Top Crypto Trends for 2019

Cryptocurrencies are a new form of asset that are designed to work as a medium of exchange like any other currency. Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, paved the way in 2009, and now there are more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies available according to CryptoCompare. Although it’s been a decade since Bitcoin’s launch, cryptocurrency has yet to achieve mass adoption as it faces many challenges from within and without. Still, many financial analysts are confident that prices will soar as institutional investment flows in 2019 and beyond.

Cryptoassets hit an incredible peak in December 2017 when the Bitcoin price reached $20,000. 2018 however, saw prices collapse across the board as the enthusiasm of 2017 waned with failed ICOs and inactive projects.

One possible factor that contributed to the slump is that US regulators are yet to approve an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) application. Another project that is highly anticipated to move markets is the new Bakkt Exchange, from NYSE parent company ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) which will likely herald a new era of institutional investment.

There is however a lot of positive development within the cryptoverse itself. In 2019, some new trends are emerging which observers should monitor closely, as they have the potential to foster enormous growth. Let’s take a look at some of these new positive trends.

Leaner Companies

We have seen many failed cryptocurrency projects in the last 2 years, and one reason for their failure was lack of funding. Crypto giants like Bitmain Technologies, ShapeShift, and many blockchain-based social media platforms like Steemitwere forced to reduce their staff because of the lack of investment in this sector.

These companies are the victims of the prolonged bear market, and they were forced to shelve their expansion plans because of poor financial planning and many other mismanagement issues. The new trend therefore, is for crypto startups is to cut their operational costs to survive in the crypto ecosystem. These new, leaner companies may indicate a more resilient industry in the long-term.

Scalability

Another primary issue is scalability, and it seems to still be a problem in 2019. Ethereum for example, had to postpone its Constantinople upgrade due to a serious, smart contract vulnerability threat. The update was scheduled to launch at the start of this year but was delayed  after an independent research firm detected the flaw.

There are many new projects surfacing that claim to work on improved algorithms or protocols. These algorithms and protocols are not fully developed, but promise a hybrid of proof of stake and work. Developers on projects around the world are working hard on the problems of scalability, and if progress is made, 2019 may set the stage for broader crypto adoption.

More User-Friendly Apps

The Lightning Network is seeing a great deal of activity in 2019 in its role as a second layer payment feature. Still, developers are trying to further improve the LN protocol to make it more secure, faster and cheaper to conduct crypto transactions. As work continues, the Lightning Network is turning Bitcoin into a faster and cost-effective medium of exchange. You can expect more development in LN protocol in 2019 as developers are creating more apps that are both intuitive and user-friendly. You can find the best trading software reviews here to learn more about these apps.

Security Tokens Vs ICOs

After regulatory authorities began targeting Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), Security Tokens - which explicitly acknowledge their regulatory obligations - are being launched throughout the globe.

The new name also seeks to avoid much of the negative stigma of the ICO, which has become associated with failed projects and even outright scams. Jurisdictions such as Malta, Switzerland and Singapore are more accommodating towards Security Token sales, adding to investor confidence in this newer token model.

Education

Another obstacle for the crypto ecosystem is lack of educational resources. More efforts have been made recently to make crypto education more accessible. New York University for example has taken the initiative by introducing a graduate level certification in digital currencies. Now that prestigious institutions such as NYU and the London School of Economics begin to spread the word about cryptoassets, the industry is further cementing itself in the public consciousness.

The Availability of Bitcoin ATMs

2019 may see the introduction of Bitcoin ATMs in several major cities in the United States.

With 30 new machines installed in Chicago, and over 100 in Philadelphia, prospects are looking good. These new ATMs are solely for Bitcoin transactions, but some regular ATMs in New York are now also offering crypto services. These new services require an account with  Bitcoin payment provider LibertyX, and users can purchase up to $3,000 worth of Bitcoin daily using a debit card.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrency looks set once again in 2019 to gain traction. While the industry is young, and in many ways still recovering from the spectacular boom and bust of 2017 and 2018, it still inspires a great deal of enthusiasm and interest globally. These trends in 2019 will be closely watched.

Bitcoin Price Surges Above $9,300 for First Time Since June 25

On Monday (July 6), the Bitcoin price managed to surge past the $9,300 level for the first since June 25, a move that was likely powered by the current bullish in the stock markets of China and the United States.

Today's strong rally in the world's major stock markets started was led by China, where the Chinese government is apparently encouraging investors to buy stocks.

According to a report by CNBC, "a front page editorial in state-owned China Securities Journal" (publishe-d earlier today) talked about the “wealth effect of the capital markets” and suggested that a “healthy bull market" was important for the economy at this time.

Peter Boockvar, chief investment strategist at Bleakley Advisory Group, says:

"We have the Fed to juice bull markets, China has its state media."

The CSI 300, which is "a capitalization-weighted stock market index designed to replicate the performance of the top 300 stocks traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange", closed over 250 points higher at 4,670.09, up 5.67%. 

CSI 300 Chart by Google Finance on 6 July 2020.png

As you can see in the above chart from Google Finance, in the past five trading session, the CSI 300 index has gained over 13%, the most in a five-day period since December 2014, and helping the CSI 300 to reach a level last seen in June 2015.

CNBC says that although "China’s economy faces many hurdles, including trade issues with the U.S. and the growing friction as the economies move to decouple",  in the near term, "the prospect of an improving China spilled over to other markets, boosting sentiment for global trade."

Europe's major stock markets followed China's and all closed higher.

As for the U.S. stock market, premarket trading data indicated that the market would be having a good day, and it has not been wrong so far.

Currently (as of 18:37 UTC on July 6), the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq are at 26196.15 (up 368.79 or 1.43%), 3172.03 (up 42.02 or 1.34%), and 10404.81 (up 197.18 or .93%) respectively. The leading sector was (as usual) technology, with Amazon and Netflix setting new all-time highs, helping the tech-heavy Nasdaq to power itself to a new all-time high.

This is what President Trump tweeted around 10 minutes after the U.S. stock market opened:

Today's stock market rally in the U.S. means that the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are both on a five-day winning streak. 

So, what's fuelling investors' perhaps surprising amount of bullishness on stocks in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? This might be especially mystifying in the case of the U.S., where we are seeing around 50,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 (even though, thankfully, the number of death are going down).

It seems that investors and traders believe that:

  • As lockdown measures are eased, the outlook for businesses should keep improving.
  • There are encouraging signs from the pharmaceutical industry that we will soon have good therapeutics in the next few months and reliable vaccines by next year.
  • Governments around the world will continue to support the financial markets with monetary and fiscal stimulus.

Andrew Brenner of National Alliance told CNBC:

"I’m starting to believe the Covid case are an inverse indicator. The worse it gets, the more the market does better because it means more Fed and fiscal stimulus will come towards the markets."

The optimism that is fuelling the stock market rally appears to be also helping Bitcoin since today Bitcoin shake off the lethary of the long Independence Day weekend -- which saw Bitcoin dropping below $9,000 at 21:15 UTC on Sunday (July 5) and bounce back above $9,300 for the first time in 11 days:

2 Week BTC-USD chart on 6 July 2020.png

Featured Image by "WorldSpectrum" via Pixabay.comSave