2018 was a year to forget for investors in the virtual currency market. Bitcoin (BTC) and other virtual currencies lost more than 80% of their price while others completely disappeared. However, there are some things to note. Regulatory agencies are trying to regulate the space and infrastructure continues to expand amid this bear market. One of the most important things to take into account for 2019 is related to a better regulatory environment.
1. Block chain solutions for firms:
Blockchain technology will also have a year with new developments and improvements. Several businesses will start to work with this technology and companies will offer blockchain solutions for firms. There are some banks such as ING or Commerzbank that have been working with the Corda blockchain platform, launched by the R3 consortium. R3 has also launched the Corda Settler platform that has been specifically designed for enterprise customers. The intention is to offer a new service similar to SWIFT but faster and cheaper for customers. Ripple is also another company that is going to be expanding among banking and financial institutions that want to process cross-border payments.
- ETF on Bitcoin:
A much-discussed topic and by now almost two years have passed since the first attempts of the Winklevoss brothers to launch ETFs on the main crypto. The approval still has to face some obstacles: Jay Clayton, a member of the SEC board, said at the recent Coin desk Consensus that ETFs make sense if you can ensure that markets are not manipulated, this is a problem that has to be solved before such a tool can be authorized. This has turned off a lot of enthusiasm about a future approval.
- Stablecoins take the Lead:
Stablecoins are digital tokens that are pegged to a fiat currency that act as hedging mechanisms against the potential decline of underlying cryptocurrency collateral prices and they may just be the industry’s best hope going into 2019. Stablecoins may see growth next year for two reasons: one, a result of the long-term instability of non-centralized tokens; and two, the current leader in the stablecoin industry, tether, is positioned to be dethroned. As one of the earliest stable coins to reach the mainstream, tether (USDT) has suffered a number of highly publicized growing pains while the sub-industry developed. Other stablecoins have already entered the field, aiming to wrench away its dominance.
- Ethereum in challenging position:
Ethereum is in a very challenging position. ICOs are being cracked down, the future of scaling is unknown, and blockchain projects like EOS are nipping at their heels. Ethereum still has a massive lead over all other platforms in terms of network effect. But alliances can change quickly as the Ethereum network is not capable of handling the transaction load. If you’re a developer, you can either wait for Ethereum to improve on scalability or you can jump to EOS where your application can perform as needed.
What can drive up cryptocurrency? Institutional money, increased adoption driven by Lightning Network, its position as the global crypto reserve currency, and a potential global financial crisis. You will see the situation unfold in 2019.