on board, I’ll waive you off. Good bye :-)

      • techenomics

        The train has already gone by, it won’t go up any more but it will crash again. LOL.

        • https://ibwt.co.uk/ IBWT

          Considering the avg price has gone up nearly 50% over the last week (and we’re still under 1% of global adoption) … I question your logic. Also, someone above linked about a 5 btc bet for the doubters like yourself ;)

          • techenomics

            Exactly, volatility of 50% does not help your argument. It’s utterly dysfunctional as a currency or asset!

          • https://ibwt.co.uk/ IBWT

            Clearly millions of individuals and 10’s of thousands of businesses disagree with you.

          • techenomics

            That’s a minuscule fraction of everyone else. Rational people and the majority, on the other hand, do their due diligence first.

          • https://ibwt.co.uk/ IBWT

            We are under 1% of global adoption and the rate of adoption has steadily grown and increased by any and all charts, and its been *5* years compared to 500 (fiat) years.

            Give it another 3-5 years ;)

            But hey, you keep telling yourself whatever floats your boat.

            And it is ironically funny that you’re posting your arguments on an article that is poking fun at someone else who was saying nearly exactly the same things a year ago.

            $10? Hah, as it climbs and climbs and climbs

          • Dimitri Andre

            And we didn’t have to threaten, lie, cheat and manipulate whole populations just for them to ‘choose’ to use it as well..

          • Mark Rees

            It’s true, it’s hard to use as a currency right now without payment processors. But Mark Williams can’t decide if it is or isn’t. For fun, watch that entire hearing and count how many times he says it ISN’T a currency – and then around the 56:20 mark – count how many times he CALLS it a currency. Maybe make a drinking game of it?

  • http://www.DPL-Surveillance-Equipment.com/ Monty Henry

    In my opinion.. Bitcoin’s intrinsic value is orders of magnitude higher than $10.00 so I really can’t see it:

    (1). Going down to $10.00
    and
    (2). Staying at $10.00 for even one day if it ever dropped to that level. Value investors simply would rush in to buy tons of it and thus boosting the price back up again.

  • Mark Rees

    Any Takers? Start a wager at http://bitbet.us/new/ and start a new bet that the price will be greater that $10 on July 1. Would there be anybody here that would take that bet (meaning you think it will be less than $10 on July 1). Minimum bet is 5 btc. I’ll be watching to see who’s brave enough.

    • Krogoth Alexander

      The haters always talk but never put their Fiat where their mouth is.

    • techenomics

      I’m betting it will be lower than $200 in the next few months and I’m shorting it *IF* it ever hits $800. I’ll just leave all the pumping and price manipulations work in my favor.

      • Rothbard

        How do you “short” Bitcoin? Do you find somebody dumb enough to lend you actual Bitcoins?

        • Martijn

          Bitfinex lets you do this.

  • http://coreychambers.com/ Corey Chambers

    While Mark makes some poignant point about how wrong anti-Bitcoin Mark Williams is, Rees is wasting his breath with such a lengthy article about a lowly finance teacher. Rees has a strong grasp of the big Bitcoin picture, while Williams embarrassingly does not understand the technology or economics of Bitcoin.

    I understand Bitcoin thoroughly only because of my experience in computer programming, payment processing, economics and business. The real total cost of using credit cards and western union is a very high 5% to 10% or more. The cost of using Bitcoin can very easily stay under 1%. It does not take much brain power to figure out the value of Bitcoin. Bitcoin has already changed the lives of many thousands of individuals. When you begin add all of the other amazing international payment transmission, tracking, authentication and complex multi-layer programmable transaction capability of Bitcoin’s cryptographic ledger technology, the extreme value of Bitcoin becomes world-changing.

    And by the way, with all this wonderfulness, given enough time, Bitcoin can and will eventually be worthless. But so will the U.S. dollar. The trick is to know when and what the signals will be.

    Corey Chambers, The Bitcoin Blogs

  • mark williams

    Bitcoiner’s need more of our own language. Maybe we can use his nick name in a new way. for example: “The price in bitcoin has been going up so fast…it’s making me bitcorny.”

    • guest

      Or when you are using transparent wallets and you can see the bitcoin underneath = you’re are looking at bitcornography.

  • itsme

    This article has been a pleasure to read, thank you

  • Jonjon Taka

    Good rebuttal of M.W. Luckily it wasn’t too hard even for a non specialist to see Mark Williams was off the mark and missed or intentionally omitted lots of facts about bitcoin. People need to stop believing in “authority figures” and start trusting they can do their own research and reach their own conclusion. University professors are often so indoctrinated in their narrow field of research, so attached to frameworks, it’s almost impossible for most of them to escape the prison of their mind.

  • phaed

    Please learn to put a start time to your YouTube links. All you had to do was add “&t=56m20s” to the end of it.

    • Mark Rees

      That’s a great tip – thank you. I’ll do that in the future :-)

  • Hard Btc

    Nice one, great article, good to see it’s got a mention on Coindesk.

    http://www.coindesk.com/mark-t-williams-bitcoin-bulls-time-will-vindicate-prediction/

    Regards

    David Bailey

  • David Leger

    Great read !

  • Tusk_Bilasimo

    Great Article! “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

  • waddle duck

    Great article!! As a member of a brand new platform (www.virtex.com), I spend lots of time reading negative press, but I loved this!