2018 was hard for bitcoin and cryptos, but what does 2019 look like? The Investing News Network breaks down the year ahead.
While 2018 was certainly not the year bitcoin enthusiasts were hoping it would be, there is potential 2019 will see a turnaround — although perhaps not in ways one might expect.
Pricing remains a constant factor when it comes to digital currencies, but next year will begin to see more certainty from government bodies, which will give the space the legitimacy it has been craving.
Here, the Investing News Network (INN) takes a look at what’s in store for top digital currency bitcoin and the crypto space in general with insight from industry experts.
Bitcoin outlook 2019: Quest for clarity
As noted in our 2018 bitcoin trends article, challenges from regulatory bodies remain at the forefront of the industry, although transparency is coming.
Case in point, the Group of 20 (G20) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) both made headlines in 2018 with ways they plan to provide certainty — in one way or another — for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
G20 nations met several times over the course of the year for clarification on anti-money laundering (AML) standards for crytpo assets, in addition to asking for standards on how to regulate cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, the SEC noted in November that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum are tokens rather than securities.
So what does this mean for next year? More certainty and clarity, of course.
“I think regulations are going to continue to be moved forward,” Anthony Di Iorio, CEO and founder of Decentral and Jaxx and co-founder of ethereum, told INN. “I think there is clarity coming out and regulatory bodies are expecting companies and projects to adapt.”
Di Iorio explained that companies will need to follow rules implemented by regulatory bodies while trying to balance the technology “with the forces of pressures” put in place by regulators to stay within the “traditional guidelines.”
While regulations are vital when new technologies like cryptocurrencies present themselves, Di Iorio said how far regulations will go to “make sense” of this technology is a concern he has moving into 2019.
“These new technologies … are not meant to be regulated and it’s a technology that is open, free, that people can use,” he said. “It will be impossible in the future to try to regulate certain technologies as privacy technologies improve.”
Bitcoin outlook 2019: Concerns and challenges
While getting clarity in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency space is certainly crucial, other concerns still plague the industry in the race for legitimacy.
In terms of concerns, Eric Ervin, CEO of Blockforce Capital, told INN that interests rates are something to watch for as we head into the new year.
“We want to watch the Fed and make sure that they’re not raising interest rates too much and stopping the economy in its tracks,” Ervin said.
Frank Holmes, CEO of US Global Investors (NASDAQ:GROW), told INN that in his own meetings with regulators, AML remains a concern. He exampled hackers getting paid in bitcoin and showing up in exchange-trade funds (ETFs) listed on exchanges in Toronto or New York.
“Until [AML standards are] perfected, the virgin [bitcoins] are the best source,” Holmes said, adding that only “virgin coins” going into a North American ETF will relieve many AML concerns.
Meanwhle Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM, told INN that what the cryptocurrency space needs is adoption and certainty on how it’s going to be used.
“To me … the biggest challenge that we have over the next year or two is to have people in the US and more developed markets understand why bitcoin is important and then secondarily why cryptocurrencies are important to the Web 3.0 story,” he said.
Bitcoin outlook 2019: The revolution continues
As bitcoin and cryptocurrencies await further clarity from regulatory agencies — and in the same vein resolutions to some of the challenges — one thing is certain: the technology itself is here to stay.
“The building and the disruption and the technology is just going to continue,” Ervin said, comparing this new industry’s growth to the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He noted that while stocks in that era didn’t recover fast, looking back it was more about the innovation and how the internet changed people’s lives that made a difference, and he expects the same in the crypto space.
Di Iorio echoed similar sentiments and said the future is about getting the public to understand how this technology will be more important than what happened with the internet revolution.
“[The technology] will create a lot more change and industries that the internet couldn’t change, and it’s going to impact every part of [our] lives,” Di Iorio said. “It’s not necessarily about where the market will go, but more about where the technology is heading.”
Bitcoin outlook 2019: Investor takeaway
While it is easy to get caught up in the pricing concerns that weigh down bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, what we have learned from industry experts is that the space is more than just about the price per token on a day-to-day basis.
Clarity is certainly coming for the industry, and the rise of institutional investors entering the space in 2018 is also providing more legitimacy.
The debate about what kind of impact regulations will have on the space always exists, but 2019 will begin to see how more involvement of regulatory bodies will play out, for better or for worse.
Still, it’s been said time and time again how this technology will disrupt our daily lives; now it’s no longer a question of whether or not it will, but when — and 2019 will start seeing those pieces come into place.
So hold on tight, bitcoin and cryptocurrency enthusiasts: validation of the space is coming.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Technology for real-time news updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.