To describe 2018 as a whirlwind year in the world of cryptocurrencies would be an understatement, with Bitcoin plummeting from its highs of almost $20,000 to its current value of $3,380.
The high levels of volatility has left enthusiasts – from blockchain experts to everyday investors – wondering what 2019 will bring.
However, it’s not just rumour and speculation that’s left the crypto world on the edge of its seat. Investors and spectators also want to know what’s on the horizon in the areas of blockchain and regulation.
We reached out to experts and compiled the top predictions for 2019:
24th January is “critical date”
“It’s BAKKT to the future in 2019. It’s not crypto hyperbole to posit that 24th January 2019 will be the critical calendar date that will define the direction of digital currency for the next decade. It’s make or break time.
With the halo effect of confidence stemming from a product created by ICE (Intercontinental Exchange), the same company that operates the New York Stock Exchange, January 24th will be a defining watershed.
The introduction of a regulatory framework will legitimise this new asset class and give institutional investors the confidence that will open the door for smart money to enter the crypto landscape, literally creating a tsunami of opportunity.”
Cryptos will reach their low points
“Cryptocurrencies will reach their low points in the crash that started in December 2017. The bottom will come in the first quarter of 2019. Bitcoin at $2,500 would not be a great surprise, but it will still probably outperform other major coins.
Following the bottom, cryptocurrencies will rally hard, but this will most likely not be an immediate rally. Software using blockchains and crypto will appear, which will represent a new level of sophistication. Any centralised database-based application can be made crypto/distributed with a blockchain. More sophisticated applications based on this fact will appear in 2019.”
Regulation, regulation, regulation
“2019 will be an interesting year as regulatory frameworks should fall into place in many regions. Regulation is key to stable cryptocurrency markets because it helps to legitimise the assets. Another event that should augur well for crypto is the fact that the world’s second-largest stock exchange, Nasdaq, announced that they plan to launch Bitcoin futures before July 2019, if the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission gives them the thumbs up.
The fundamentals around cryptocurrencies look good, as we are starting to see a shift to supporting them globally.Technically there are a number of scenarios that could play out in 2019. Numerous minor bankruptcies – including Giga Watt in the USA, and the recent bitcoin cash hard fork – revealed a serious lack of consensus for direction among developers and rules across exchanges.
This led to doubts around the integrity of the bitcoin blockchain. However, if digital currencies succeed in moving past these dissensions, there is definitely a scenario where the short bitcoin supply, upcoming regulation, and further financial market integration could drive bitcoin to new highs in 2019.”
An all-time high for Bitcoin? I think not
“It is extremely unlikely that we will see a new all-time high for Bitcoin in 2019. We will however start to see the emergence of tokenised securities – equity, debt and physical assets such as precious metals and real estate. Platforms that accommodate these will do very well.
Utility token-based projects with real utility and working products will start to gain adoption. As these start to scale, the finite amount of tokens should see a rise in value – economics 101 – supply and demand.
Only when people start to acquire these utility tokens for a purpose rather than purely speculating on the development of a platform that might ‘take off’, then we can expect a rise in value. The key is to scale faster the the competition and find and keep hold of large amounts of users.”
Year of bulls
“2019 will be the year of bulls for the crypto market, although we expect volatility to remain high. A number of factors are set to raise the price of the asset up in the New Year.
Most notably, the ongoing Bitcoin Cash (BCH) fork battle between Alphabit (ABC) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) should stabilise or may even come to an end which should help reduce the volatility currently present in the market.
Regulatory frameworks will no doubt be published and adopted in a number of key jurisdictions, including France, the US and the UK. By establishing clear rules, it will enable institutional investors to participate more actively in the market. This should lead to an increase in demand pressure which will drive the core assets prices up.”
Centralised exchanges make the switch
“Looking forward to 2019, the biggest change we’ll see in the world of blockchain is a shift from centralised to decentralised exchanges. Up until now, exchanges have overwhelmingly been centralised websites, which present a host of issues.
As we head into 2019, decentralised exchanges (crypto to crypto) will start to compete with their centralised counterparts as the technology catches up in terms of better user interface and higher transactional throughput.
As this happens and they become a better alternative, we can expect to see existing centralised exchanges starting to morph into decentralised forms, offering better user control and much higher levels of security.”
Cryptos meet IoT and automation
“2019 is the year that cryptocurrencies meet the Internet of Things and automation. Think ecosystems and micro economies that run themselves, without any middlemen or other people behind the scenes.
I’ve already pre-ordered the first cryptocurrency smart speaker, Volareo, that will have a digital cryptocurrency wallet on-board, from which micro-payments will be made directly from the speaker to the artist, and I am already using Brave, the browser headed up by Mozilla’s Brendan Eich, which makes micro-payments to participating websites from users’ cryptocurrency wallets as a privacy enhancing alternative to seeing targeted ads. This trend is set to continue with HTCs Exodus crypto smartphone, which has Brave browser as default.”
Public enjoys benefits of Blockchain
“In 2019, I expect we will see the first commercial (consumer-facing) applications of public blockchains go live, and the general public will finally experience the benefits that blockchain can bring.
ASICs will continue to increase their lead and dominance over GPUs as a more efficient and effective mining tool, and bitcoin will remain the dominant crypto asset in 2019, further establishing its position as digital gold.
2019 will also see big finance emerge as a significant player in crypto markets. Throughout the global start-up ecosystem, as well as with established companies that are willing to go public, security tokens will also gain more traction.”
Irrational buying decisions
“With the amount of the institutional money entering the space and top-level financiers and bankers leaving their jobs to jump onto the crypto train, it’s inevitable that in 2019, there will be a comeback for cryptocurrencies.
Still, most crypto hedge funds will simply buy the biggest coins by trading volume and market capitalisation, without necessarily being informed about their underlying technology. As a result, the market may see some irrational buying decisions in 2019.
Most security tokens are simply stocks on the blockchain. Securities are easier for the government to control and shut down, as they have a legal point of failure. As we start to see increased regulation, there will be significant growth in security tokens, whereas with utility tokens, there will be a selection process.”
If you have any predictions for 2019 that you’d like to share with us, please email [email protected]