Thanks for the post - it poses some very interesting questions.
One often overlooked attraction of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is their relative safety with respect to some unstable fiat currencies or states - during the early months/years of Bitcoin there was a notable inflow from people trying to shield and preserve capital (from Greece, Syria, Cyprus, Venezuela etc.) who were able to safely do this in a way that had not been previously possible.
It may be misplaced faith, but there is often a perception that Bitcoin/crypto's are a safe place away from increasingly desperate central banks with perverse monetary policies; ultra-low/zero interest rate policies have created all sorts of mis-allocation of capital, leading to massively inflated stock, bond and property (plus other) markets.
Ultra-low interest rates have also led to a massive increase in global debt (some indications are well in excess of $200trillion or 300% of GDP), which adds to the increasingly precipitous financial situation that the world faces; so if stocks, bonds, property and many other assets are a little shaky, and certain states introduce capital controls on banks then crypto's begin to look like a sane choice for even a small proportion of your portfolio.
The idea that it is possible to shelter some capital beyond the realm of this potential financial catastrophe is quite appealing; however, due to an increasing inflow of currency, the crypto market itself has become rapidly inflated and is looking increasingly disconnected from it's original philosophy. Bitcoin (like other cryptos) has encountered a number of issues along the way and there will no doubt be further problems before it either collapses or stabilises, but since there are still a considerable proportion of participants that are "invested" in Bitcoin for capital preservation rather than speculative gain, it is unlikely that the value of all cryptos will fall to zero (unless there is massive co-ordinated government intervention!)
Probably the most critical consideration for the growth of the crypto's (and any market) is that of capital flow - we have seen this clearly within the crytpo market since when Bitcoin encounters a problem (like the recent segwit2x fork) then other cryptos benefited considerably (BCH, ETH etc), as such it is often useful to look at the individual and total market capitalisation. It took nearly 5 years for total market cap to reach $50bn (around May 2017) then 6 months later we are approaching $250bn (have a look at the charts here.. coinmarketcap.com/charts/ ).
With this in mind, the question "what is bitcoin worth?" is a factor of the amount of capital that it is able to attract. It can be seen that a wobble with the bitcoin price around early November resulted in a 20% fall, and around $25bn flowed out, a lot of which went into BCH, pushing the market cap above ETH (for a time) and the price increased correspondingly. Now if we consider that the total value of all global stocks is in excess of $70trn, a 5% flow from this would equate to $3.5trn or around 14 times the current total market cap of all cryptocurrencies, which would put Bitcoin at over $100,000.
It would be necessary for there to be a lot of technological developments before BTC was capable of supporting this level, however the global financial markets could very conceivably encounter some bumpy terrain over the coming period, which could in turn stimulate capital flows into perceived safe havens such as cryptocurrencies, so as far fetched as it seems there could still be a long way for Bitcoin and other cryptos to climb.
Other than that, I have two contests -
If people are using BTC as a hedge to their local currency, wouldn't they want to be able to spend it in some way? While daily market trading data supports the claim of majority holding on cryptocurrenties (>200B market cap, less than 6B on daily exchange or ~3% compared to USD market's 10.6%). Yet, hardly any transactions happen in cryptocurrency and there doesn't appear to be a huge demand for it, just yet. So it does seem majority are holding, but how are they paying for daily expenses if this is the case? Speculators could make up a large portion of the hold position.
Second, money in does not equal money out, and vice versa. Just because we pay 200B into cryptocurrencies (or any asset) doesn't mean 200B is stored there. We could wake up tomorrow and decide it has absolutely no value and try to cut our losses.
I think it's definitely a bubble. With historical knowledge of how bubbles came to be and subsequent burst, I'm just hoping unsuspecting people don't get burned. But generally it is the unsuspecting which are left holding the bag.
As a take away, hopefully communities can build to spread/share real news that drives these prices to what they are. After all, for cryptocurrencies to attain a staple status, they'll need to be reliable and widely trusted - which requires a cohesive community.
.i want not fud but i think the reality is obviously enjoyed when we talk about bitcoin, surely by the sames that have interests that bitcoin rise whatever the price.