From Facebook launching its debut cryptocurrency-Libra to China rooting for more blockchain adoption, 2019 has indeed been an eventful year in the world of cryptocurrency. The year was marked with numerous events that substantially shaped the crypto sector in regards to significant improvements and major fails. With 2019 already ended, it’s right to take a look back into the year that saw major events roll out shaping the future of the cryptocurrency world.
Below are the top crypto events that occurred in 2019.
1. Craig Wright’s Claim
Craig Wright hit crypto headline in 2019 when he declared himself the founder of Bitcoin, claiming the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright is an Australian computer scientist who claims that he was involved in Bitcoin’s creation along with his friend and the deceased computer security expert Dave Kleiman. Wright claimed that he has substantial evidence, including historical documents such as the handwritten version of Bitcoin’s white paper that included coffee stains and rusty staples.
Wright claimed to be Bitcoin’s founder after Wired Magazine, and Gizmodo published articles of the possibility of Wright being Nakamoto in December 2015. The article quoted from several sources such as Wright’s email correspondence and chat transcripts with acquaintances as well as several business dealings. Wright’s claim to be Nakamoto generated substantial conspiracy and skepticism in the crypto world, with some people supporting the claim. For instance, Gavin Andresen, the director of the Bitcoin Foundation who corresponded with Nakamoto while carrying out the initial programming work in Bitcoin, said that he was “convinced beyond reasonable doubt” that Wright was Satoshi.
Nonetheless, Wright failed to publicly prove that he Bitcoin’s creator when he failed to move a single coin that belongs to Satoshi. This was the only way he could prove that his claims.
Following the claims, Kleiman’s estate sued Wright for allegedly stealing close to 1 million Bitcoin. It is said in the past that Wright and Kleiman worked together on mining and developing Bitcoin. According to Kleiman’s family, Wright stole between 550,000 to 1 million Bitcoin — worth about $10 billion. In June 2019, Wright was ordered to surrender about $3 billion of his Bitcoin holdings after being found guilty of submitting false documents and lied in a legal dispute involving Dave Kleiman. The lawsuit is yet to be resolved.
2. China Calls for Increased Blockchain Adoption
2019 saw China soften its stance on blockchain and related technologies. Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that the People’s Republic ought to make a “greater effort” to develop and implement blockchain technology to gain a competitive advantage over other leading economies. Initially, China was very hostile to cryptocurrency, and blockchain burned Bitcoin mining shutting down established mining firms. While Bitcoin use and mining is still burned in the country, the country has allowed for the adoption of Blockchain technology.
Following President Xi Jinping called for increased blockchain adoption, crypto whales took advantage of the opportunity to increase Bitcoin’s price to epic proportions. The fear of missing out from China’s call for blockchain adoption saw Bitcoin enter a bullish trend recording its third-largest single-day gain in the coin’s history. China also made headlines when it announced that it would launch a central bank digital currency in the first half of 2020.
3. Facebook’s Crypto Libra Commences with a Disappointing Reception
Facebook’s announcement of its debut Libra cryptocurrency has indeed been one of the most notable events headlining the cryptocurrency sector in 2019. Following Facebook’s big revelation of Libra’s launch, the U.S political space was up in arms against the expected launch. U.S lawmakers reacted with skepticism to the intended developments summoning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to several hearings. U.S lawmakers are against Libra with claims that the currency will create a dangerous monopoly over users’ privacy, citing the Facebook data privacy scandal.
From the project’s white paper, Libra’s overall mission is “to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers millions of people.” The whitepaper further claims the Libra will leverage “a new decentralized blockchain, a low volatility cryptocurrency, and a smart contract platform” to empower close to 1.7 billion unbanked people. This mission will be achieved through the use of Facebook’s WhatsApp, Messenger, and Calibra platforms, as well as a digital wallet designed for Libra users. Nonetheless, the cold reception in several countries such as India, which burned its use outright following the launch, jeopardizes the future of the project.
4. TRON Tesla Giveaway Controversy
2019 also witnessed several cryptocurrency PR stunts, notably the TRON Tesla giveaway controversy. At the beginning of the year, TRON’s CEO, Justin Sun, announced a Tesla giveaway intended to push for the awareness of the project. In the giveaway, Sun announced that TRON had partnered with Tether to giveaway a Tesla Model S. However, the giveaway was purely a PR stunt after Sun failed to give the Tesla to the alleged winner.
When the time came to pick a winner, Sun used random lottery selection software called TWrench. However, Sun failed to post a video of the live draw to his official Twitter handle, claiming that the video quickly got removed from twitter due to a glitch caused by the large file size. The TRON community investigated the claim finding out that the giveaway was fake, and the “winner’s” name appeared even before the draw began.
5. Bakkt Bitcoin Futures
Bakkt launched in September 2019, creating hope that institutions would finally endorse Bitcoin investment. Bakkt is the Bitcoin futures trading platform of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is also the owner of the New York Stock Exchange.
With the launch of Bakkt, most of the crypto market expected the sudden influx of institutional investors it would bring on board would be enough to cause Bitcoin to get on a bullish trend immediately. However, this wasn’t really the case. Bakkt launched to horrible trading volume with Bitcoin losing a substantial amount of its value. Towards the end of September, Bitcoin has plunged by $2,000 from an upwards of $10,000 to about $8,000.
6. XRP Becomes Most Used Crypto
Not only have a number of ODL (On Demand Liquidity) corridors opened up utilising XRP for cross border settlement but 2019 was a massive year for Ripple and XRP all round. With products like Coil gaining minor adoption, Ripple becoming a share holder in Moneygram, Xpring investing heavily in the XRP ecosystem and numerous banks and other institutions signing up to RippleNet and R3’s Corda.
But perhaps the most telling movement in 2019 saw many XRP haters, FUDsters and Bitcoin Maximalists actually switch to using XRP for their own transfers. Despite the repulse and rile they continue to show XRP, a great number of them have admitted they sell their Bitcoins for XRP in order to move from exchange to exchange or wallet and then switch back to Bitcoin at the other end. They still claim XRP to be a “shitcoin” but admit that 3 second faultless transactions beat the slow, expensive and unreliable Bitcoin transactions hands down. Strange.
What Should We Expect in the Crypto Space in 2020
From the above notable events, it is evident that 2019 was quite eventful and was generally an excellent year for not only Bitcoin but also for the entire cryptocurrency market in general. Being the last year of the decade, Bitcoin has been the most profitable investment with an ROI of 8,900,000%.
As 2020 kicks off, it will be interesting to witness events that will continue shaping this rapidly growing sector. In case you have no idea of where to start keeping track of events to look out for in 2020, here is a good place to start!