During a panel (“What’s Next? Crypto’s Past, Present, and Future”) discussion — moderated by Bloomberg Senior Editor Anna Irrera — at CCData’s one-day crypto conference CCDAS 2023 (held in London, UK), Bitcoin educator Dan Held shared his perspective on the role of speculation in the adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Dan Held is a well-known figure in the cryptocurrency landscape, with a career spanning over a decade in the sector. Currently affiliated with Trust Machines as a Marketing Partner, Held has a history of making significant impacts wherever he has set foot. Notably, he played a pivotal role at Kraken Digital Asset Exchange, where he led initiatives that expanded the team and amplified the company’s global reach.

Before his stint at Kraken, Held was instrumental in the success of Interchange, a startup that caught Kraken’s attention and was subsequently acquired. This move was seen as a strategic play to enhance Kraken’s offerings for institutional clients.

Held’s expertise isn’t limited to the crypto world; he has also left his mark in the broader tech industry. At Uber, he spearheaded efforts that significantly increased app installs, optimizing the company’s presence across various app stores.

Earlier roles include a productive period at ChangeTip, where he focused on integrating the platform with social networks to broaden its reach. He also had a tenure at Blockchain.com, where he was a driving force behind the company’s rapid user growth and team expansion.

His first entrepreneurial endeavor, ZeroBlock, was a testament to his ability to quickly scale products. The platform saw rapid user growth and was eventually acquired, adding another feather to Held’s cap.

According to Held, speculation has been the primary force behind the adoption of Bitcoin and other digital assets, particularly in the years 2013, 2017, and 2021. He emphasized that speculation should not be viewed negatively, as it is a natural human behavior when encountering a new asset class.

Earlier today, at CCDAS 2023, Held drew parallels between the speculative behavior observed in the cryptocurrency market and the early days of equities. He cited the example of the East India Company, whose speculative bubble led to a significant reaction from the Bank of England. The bank went on to prohibit the issuance of new publicly traded companies for a century.

In Held’s view, speculation is a common occurrence across various asset types and protocols. He questioned the utility of native tokens in decentralized applications, suggesting that most tokens serve primarily as speculative instruments rather than solving consumer problems.

Held further argued that speculation itself serves as a form of utility. He noted that all market activities, including borrowing and lending, are inherently speculative. When people opt to invest in new digital assets, they are essentially engaging in speculative behavior, which Held believes is the true utility of these assets.