Bitcoin had a good 2019, doubling in price and outperforming the likes of Apple, Tesla, Netflix, and Google—with many confident it will move far higher in years to come.
Bitcoin’s performance over the last 12 months has been especially good for one-year old Izabella Bowles, who has more than one bitcoin, worth over $8,000, in the college fund started by her father, Peter, when she was born in January last year.
The bitcoin college fund, which Peter has promised to “hodl,” a crypto community term for not selling regardless of how high or low the bitcoin price goes, has performed better than some of the biggest stock market darlings—and Peter is confident bitcoin will be both a big part of everyday life when Izabella turns 18 and worth far more than it is today.
“I wouldn’t have predicted 18 years ago there would be kids reviewing toys on YouTube and making millions,” said Peter, who is chief creative officer for London-based Clarity PR which works with “disruptive” tech firms, including the like of neo-bank Monzo.
“I feel like that about bitcoin. It’s hard to imagine how Izabella will be using bitcoin when she goes to college and how it will have changed the world but I hope that when she’s 18 colleges might even accept bitcoin for fee payments.”
After Izabella was born in London last year, Peter placed a notice in the Times of London newspaper, the same newspaper Satoshi Nakamoto took his now infamous “Chancellor on the brink of second bailout” headline from, announcing her birth along with her bitcoin account address.
The address has now seen over 300 donations from around the world. When Izabella turned one-year old this month Peter placed a birthday announcement in the Times, noting bitcoin’s performance compared to the U.K.’s blue chip FTSE index, up 16%, iPhone-maker Apple’s share price, up 85%, and electric car-maker Tesla’s 29% rise.
The announcement added: “Hodl. Love Daddy.”
While many other tech stocks climbed in 2019, others struggled. Movie-streaming service Netflix treaded water and search giant Google added some 35%.
“I think bitcoin is a more interesting way of doing something like this than other alternatives,” said Peter, who back in 2002 did something similar for his baby cousin Robbie, making her at the time the world’s youngest blogger.
“Often people in those have somehow bought shares in Microsoft or Apple in the early days and this funds their crackpot schemes in the future,” Peter wrote on a Reddit comment thread for a post he made marking Izabella’s first birthday.
“Indeed, the year I was born both Nike and Apple went on the stock market the same month (December 1980). I’ve always thought it’s a fun idea to set-up a fund for someone when they’re born. In Britain a lot of people do National Savings Bonds which are a pretty useless investment.”
“A slightly riskier investment is better and more fun in my view. Bitcoin is risky, but every time I’ve called a piece of tech as transformative for the future, such as social media, the impact has gone far beyond my initial thoughts. Bitcoin is risky, but it’s still very early stage,” Peter wrote, adding Izabella’s birthday notice was placed using a Coinbase Visa debit card.
Many bitcoin bulls point to developments such as Coinbase’s debit card as evidence of the progress bitcoin and cryptocurrency has made over recent years.
This year will bring others. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey recently revealed he plans to spend time in Africa this year to help develop bitcoin and crypto businesses there.
The Intercontinental Exchange-owned Bakkt plans to launch a consumer-facing app to help retail customers transact with cryptocurrencies in the first half of this year.
Social media giant Facebook is moving ahead with its plans to launch its own answer to bitcoin, libra, later this year, aimed at developing countries.
“It’s possible Izabella’s bitcoin college fund with be worthless by the time she turns 18 but with the developments being made, I think that’s unlikely,” Peter said.