2018 and 2019 could be described as years in which there was a redefinition of blockchain technology and to what uses it should be channelled to. The decline of the market in 2018 as well as the rollercoaster ride of 2019 gave room for real-life use cases for blockchain technology to come to the fore.
So what does 2020 have in store for the blockchain? We can expect to see the following:
1. Greater Regulation
A bill has been submitted to the US Congress seeking to provide a proper regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, with legal backing. Harnessing the full potential of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies is only possible when this industry is regulated just enough to root out the bad guys, but not too much as to stifle innovation.
Many countries may perhaps be waiting to see what model of regulation the US brings to the table. Successful deployment of a regulatory framework in the US could spur a slew of similar actions across the globe.
2. Greater Institutional Footprint
If blockchain assets and other digital currencies are brought into regulation in the US, this may finally give the confidence to other institutional players to bring money into the market, knowing that they have a cover for their humongous investments. Enterprise adoption is going to increase and we will see further deepening of the cryptocurrency market as well as adoption of more real life use cases for blockchain projects.
3. The Death of More ICOs of Yesteryears
Many more of the much-hyped ICOs of 2017 and 2018 that were on one form of life support or another may finally be killed off this year as disillusioned investors jettison whatever they can of their battered holdings in order to recover some of their investment. Many of those ICOs were simply riding the moving horse. With that horse starting to tire, it became aware of all the deadweight and started to throw them off its back. This is exactly what has happened to all the deadbeat ICOs which had no real product, no value to add, but only served as a way for the founders to make money off gullible people who could not predict what would happen down the road.
4. More Funding for Viable Blockchain Projects
Ripple was able to raise an additional $200m in December 2019 despite the underwhelming performance of its token in the market. The reason is simple: it has a working product which is gathering loads of attention from the relevant market and more players in that sector are signing up. Projects which have great use case scenarios will keep attracting more funding and more clientele. It will only be a matter of time before the boys are separated from the men.
5. Bitcoin to Continue Its Market Domination
Bitcoin looks good to continue its dominance in the cryptocurrency market. According to TradingBeasts cryptocurrency guide for novice traders, it still commands the market capitalization, the trading volumes and market interest all across the world to maintain this position. Mention some other cryptocurrency in some parts of the world and many would draw blank; mention Bitcoin and the lights come on.
We expect this to continue in 2020. This will be more pronounced in countries whose national currencies would struggle in the face of economic turmoil. In these areas, Bitcoin would become the new safe haven asset, which only serves to continue Bitcoin’s market domination.
6. Launch of a Few National Cryptocurrencies
Some countries are in the stage of conceptualization, or are already in advanced stages of development of their national cryptocurrencies. Examples of countries that are considering launching digital versions of their national currencies include Switzerland and China, although the latter continues to keep mum over such a development. 2020 may also see more countries opening discussions and consultations to kickstart the digitalization of their national countries. However, these discussions seem to be well pronounced in Europe, less so in Asia and virtually non-existent in Africa and Latin America. Will the lagging countries be open to the idea? 2020 will tell.
7. The Make or Break Year for Libra
Libra is yet to take off the blocks and already the project has started to face hitches with stiff opposition from the US, France and a few other countries. Some of its consort partners have also pulled out of the project. 2020 will determine if this project will take off or if Mark Zuckerberg and his team will decide to either kill off the project or replace it with something that is more agreeable to regulators and finance ministers.
So these are the events we think will shape the blockchain industry in 2020.