2019 was an exciting year for the crypto industry, full of growth, maturity, and volatility. Big banks made considerable investments in crypto, Bitcoin futures took off, Facebook announced the launch of its cryptocurrency, and more. Keep reading for this year’s most important moments and trends.
Wall Street Steps In
To the world’s surprise, JP Morgan announced in February that it was launching its own stable coin, the JPM Coin. The bank-sponsored digital currency is said to settle transactions for JP Morgan’s clients across the globe, and according to reports, testing has already begun.
In September, Wells Fargo followed JP Morgan’s lead and announced Wells Fargo Digital Cash, a tokenized dollar that allows users to move money across the bank’s global network in “near real-time.”
Fidelity also jumped into crypto, setting up a New York state-chartered limited liability trust company to offer institutional customers digital asset trading. In December, the firm announced plans to expand the business to Europe.
Facebook & Twitter Invest in Crypto
In late June, Facebook announced the launch of Libra, a cryptocurrency governed by 100+ global companies, backed by a mix of stable currencies. Libra quickly faced backlash from regulators around the world who feared a company like Facebook controlling customers’ financial data and money.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Head of Calibra David Marcus went in front of Congress to defend the project and faced days of intense questioning. Despite the scrutiny from legislatures and companies like PayPal and Mastercard dropping out of the project, Facebook plans to move forward with Libra in 2020.
Twitter also made investments into crypto and blockchain. Jack Dorsey announced in December that Twitter will be funding a small independent team to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media and that ultimately, Twitter hopes to be its client. Dorsey also told his followers that he’s moving to Africa to help define the Bitcoin Future.
Regulators Crack Down
This year, U.S. Regulators finally provided additional clarity to crypto investors and businesses. In July, the IRS issued a warning to 10,000+ U.S. taxpayers with cryptocurrency holdings, advising them on how to file their taxes. On October 9, 2019, the IRS released new guidance on cryptocurrency taxation, including more clarity on hard forks, cost basis calculations, transfers, donations, and more.
In April, the SEC released its long-awaited crypto-token guidelines, detailing how the Howey Test, a decades-old legal precedent, can be used to determine whether a token is a security or not.
Futures Take Off
In September, Bakkt finally got approval to launch physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts. After a slow start, futures contracts on Bakkt hit a new high, with $4.8 million worth of Bitcoin traded on October 21.
Following their record-breaking day, Bakkt announced its plans to launch the first regulated options contract for bitcoin futures.
Bitcoin claimed the title of “Best Investment of the Decade.” According to CNN, if you invested $1 in Bitcoin in January 2010, it would now be worth roughly $90,000.
In comparison, a $1 investment in Gold would only be worth about $1.34 today. The stock market yielded slightly better results, with a $1 investment growing to $3.46 over the last decade. Still, no other investment came close to Bitcoin’s 8,999,900% ROI. (sludgefeed)