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Watch: Tone Vays on Bitcoin Narratives, Bear Market, DeFi, NFTs, and Ethereum

Eimantas Žemaitis
Last updated: | 11 min read
Tone Vays (on the left) showing off his Bitcoin watch, and Matt Zahab, the host of Cryptonews Podcast at Blockchain Economy Expo 2021.


Renowned bitcoin (BTC) analyst, trader, and producer of the Uncofiscatable Conference Tone Vays expects a somewhat shorter and milder crypto bear market compared to the one in 2018 if the price of BTC continues its “slow and steady” climb upwards and there’s no exponential explosion.

“If bitcoin stays under USD 150,000 – USD 200,000 over the next 12 to 16 months – that’s a slow and steady rise, and a slow and steady rise should not have a catastrophic fall,” he told in an exclusive interview at the Blockchain Economy Expo 2021 conference in Dubai in November.

In such a scenario, Vays expects BTC to continue rising for another year or two until it declines for a year but at least it wouldn’t be a “catastrophic crash.” However, such a slow and steady decline could hurt other hot areas of crypto, such as DeFi projects or non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

“This slow and steady decline could really hurt the altcoin space, the DeFi space, the NFT space because eventually, someone will stop paying USD 8 million for a picture of a monkey – digitally created or recreated,” Tone Vays said.

Speaking of other areas of crypto, Tone Vays reiterated his skeptical position stating that in his view “DeFi and NFTs are just a reincarnation of 2017.” He was also not excited about Ethereum (ETH) upgrades, stating he’s still waiting for Ethereum to “technologically implode.” 

“Ethereum – eh, it’s just another app on your phone,” he said.

When asked about DeFi and NFTs on Bitcoin, Vays said that if DeFi and the NFT spaces do survive into the future, they will eventually all be anchored into Bitcoin blockchain because other protocols simply aren’t technologically secure. In his words, “everything else is just around until some hacker proves that it’s irrelevant.” (Learn more: The Growing Defi Market on Bitcoin: What’s Yielding Already?;  NFTs ‘on Bitcoin’: Yes, That’s a Thing!)

Vays was way more optimistic about Bitcoin adoption in El Salvador. He admitted that he was worried about the announcement at first but is currently glad about the way things are going there. 

“I’m very happy that they did it, even though it’s definitely scary, and I feel like it could’ve led down a bad, rough path but the president has stuck to his guns and has navigated it flawlessly,” he said. 

In his view, the next potential bitcoin hubs will also be located in South America and Africa, as “the West is going in the completely opposite direction.”

According to him, the greatest challenge for Bitcoin adoption remains misinformation. Despite that, he still predicts BTC hitting between USD 90,000 and USD 92,000 in January, and somewhere around USD 125,000 in January of 2023. Today, BTC trades below USD 60,000.

Watch the full interview, where Tone Vays discusses Bitcoin narratives, trends, DeFi, NFTs, a possible bear market, El Salvador’s experiment, challenges for BTC adoption, and competition with Ethereum. 

The interview is brought to you by Matt Zahab and Eimantas Žemaitis.

The transcript of the interview:

Tone, a couple of questions to kick things off: how are Bitcoin narratives changing, and how Bitcoin might be viewed in two or three years and the longer term?

Bitcoin narratives are not changing that much. Bitcoin continues to be demonized by both the political class and also continues to be downplayed by the entire crypto industry. But Bitcoin will continue to prevail because it is the most stable, most decentralized, most secure protocol in the digital space. 

And how are these trends, these narratives are being affected by various trends in the crypto space such as DeFi and NFTs which we’ve really seen blowing up in the last couple of months?

To me, DeFi and NFTs are just a reincarnation of 2017. I have not seen any real technological innovation or any real long-term substance in neither DeFi nor NFTs. I don’t find them to be decentralized, I don’t find them to be innovative. Bitcoin as an innovation for true digital scarcity. You can’t have an infinite number of digital scarcities – it doesn’t actually make sense. So while they are fun for this bull run, when the bitcoin bear market eventually comes, and bitcoin takes a 50-60% nosedive, this other stuff is gonna fall 90-95% and will probably never recover just like 98% of the 2017 ICOs. 

How do you think this next Bitcoin bear market will look like compared to the one in 2017?

I don’t think it’s gonna be as long nor as deep. Now that view could change if we start to go exponentially higher on the price of bitcoin. As long as bitcoin continues the slow and steady rise – and bitcoin has been rising slow and steady – it went up a little bit too fast at the end of 2020, after the big crash in early 2020, but we’re at the same price now as we were back in April – so it hasn’t gone up that much yet. So if bitcoin stays under USD 150,000 – 200,000 over the next 12 to 16 months – that’s a slow and steady rise, and a slow and steady rise should not have a catastrophic fall. So bitcoin will probably be rising for another year to two years, and then will probably be declining for about a year after that but it’s not gonna crash all that hard. But this slow and steady decline could really hurt the altcoin space, the DeFi space, the NFT space because eventually, someone will stop paying USD 8 million for a picture of a monkey – digitally created or recreated. 

How has El Salvador done with the Bitcoin experiment as of so far and what advice would you give to the president? 

Wow. So when the news broke I didn’t think it would be as important as it actually is, at first. And then I thought that maybe the way he did it was a bit of a mistake. Personally, I would’ve preferred the country putting a fraction of their nation’s wealth into bitcoin and not trying to push bitcoin onto the citizens. Create wealth for the nation, and then the president uses that wealth to better the people. But he went straight for legal tender, which, at first, seems challenging for the population to understand the new currency, people are demonizing him as now everyone has to accept bitcoin – they’re helping it. But when it’s all said and done and the smoke cleared it’s absolutely incredible. I can now go to any country in the world and freely talk about Bitcoin because if anyone questions it, I can say: “Really? I’m I not allowed to talk about the national currency of El Salvador? How is that different from the national currency of India? Or China?” So, it makes it so much easier, it has given bitcoin amazing attention, and other countries are now paying attention. I think by the end of the decade, most, if not all Latin America is going to be using Bitcoin. It will make it easier for commerce between countries and within nations, they’re gonna see how many entrepreneurs are gonna be moving to El Salvador. The El Salvador conference is happening right now this week [November 15–20] – I wasn’t able to make it there but it’s on my list to go there this year – so its absolutely incredible, I’m very happy that they did it, even though it’s definitely scary, and I feel like it could’ve led down a bad, rough path but the president has stuck to his guns and has navigated it flawlessly.

Any other countries or continents that will follow suit over the next two or three years?

I really think that Latin America and Africa are the only potentials for this. I do not see the west embracing Bitcoin. The west is going in the completely opposite direction – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, all of Europe – they’re going in the opposite direction. I don’t want to get too political but when I was ten years old my family fled communist Russia for America, and after thirty years of being an American citizen I am now not happy with where we are. I am looking towards Africa, I am looking towards Latin America, I’m looking towards UAE which is where we’re speaking right now. Prior to the whole COVID situation I loved Singapore, I loved Hong Kong – I don’t think I’ll ever be in those countries again. It’s all happening in the UAE, I think it’s all gonna be happing in Africa and Latin America. For individual countries, Paraguay has potential, Argentina has potential, Brasil has potential – mostly because of its very progressive president – and we’ll see what happens after that. 

What are the main challenges for bitcoin mass adoption right now?    

Just FUD – fear, uncertainty, and doubt. I have no fear, no uncertainty, and no doubt about the future of Bitcoin. I believe it will be the global reserve currency – maybe it needs another ten years to get there. And the biggest challenge as it was in my very first article, maybe the second article I’ve ever written about Bitcoin and crypto in 2014 was “the biggest threat to Bitcoin is misinformation,” and that is still today, the biggest threat to mass adoption is misinformation.

How do you think the upcoming Ethereum upgrade might affect BTC’s position as an investment and store of value? 

I think it can only help. I’m still waiting for Ethereum to finally technologically implode – it is an unscalable technology, it is not decentralized, and they are making it less decentralized by removing mining. I’m dumbfounded as to how Ethereum has managed to survive for so long and I know a lot of people refer to me as like the Peter Schiff of the crypto space or the Nouriel Roubini or Paul Krugman. The difference between me and them is that I actually understand the underlying technology because I was around before Ethereum was even created. So I understand exactly what Ethereum is, why it was created, what it does, and it makes absolutely no sense and it has no reason to exist into the future. Anything that Ethereum can offer, Bitcoin can offer as well – it just took a little longer to get there. Because if Ethereum implodes, goes belly-up, and the value of Ethereum goes to zero, Vitalik will just send a text message saying “I’m sorry for your loss, guys, I’ll try better next time.” Bitcoin does not have that ability. Bitcoin cannot fail – it is actually important to civilization. Ethereum – ah, it’s just another app on your phone. 

What role might Bitcoin play in DeFi and NFT space?

 If DeFi and the NFT spaces do survive into the future, and there’s a small percent chance that it will, but it can, it will eventually all be anchored into Bitcoin. Right now, all of these NFTs are recorded on some guy’s website, and if he forgets to pay his domain bill, there will be absolutely no record of that NFT. They all say how they are anchored into the blockchain – they’re not. It’s somebody’s Excel spreadsheet on a domain site. So there’s absolutely no technological certainty in any of these projects- none of the DeFi, none of the NFTs – unless they are anchored into Bitcoin. If they are anchored into Bitcoin, we can at least then move the conversation into talking about the merits of the NFT, and not have it be a laughing stock that is just on someone’s web server. And those that understand how this stuff actually functions technologically, and what was the actual innovation of Bitcoin – proof-of-work mining – is the only way to understand how none of the NFTs are actually technologically secure – they can’t be. Only Bitcoin is technologically secure. Everything else is just around until some hacker proves that it’s irrelevant. 

BTC price prediction for January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023.

So, January 1ist 2022 – I’m thinking somewhere around USD 90,000 – 92,000.

And January 1, 2023?

I think it will be somewhere around USD 125,000 but after it has made a top above USD 150,000.

Last but not least, I’d love it if you could show our fans your watch – it is absolutely incredible. Where did you get that bad boy and where could I get one? 

So these bad boys were originally created in 2015, and they’re an NFT – you can see it printed right there on the watch – 1 out of 200. This is as good of an NFT as anything you’ll buy in the digital form because NFTs only have one thing that makes it an NFT – the reputation of the creator of the NFT. So the reputation of the watch creator is printed right there on the watch as to which number out of a number it is. When he sells out he comes up with a new design until he sells that out. He has already sold three slightly different designs and is working on a fourth. What you’re looking for is a website called or google ‘bitcoin watch’ and they’re not expensive – they’re only about USD 800. But he only accepts bitcoin so you’ll have to live with that decision for the rest of your life. 

Tone, thanks a lot, appreciate your time, all the best.     
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