People new to Hedera who are trying to figure out what will drive HBAR's price higher in the long-run always make the same mistake - they focus on the demand from users without considering how this HBAR circulates nor do they consider the demand for HBAR from those supplying the network (node operators).
First, network users buy HBAR in order to support API calls. Follow the HBAR: A network user buys HBAR from an exchange and spends it to pay for network resources. A small portion of this HBAR is paid directly to the node that the transaction was submitted to and the rest of the HBAR flows into Hedera's treasury. Hedera then pays HBAR out of its treasury to node operators. In the early going, HBAR outflows to node operators will exceed inflows from network users; over time Hedera could decide to make inflows from users = outflows to node operators, or they could let inflows exceed outflows. Either way, HBAR is bought on the open market and it ends up in Hedera treasury or in node operators accounts; in both instances, HBAR is effectively removed from circulation since node operators are likely to let their stakes grow and not immediately sell their staking rewards. So, network users will be buying greater amounts of HBAR on exchanges while the circulating supply of HBAR is going down.
Second, as noted, Hedera will set the level of payouts to node operators. As use cases go on-line and transactions grow exponentially, payouts will go up. Think of those payouts as a dividend and it is easy to see why HBAR price will go up. If payouts equal $0.10/year (USD) per staked HBAR, and competitive yield-bearing assets were priced to yield 5%, then HBAR would trade up to $2 ($0.10/$2 = 5%). This is what will ultimately determine the price of HBAR, demand from investors who will buy HBAR up to prices that support the required yield. $0.50/year per staked HBAR = $10. That is the logic and the math.
The focus on the demand from network users misses the bigger picture. The conce...