2019 was a very interesting year for the entire cryptocurrency industry. Market analysts see this year as one of regulatory reckoning, with so many jurisdictions being unaware of how cryptocurrencies have to be treated. At the same time, the year was one of comeback, with countless big tech giants embracing cryptocurrencies.
Many global events influenced finances, with the trade war going on between China and the US making investors see the utility of Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies. At the same time, the US SEC turns down all Bitcoin ETF proposals.
2019 is practically ended so let us take a look at those big winners and losers of the crypto industry during the entire year.
2019 Crypto Winners
The Double Growth Of Bitcoin
2019 was the year when cryptocurrency celebrated the tenth anniversary. This came after the industry was recovering at the start of the year due to the 2018 crypto winter. A bullish trend started, making BTC price around 11% higher when Q1 ended.
In Q2, bitcoin had a gain of 165%, with price going as high as $10,888. Market dominance went up to 65%. BTC growth continued even though the market was struggling. Investors started to look at gold and Bitcoin as hedges due to the China-U.S. trade war.
Although everything started right, 2019 was not all great events for Bitcoin. In Q3, Bitcoin price went down with a market capitalization of 100 billion lost. Even so, BTC was the cryptocurrency that had the least losses. Actually, Bitcoin had a market dominance increase of 5.4%.
The price of gold in 2019 went up by 17%. Bitcoin’s growth ended up being still higher.
The Popularity Increase Of Gods Unchained
Gods Unchained is a virtual card game that is blockchain-based and built based on Ethereum. It ended up being the most popular of all the blockchain games and highest-grossing in 2019. This happened even faster as Blizzard made the mistake of banning a professional player when talking about the Hong Kong protests. Gods Unchained actually tweeted about the event, saying:
“Blizzard cares about money more than freedom.”
Then, the banned player was offered an invitation for a Gods Unchained tournament, plus compensation.
Gods Unchained gained a huge following after this incident. The decentralized nature of the game is really attractive and growth is expected to continue.
The Expansion Of Coinbase
Coinbase was known to selectively add coins, mainly because the exchange has a huge power and higher security. Binance was faced with security breaches so Coinbase stands out as the safest and most reliable platform. This happened even if Twitter was filled with industry players attacking Coinbase after buying Neutrino.
Coinbase doubled how many cryptocurrencies are listed on the exchange when compared to 2018. New coins were added, like Waves, Cosmos and Dash. News kept appearing about the exchange all around the year, while Coinbase secured patents at the same time.
Right now, Coinbase reaches over 100 countries and has a USDC stable coin that is available in 85 countries. We are looking at a really aggressive expansion.
Binance had a really good year in 2019 because of BNB, its native cryptocurrency. Binance does have high trading volume handled every month. We are looking at an exceptional performance that led to Binance Coin becoming more valuable during the year, by 150%.
Cryptocurrency Industry Losers In 2019
Facebook’s Libra Launch
The launch of Libra was surely a huge event in 2019. The problem is that this stablecoin was received with huge skepticism. Mark Zuckerberg had to go to many hearings due to it.
Libra is definitely a stablecoin. It is backed by money, making it easy for trading with close to zero fees. Libra is trying to “enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers millions of people.”
The new coin wants to remain unbanked, which is definitely something that many do not like. At the same time, there are internal problems that have to be solved. In fact, the US Congress told Facebook to pause Libra development. Many European countries joined and spoke out against this cryptocurrency. Interestingly, China said it will launch its very own stablecoin, which is most likely a retaliatory measure.
Many of the high profile backers of Libra decided to stop their support. This includes PayPal, MasterCard, eBay and Visa.
Circle’s Rocky Year
Circle, a Boston cryptocurrency firm backed by finance giant Goldman Sachs, signed a partnership with Coinbase. These two companies tried to accelerate cryptocurrency adoption. Liquidity would be increased in the industry through the launch of USD Coin, a stablecoin.
The problem was that 2019 was a really rocky year for Circle. USD Coin did get a positive reception but the company laid off ten percent of the staff and reduced the fundraising goal it had by 40%. Extra news of layoffs just recently appeared.
The Battles Of Craig Wright
Craig Wright said he was Satoshi Nakamoto in 2015. Obviously, most people in the industry did not trust him. Even so, Wright was all in the news this year. He even said that he mined 1 million BTC after he invented the cryptocurrency. The problem is that in 2018 Keiman (Wright’s former partner) Estate sued Wright for stealing 1 million BTC.
We are now looking at a huge court battle, with the initial ruling being that Wright returns half of the BTC holdings to the estate if he is Nakamoto. Then, Wright was also heavily scrutinized by the entire community since the proof he presented claiming to be Nakamoto was seen as forged. This led to Wright going to trial.
SEC Rejects Bitcoin ETFs
US regulators officially claim that Bitcoin ETFs can be approved. However, this did not happen till now, with absolutely all proposals being rejected. This was done because the market can be manipulated. The SEC does not seem to be interested in approving ETFs, even if new ETFs are constantly being proposed.
According to Findora fintech CEO, Charles Lu:
“For a Bitcoin ETF proposal to gain SEC approval, the sponsor will need to prove that real price discovery is happening as opposed to market manipulations. This will not happen soon since the SEC would require surveillance sharing agreements with large exchanges.”
The cryptocurrency industry showed significant growth in 2019. Bitcoin is volatile but it is growing. Institutional investors keep popping up and seem to be really interested in what is happening. Market cap went down, just like trading volumes. Even so, the large traders think that the future will be bright.
The largest loser in 2019 was definitely Libra. However, we cannot know what will happen in 2020 with the stablecoin. If Libra does succeed, the entire industry will benefit.