Bitcoin’s genesis block, which included the flagship cryptocurrency’s very first transactions, was mined 10 years ago today. At the time, the reward for mining the block was 50 BTC and was virtually worthless, but would now be the equivalent of $191,900.

Despite the year-long bear market, bitcoin is still trading at $3,920 after falling from a near $20,000 all-time high. The flagship cryptocurrency is now a decade old, and although CryptoGlobe has already gone through its history, it’s time to look at what’s ahead in 2019.

Note that at this point what to expect is mostly speculation, as no one can tell what’s going to happen in the future. Before putting your money on any kind of speculative asset, do your own research first.

1 – Bakkt Launch

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has in August of 2018 announced a cryptocurrency-focused venture called Bakkt, that’s set to help consumers, merchants, and institutional clients be able to “seamlessly” use it to “buy, sell, store, and spend” cryptocurrencies.

The cryptocurrency initiative involves giants like Microsoft, Starbucks, and the Boston Consulting Group. It’s set to help merchants accept crypto payments, and to offer physically-settled one-day bitcoin futures contracts.

Initially, Bakkt revealed it was set to launch its futures contracts in December of last year. However on November 20, its chief executive officer, Kelly Loeffler, revealed the date had been postponed to January 24 to ensure everything had been tested and re-tested.

In its first round of fundraising, Bakkt raised $182.5 million, but it was revealed the launch was postponed again. While some analysts expect further delays, it seems likely Bakkt will launch this year. Since some believe it’ll bring in institutional investors to the space, the crypto community has been anticipating its launch.

2 – Widespread Crypto ATMs

Last year, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs (BTMs) throughout the world reached 3,000 in May, and got to 4,000 by December. According to available data most of these machines are in the United States, and although in some countries authorities weren’t too fond of them, about 6 were installed per day.

According to a report published by ResearchandMarkets last year, the crypto ATM market is expected to grow at a 54.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), meaning this year the number will keep on growing, if the report is correct. By 2023, the crypto ATM market is expected to hit nearly $145 million.

3 – Further Lightning Network Growth

Bitcoin’s layer-two scaling solution, the Lightning Network (LN), is set to keep growing this year. As CryptoGlobe covered, the LN has last year surpassed the 500 BTC capacity, and the 15,800 mainnet payment channel mark.

According to available data, the LN’s capacity is at 533.6 BTC, the equivalent of little over $2 million. There are over 17,200 channels on it, with the average channel capacity being of 0.23 BTC ($890).

Various factors, including the increasing number of Bitcoin ATMs mentioned above, are influencing bitcoin’s adoption and use. If its blocks are to stay at 1 MB, users will turn to the LN to avoid its fees – even at their current average of $0.18.

4 – A Trend Reversal

Bitcoin has been going through a year-long bear market that has seen its price drop from a near $20,000 all-time high to a low below the $3,200 mark. While the flagship cryptocurrency has been recovering and is currently trading close to the $3,900 mark, some believe it may be due to a dead cat bounce.

The cryptocurrency has, however, already made its over 80% correction predicted by veteran technical trader Peter Brandt, who correctly called the drop would occur back in January of last year. While BTC may still go to a low of $1,200, per his words, it may still make new highs in the future.

The trend may, in fact, already have reversed. At press time, BTC is trading at $3,900 after rising over 1% in the last 24-hour period. After hitting its recent low, it has been recovering, along with the rest of the crypto market, and technical indicators point towards a recovery.

Bitcoin's price performance in the last30 days

5 – Reliable Censorship-Resistance

Visa and Mastercard keep on failing their users, time and again. A simple Google search for Visa outages quickly leads us to the word “chaos.” These networks keep on going down, while Bitcoin’s network has never stopped working, and hasn’t been tampered with throughout its 10-year history, although critical bugs have been found.

Last year, we saw right wing reporter Tommy Robinson turn to BTC after being banned from PayPal, and the crypto community point out bitcoin as an alternative to the Hacker News after it was also banned. In 2019, we can expect bitcoin to continue being tamper-proof, censorship-resistant money.