Cryptocurrency is still very much a hot button topic as we enter a new decade.
While cryptocurrency’s popularity waned somewhat in 2019 compared to previous years. That interest was dialed up again when Facebook announced it would be creating its own cryptocurrency in Libra.
But what does 2020 hold for magical internet money? General manager for Luno in Africa, Marius Reitz has a few predictions.
Perhaps the most notably of those predictions is an accelerated push toward regulation. This, Reitz says, is likely motivated by Facebook’s Libra.
“The South African Reserve Bank is expected to announce crypto regulation in the first quarter of 2020. Internationally, we will also see a number of planned guidelines come into effect. In October, the G7 group of nations outlined the need for stablecoin regulation and implied that guidelines may be produced in 2020, while Japan also passed a bill to reinforce its existing cryptocurrency laws which comes into effect in April 2020,” explains Reitz.
With regulation seemingly on the way, the next hurdle for cryptocurrency to overcome is adoption.
“One of the criticisms of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is the lack of opportunity to actually use them,” says Reitz. “Throughout 2019, we saw this change rapidly, with new startups such as Flexa introducing slick crypto-payments platforms for retailers. More importantly, there was a diverse array of retailers both big and small, willing to integrate their services.”
The GM predicts that banks, hedge funds, pension funds and endowments will diversify their portfolios and buy into cryptocurrency as “they finally have the professional machinery to do so”.
Major events to look out for
Aside from his predictions, Reitz also outlined a number of developments in the cryptocurrency space that should be made note of.
The first of those is the expected launch of Libra. Despite the troubles that have plagued the currency since it’s announcement, Facebook is on track to deploy its mainnet in 2020. Of course, this hinges on regulatory concerns.
“With Libra planning to sign up to 80 more members to the project, its potential impact is tremendous. It’s really a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ and it is a game changer for the sector,” says Reitz.
Another rather poignant event taking place in 2020 is the Bitcoin halving. We say poignant because the last halving lead to the bullish run Bitcoin experienced in 2017.
Halving is the process by which the reward earned by Bitcoin miners is halved. This will see rewards cut from 12.5 to 6.5 Bitcoin. This halving is part of Bitcoin’s programming and takes place every four years or ever 210 000 blocks until all 21 million Bitcoin are mined.
Will we see another surge in the price of Bitcoin in May 2020 following the halving? There is honestly no way of knowing.
With that having been said, Coindesk reported just today that Bitcoin hit a new high of $8 438 in 2020 following the Iranian missile attack at the weekend.
The final big notable event in the cryptocurrency space (for now at least) is the launch of Ethereum 2.0. This launch will bring several new features to the Ethereum network as well as a few improvements.
It’s looking like a busy year for cryptocurrency which should make for interesting viewing from a spectator’s perspective.