Bitcoin has come a long way since its first inception. Since then, the cryptocurrency and the underlying technology have become a widely-discussed topic in tech, finance and even politics.
With cryptocurrency having the potential to genuinely change how we use money, there are many people who are still "underestimating" it.
Bitcoin has "great potential left," said billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Here, rather than discussing Bitcoin's potential uses as a means of exchange, Thiel focused on its effectiveness as a store of value.
"I'm skeptical of most of them (cryptocurrencies), I do think people are a little bit … underestimating bitcoin especially because ... it's like a reserve form of money, it's like gold. You don't need to use it to make payments," he said.
Thiel compared the cryptocurrency bitcoin to precious metal, because "it's just a store of value."
"Bitcoin is mineable like gold, it's hard to mine, it's actually harder to mine than gold. And so in that sense it's more constrained," Thiel said.
"There is a certain finite amount of Bitcoin that can ever exist," continued Thiel. "Gold gets mined and mined and mined. Maybe there's a finite amount of gold in the world, but cryptocurrency is even more mathematical and regulated and nobody can change mathematics."
Thiel's statement has been echoed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who also reckons that Bitcoin is better than gold. He said that it all comes down to the finite supply of bitcoins. With only 21 million in existence, this means that when the supply runs out, the value skyrockets.
While the cryptocurrency has been frowned down upon by many governments and banks around the world, just because of its decentralized nature and popularity among criminals, some have started to embrace it.
Thiel that has long been one of the early proponents of Bitcoin. once said that Bitcoin has the potential to change the world. As one of the founders of PayPal, he recognized Bitcoin’s ability to revolutionize the currency area.
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal also see Bitcoin the same way. The investor once said that Bitcoin will "implode" one day.
To make sure Bitcoin becomes more resistant to shocks or manipulation, advocates want to further decentralize the process for mining the cryptocurrency.