Bitcoin could flop like VHS competitor Betamax, tech investor Glenn Hutchins says

Finance


As the cryptocurrency market matures, bitcoin could be pushed out by competitors the same way the video cassette tape format Betamax lost out to rival VHS as home entertainment technology evolved during the 1980s, according to one tech investor.

Bitcoin could turn out to be Betamax,” North Island Chairman Glenn Hutchins told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday.

Sony introduced Betamax in 1975. The product battled JVC’s VHS format over which would become the dominant device consumers used to record and watch movies and other videos across the world. VHS would emerge the victor. Sony officially ended shipments of Betamax in 2015.

Hutchins, who is also a director of AT&T, said it’s likely that at least one digital currency ultimately prevails. In this case, the VHS, or winner, could be a bitcoin alternative like XRP, ether or litecoin.

“The token of exchange at the heart of the math solution that leads the technology will be there,” said Hutchins, who is also part-owner of the Boston Celtics basketball team. “Different tokens will be used for different applications.”

Instead of digital gold, he sees bitcoin as a more utilitarian metal.

“I think it’s more like copper, like an industrial metal that’s used for a purpose to drive an outcome,” Hutchins said. “There will be a token that’s used just like there’s an industrial metal that’s used for wiring.”

As of Wednesday, bitcoin still made up more than 36 percent of the global market share among cryptocurrencies, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com. Ethereum is the next biggest, at 17 percent of global market share, followed by XRP, which made up 7 percent.



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