2019 is well and truly in the books, and the "Crypto Predictions for 2020" editorials have long since flooded email inboxes, blogs and forums. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those. Instead, we want to cast our gaze back over the preceding 12 months and recap several fascinating events and trends that occurred. Whether you missed them the first time around or need reminding about their newsworthiness, you’ll want to read on.
1) The Crypto Credit Bubble
Back in October, a group of former Wall Street traders cast a pall on the success of crypto lending companies by predicting that the $5 billion crypto loan bubble was set to burst. Concerns centered around a lack of regulation, cheap credit and blind faith in the market’s strength. The growth of decentralized finance (DeFi), with its emphasis on open-source projects and accessible finance for all, undoubtedly ties in to this fear, not least since DeFi has grown by over 300% in the past year.
But while greed was largely responsible for the financial crash of 2008 (as well as the ICO slowdown), there are greed-free initiatives flourishing in this space. Cred is just one example. The decentralized global lending platform, which is affiliated with the Universal Protocol Alliance and headed by ex-PayPal Holdings Inc PYPL exec Dan Schatt, prides itself on its comprehensive regulatory and compliance framework. Last summer, Cred partnered with Bitcoin.com to give customers the opportunity to earn interest on their digital assets.
2) Libra In Limbo
Facebook Inc’s FB much touted Libra stablecoin was formally announced in June, but was soon enveloped in a tsunami of regulatory red tape, leading to a Congressional moratorium and a mass exodus of companies from the Libra Association – not least PayPal, Visa Inc V, eBay Inc EBAY and Stripe. What happens next is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, alternatives have come to light.
The aforementioned UPA’s Universal Dollar and Saga’s SGA token, which launched in December, are among them. The latter is a stablecoin initially backed by a basket of national currencies (mimicking the IMF’s SDR basket), and given that Saga’s advisory board includes luminaries like Professor Jacob A. Frenkel, PhD, chairman of JPMorgan Chase International, it’s definitely one to watch.
3) One-Year Anniversary For RSK Infrastructure Solutions (RIF)
December marked the one-year anniversary of RSK Infrastructure Framework Open Standard (RIF OS), based on the first open-source smart contract network secured by the Bitcoin network. This stack of decentralized finance components enables developers to import, create and deploy their EVM based dApps, and pulled off a major coup in 2019 by acquiring leading Hispanic social network Taringa.
RSK’s SmartBitcoin is pegged 1:1 with BTC, and there’s also a BTC-collateralized stablecoin under the company banner, with libraries, a decentralized exchange, lending protocols and insurance rounding out the stack. With the permissionless of open finance and the security of Bitcoin’s proof-of-work, RSK is building a robust defi ecosystem with a myriad of real world applications.
4) Tron Joins Forces With Samsung
Tron solidified its status as a top-15 crypto asset – as well as one of the most liquid by volume on many global exchanges – in the past 12 months. It also struck a landmark deal with Samsung, with the tech giant integrating Tron’s TRX cryptocurrency with its Blockchain Keystore. What’s more, the link-up allows users of newer Samsung handsets to use TRX to purchase decentralized applications built on the Tron network.
With blockchain-based content sharing platform DLive having commenced migration to the TRON blockchain at the tailend of 2019, the next 12 months are shaping up to be interesting for Justin Sun’s company. Are you really surprised?
5) Crypto Platform Sponsors Premier League Team
Newcastle United’s decision to partner with crypto trading platform StormGain, which saw the company logo appearing on the sleeves of all 2019/20 shirts, reflected a recent trend: the season before, Wolves had sealed the first ever sports sponsorship deal involving a crypto platform, namely CoinDeal. In any case, partnering with the Magpies was quite a coup for StormGain, who only launched last summer. The margin trading platform lets crypto newcomers buy or trade the most popular and capitalized coins, with up to 150x leverage and trades denominated in tether (USDT).
Perhaps other major sports outfits will grab a piece of the Premier League glitz before the 2020/21 season gets underway.
6) Litecoin Halves
With the crypto world gearing up for Bitcoin’s halving in May 2020, Litecoin’s quadrennial halving in August attracted a great deal of interest. The second halving event in Litecoin’s history followed an anticipatory rally, wherein LTC hit a June high $146 before backsliding to sub-$40 levels. Despite the fire sale, LTC ended the year with a 38% gain.
7) Interoperability Everywhere
Interoperability’ was one of the buzzwords of 2019, as the developers of crypto protocols sought to find ways to make other crypto protocols talk to them. Cross-chain swaps, sidechains, atomic swaps and all manner of other blockchain voodoo was deployed in a bid to de-silo crypto networks and usher in a new era of connectivity.
Some of the finest work was undertaken by EOS scaling solution LiquidApps, which has done more to unite blockchains than perhaps anyone operating in the space. In 2019, its DAPP Network eased the strain on the EOS main chain and drove down resource costs for dApp developers. In the process, it showed that there’s more than one way to scale a blockchain.
8) Esports Goes Crypto
The esports and crypto audiences are closely aligned and it was only a matter of time until their houses were united. The $1 billion esports market is showing no signs of slowing down, and projects like Kronoverse are betting on it. The blockchain company is placing esports games on-chain, so that players and fans have an auditable record of all results, coupled with the ability to trade in-game items using NFTs. Provably fair casino gaming, delivered with the aid of blockchain, has already begun to gain traction on the web. If Kronoverse has its way, provably fair esports will soon follow suit.
The world of Bitcoin is never dull, and 2020 is sure to reinforce that truism. With bitcoin derivatives volumes growing, the DeFi market expanding, and crypto-friendly banks proliferating, buckle up for another thrilling year in the cryptosphere.