2019 is coming to an official close, and it’s been a crazy year for bitcoin and its crypto counterparts. In an end-of-year series, let’s examine some of the biggest stories that have occurred over the past 12 months and how they’ll possibly influence the crypto industry’s behavior in 2020.
Bitcoin and Its Ongoing Volatility
It can be argued that 2019 was a year of major volatility for bitcoin. After all, the currency started out at a mere $3,500 – where it remained until April. Bitcoin had fallen into this range during November of the previous year and stayed at this level for about five months before finally showing some promise and spiking to the $5,000 range.
From there, we continued to see bitcoin incur several additional rises until it finally peaked at more than $13,000 in mid-July, it’s high point for the year. From there, bitcoin proved unable to withstand this momentum and incurred several drops before finally deciding to “hang” in the $10,000 range for a few months.
However, in late September, bitcoin incurred another meteoric loss, causing it to drop down to about $8,100. From there, it fell into the mid-$7,000 range before jumping past $9,000 thanks to some very positive comments about blockchain from Chinese president Xi Jinping. At press time, the world’s leading cryptocurrency by market cap has fallen back down to a mere $7,400.
The Intercontinental Exchange-based crypto trading platform for institutional players was touted heavily in 2018 but didn’t come to fruition until late September of this year, where it opened to rather lackluster reception. It traded less than 75 bitcoin futures contracts during its first official weekend of business and is widely blamed for the hit bitcoin’s price took during this time.
However, things later improved when Bakkt began garnering greater interest. It soon began breaking all kinds of records and ultimately traded more than $2 million in BTC contracts, thereby causing the currency to fly into the $9,000 range in November after a month of trading below $8,000.
This was the year in which Libra – the new global cryptocurrency project from Facebook – was first introduced to the world, and things didn’t go according to plan. The currency has failed to garner any significant following given the trust issues that people have with the social media parent company.
Men like chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and David Marcus – the head of Facebook’s blockchain department – were consistently questioned by Senate committees over Libra’s properties and how it planned to keep customers’ financial data safe. Many regulators were also concerned regarding how Libra could potentially bar white-collar crimes like money laundering.
Zuckerberg eventually had no choice but to surrender to authorities, claiming that unless Libra garnered full regulatory approval, his company would be forced to exit the now flailing Libra Association.