2019 is almost over, and the crypto space has experienced both adrenaline rush, as well as disappointments. There have been many speculations, criticisms, which worked for many and failed for some. Some of the traders made large amounts of profit, while some suffered major losses. Amidst all these happenings, the crypto world in itself is making advancements for the better.
The crypto market has been pretty volatile, where you expect the unexpected. But the crypto market is soaring high with a market capitalization of $197 billion USD. The market cap of the largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has soared from $134.1 billion USD to $154.6 billion USD, and again fell back to $131.6 billion USD. During 2019, altcoin capitalization has significantly centralized among the top currencies like Ethereum, XRP, TRX, BNB, etc. Not only market capitalization, even the rankings got shuffled and reshuffled a bit. Tether (USDT) is the first-ever stable coin to get into the top five cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. It has outperformed Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC) to achieve this spot. As per the performance of the cryptocurrencies is concerned, XRP has lost almost 93% of its value this year, and Bitcoin has been termed as the best performing top coins of 2019, inspite of it falling back. Bitcoin mining difficulty dropped by around 7% as the hash rate spikes up to 100 billion hashes per second, which is a record in itself.
As per the Bloomberg report, there is only one coin that has outperformed Bitcoin, and that is Binance Coin (BNB), which has surged around 150%.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) has been one of the latest buzzwords in the crypto space that seems to have taken the industry to greater heights. DeFi is based on a public blockchain, that enables any users to use the financial services, irrespective of their location and status. The majority of the DeFi projects are executed on the Ethereum blockchain, which aims at becoming the world’s largest decentralized computer. DeFi enables the developers to fund their own applications, where they build the app and share it across without the need for a tech intermediary like Google or Apple. As per the statistics by DeFi Pulse, the outstanding debts on ETH has risen drastically—almost $3M in ETH-based loans are currently represented on Ethereum as debts. Most of the enthusiasts are speculating that the number will increase more and more as we get closer to Ethereum 2.0. As of now, Ethereum is the leading smart contract platform for DeFi, and other competitors like Harmony (ONE) is also catching up on the pace.
Along the same line, Staking has also been an uptrend, which is being observed as one of the newer ways of earning profit in cryptos. The best part about staking is that it’s not that expensive, and power or energy need is also less. Staking is a process of locking cryptocurrencies in order to receive rewards. Ethereum’s transition to Proof of Stake (PoS) has grabbed most of the crypto headliners this year. Some of the top staking projects as per INDX are Pundi X (NPXS), IOStoken (IOST), Cosmos (ATOM) and Waves (WAVES).
On the 18th of June, 2019, the largest social networking company in the world, Facebook announced its very own digital currency called “Libra”, which is built on a specific open-source blockchain and functions through the Proof of Stake (PoS) protocol. Libra is backed by most prestigious financial institutions like PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, and other companies like Uber, Lyft, Spotify, eBay, and Andreessen Horowitz. Facebook aims to make Libra available through Whatsapp and messenger users, who can cash their local currency to buy Libra.
But, later on, Libra faced skepticism from the Government and Wall Street and there was news of some of the members dropping out as they seem to have gotten cold feet because of the persisting legislative issues. The exits included names like eBay, PayPal, Stripe, Visa, and Mastercard.
Even though Libra is suffering resistance, we are yet to see its impact on the market economy after it gets released. This is definitely going to boost the awareness and adoption of cryptocurrencies for the masses. Click here to know in detail.
As per the survey by Finder, released in October 2019, the number of Americans who own cryptocurrencies doubles in 2019. It jumped from 7.95% in 2018 to 14.4% in 2019. As per @tuyoge_bit, the top three countries that owned or used crypto are- Turkey (20%), Brazil (18%), and Colombia (18%).
The year 2019 has been full of events that boost crypto adoption. Many Governments have also started seeing cryptos for payment options. So, here is a concise list of the major events:
1. China had also gone mainstream in terms of cryptocurrency adoption when the Chinese President Xi Jinping gave credibility to blockchain and crypto by calling the country to accelerate blockchain adoption. As per the People’s Bank of China, they are planning on issuing their own cryptocurrency.
2. The recent advancement has been Ukraine legalizing crypto payments, as a part of the newly adopted legislation. Crypto has been classified as a property in Ukraine.
3. Even the employees working in New Zealand can now receive their salary in cryptocurrencies, as legalized by the New Zealand tax office, which became effective from September 2019. NZ’s tax authority names a few coins that are okay to use, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
4. Recently, there has been an announcement that Nike patented shoes have been tokenized as Non-Fungible Token (NFT) on the Ethereum blockchain. You can unlock the token by purchasing the corresponding Nike shoe by linking a 10-digit shoe identification code with the owner verification code.
5. The major adoption news came this year after Libra when Bitcoin has been confirmed as the new sleeve partner for the Watford Football Club, which is a part of a cryptocurrency educational drive led by the betting platform sportsbet.io.
6. Samsung, the tech-giant, launched its crypto-friendly Galaxy Note smartphone, which supports ETH and ERC20 based tokens.
7. Last, but not the least, there are around 153 million addresses belonging to the users in the BTC base system, which speak volumes about the Bitcoin adoption rate.
2019 has experienced around seven crypto hacks, of which the major ones are- Upbit, Binance, Bithumb, and Cryptopia, as per CoinDesk. On May 7, 2019, Binance, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, lost 7,000 Bitcoins, worth around 40 million USD in a single transaction via a security breach. The funds moved quickly through smaller wallets as the hackers tried to wash their stolen coins. Binance could claim only 2% of its funds and pledged to refund the users from its emergency storage.
New Zealand-based crypto exchange, Cryptopia got hack happened on January 15, 2019, where they lost cryptos worth around 16 million USD. After this, the exchange went into liquidation in May and filed for bankruptcy ten days after that.
Upbit is the latest and the most major crypto hacks experienced in 2019. The victim lost around $49 million on November 26, 2019, wherein an abnormal transaction has resulted in a loss of 342,000 ETHs.
Last but not the least, Bithumb also got targeted in March, where 13 million USD worth of EOS and $6.2 million worth of XRP got hacked. This is the second hack Bithumb suffered in less than six months, where they lost around 31 million USD in late 2018.
Litecoin Halving is one of the biggest crypto events that has happened in 2019. Litecoin Halving event happens after every 840,000 LTC blocks are mined, and the miner rewards are cut into half. Litecoin went through its second halving process, where the miner reward decreased from 25 LTC to 12.5 LTC, at the block height of 1,680,001. This was experienced by the crypto enthusiasts worldwide, where the traders speculated a jump in its value. But Litecoin didn’t perform as expected, and it fell down from the fourth rank to the sixth rank.
To read further about Litecoin halving, go here.
Bakkt is a Bitcoin futures exchange that has been one of the hyped subjects in the world of cryptocurrency as it offers physically-backed Bitcoin futures, which are settled in real Bitcoin. Bakkt is a doorway to heaven for the institutional investors as it allows them to invest, without having blockchain knowledge. The large-scale institutional investors settling the Bakkt BTC futures, by purchasing large amounts of Bitcoin, will attract the institutional capital to the crypto market without any negative impact on its price.
Finally, Bakkt was born on September 22, 2019, by the InterContinental Exchange (ICE), who also owns the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). On December 9, 2019, Bakkt launched the first Bitcoin options in the United States, which are- Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Monthly Options and Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) cash-settled Futures. This was one of the major crypto events in 2019.
In the history of the U.S. decentralization, the 11th of July, 2019, will always be considered as a groundbreaking day as Blockstack became the first-ever US SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) qualified token, which has been qualified by the SEC under Regulation A+. Under this regulation, the general public of the United States can also participate in this token sale, instead of being restricted to accredited investors. The token Stacks or STX acts as a fuel for the Blockstack network, just like how Ether works on the Ethereum network.
This comes as a blessing towards the step of tokenization, making it more secure and transparent.
Binance DEX is the decentralized exchange launched by Binance, which allows traders to trade cryptos without holding it to a centralized platform. Binance DEX is currently processing transactions worth 120 BTC.
On November 15, 2019, MakerDao launched Multi-Collateral Dai (MCD), where it will add Basic Attention Token (BAT), in addition to Ethereum. With this setting, both Ethereum and ERC20 tokens can be used as collaterals. Big exchanges like Coinbase, HitBTC, and Bittrex announced that it would support the Multi-Collateral Dai token.
CRUXPay is an open-source protocol built by the CoinSwitch team, which aims to simplify crypto payments by allowing its users to create human-readable ids called CRUX ID. CRUXPay was launched in November 2019, and the first integration was done in the ZelCore wallet. The integration is also going on with other top crypto wallets. CRUXPay also allows services to accept pull payments from their users.
CRUXPay is a new age decentralized crypto payment protocol that aims to make the transactions as easy as the regular fiat transactions. You can go here to read more.
This was about what major events have taken place in 2019. The next year is going to be even more exciting in the world of cryptocurrencies. It ain’t far where the crypto adoption will take a higher plunge. Here are the things which we expect in 2020:
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