According to Kaspersky‘s Cryptocurrency Report 2019, 19% of surveyed people (in 22 developed economies) have bought at least one kind of cryptoc urrency or another, and while this is an encouraging percentage for such an immature sector, it’s clear that crypto still has a long way to go if it wants to become ubiquitous.
However, help is at hand, for 2020 looks set to bring a range of developments that will help drive further adoption of cryptocurrencies as well as blockchain-based platforms and services. From decentralized finance to central bank digital currencies and even economic recessions, these will combine to make crypto seem more attractive to organizations and individuals alike.
2019: predictions and reality
First things first: just how accurate were Crypotnews.com’s predictions regarding adoption trends in 2019? Well, this varies from sector to sector.
One prediction was that banks and financial institutions would become increasingly interested in blockchain-based solutions, particularly for cross-border payments. This was borne out by the adoption or trialling of blockchain-based cross-border payments systems by, among others, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Standard Chartered, Mastercard, 60 banks in Latin America, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the Bank of Thailand, the National Bank of Cambodia, and by Deutsche Bank and other banks joining JPMorgan‘s Interbank Information Network.
Another prediction was that security tokens would rise in prominence. This has been proven true to some extent, insofar as there have been more security token offerings (STOs) in 2019 than there were in 2018, with the total for the first half of the year (55) outnumbering the total for all of its predecessor (35).
Lastly, one other big prediction was that many of the big initial coin offerings (ICOs) of 2018 (and 2017) would actually begin launching their products in 2019, something which would usher in greater adoption. Once again, this has only been partly true: the mainnets of Filecoin and Hdac (two of the five biggest ICOs of 2017) are still waiting to be launched next year, while Sirin Labs (another of the 2017 big five) ended up axing 25% of its staff after disappointing sales of its Finney smartphone.
2020: halving, DeFi, payments and gaming
So what is likely to be big, or at least get bigger, in 2020? Well, perhaps the biggest milestone on the horizon is the Bitcoin mining reward halving due to take place in May, something which experts believe will increase demand for the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin analyst Simon Dingle tells Cryptonews.com, “This will further restrict supply, and I expect demand for Bitcoin to continue increasing throughout the year.”
One other potential winner is decentralized finance (DeFi). This sub-sector has already witnessed some gains in 2019, but crypto analyst Lou Kerner thinks one particular event taking place towards the end of November will set it up for a very good 2020.
“I think Multi-Collateral Dai, coming out November 18th, will be a major milestone in DeFi,” he tells Cryptonews.com. “New features include the Dai Savings Rate (DSR), which establishes an entirely new dimension for innovative Maker protocol integrations on the backend of DeFi dapps (decentralized apps).”
Blockchain-based payment networks and platforms are also likely to see more use, with other companies likely to follow Facebook‘s lead in announcing their own versions of Libra, which itself is scheduled to be launched next year (conditions permitting).
“We believe that there will be substantial growth in payment related blockchain projects and payment-oriented cryptocurrencies in 2020,” says Filipe Castro, the CIO at crypto payments service Utrust.
“This expected growth is due to multiple factors including the expansion and diversification of stablecoin models, new private and government-led central bank digital currency initiatives (Libra, e-Yuan) and sheer market size.”
(Learn more: Payments is the Main Battleground for Banks Amid Bitcoin Rise)
Charles Phan of crypto exchange Interdax believes that two slightly less hyped up areas will grow in 2020.
“Gaming is another area of crypto that is gaining traction,” he tells Cryptonews.com.
“With the roll-out of the Lightning Network we have seen Lightnite, a Fortnite-inspired game where players can earn a small amount of bitcoins. Recently, the venture arm of Blockchain (one of the biggest cryptocurrency companies in the world) invested in the blockchain game technology firm Enjin which shows that they think the crypto-gaming play is likely to be profitable.”
Phan also thinks that cryptocurrencies belonging to exchanges, such as Binance Coin and Huobi Token, will grow. “Exchange tokens are likely to continue to display strength in 2020 as more traders enter the crypto ecosystem and exchanges continue to innovate,” he adds. “These tokens incentivise traders to provide liquidity to the platform and reward them with lower trading fees.”
Beyond 2020: central coins and global recession fueled adoption
Looking further into the future, one more element of the crypto ecosystem is likely to enjoy wider adoption over the next decade.
“Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) will gain traction as an idea and we may even see one launch, with China and Switzerland the most likely to take the lead in this regard,” predicts Vaibhav Kadikar, the founder and CEO of decentralized prediction market platform CloseCross.
But as Charles Phan explains, this will take more than one year, due to the cumbersome and cautious nature of central banks and governments.
“We are looking at a timescale of five years according to IBM and the Official Monetary Institutions Forum, while ING’s chief economist predicted that we’ll see a CBDC from a G20 country in the next 2-3 years,” he says.
And more generally, coming years could speed up cryptocurrency ownership, particularly if regional and/or global recessions occur.
“I don’t know when, but eventually we will have to pay the price for central banks printing money on overdrive, while debt has escalated to unimaginable levels,” says Simon Dingle. “A massive global recession is on the cards, and when it arrives we should see a whole new appreciation for deflationary and decentralized cryptocurrency.”
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