Which developments and events could concretely encourage crypto mass adoption in 2020?
Forbes, for example, suggests ten possible forecasts that could have a significant impact both on the entire blockchain ecosystem and on the cryptocurrencies themselves.
With regard to the blockchain ecosystem in general, i.e. specifically excluding cryptocurrencies, Forbes mentions five developments or events that could have a considerable impact in 2020, potentially leading to mass adoption.
The first is the Chinese state digital currency, which although not a true cryptocurrency, might actually force hundreds of millions of Chinese to start using and becoming familiar with wallets and exchanges. According to several rumours, the first tests could start already in the first part of next year, and by combining this development with the specific interest of China to become somehow a protagonist in the blockchain sector, the result looks promising, as well as just around the corner.
Besides China’s CBDC, the Libra stablecoin could also have a similar influence. Forbes cites this as the second event capable of having an impact on the industry were it to actually land on the market by the end of 2020.
The fourth point Forbes has highlighted – the spread of stablecoins – could perhaps be even more likely to encourage the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. In fact, many stablecoins, including the main one (Tether), are actually cryptocurrency tokens, often in ERC20 format, i.e. issued on the Ethereum blockchain.
Theoretically, stablecoins are already perfect substitutes for fiat currencies, but with the advantage of being completely free – i.e. without limits or obstacles to their use – and anonymous. In other words, they are alternatives to fiat currencies but with at least two more features.
The possible spread of stablecoins could provide a truly remarkable boost to the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Among these developments and events related to the blockchain, Forbes also mentions private and permissioned initiatives, as well as oracles, but these are unlikely to have anything to do with the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
The last of these developments, namely interoperability between the various blockchains, could also have an impact, especially at the technical level, although to date it doesn’t seem to be a rapidly growing trend.
A possible favourable approach on the part of the regulators could certainly help a great deal, especially if they admit that they have very little power over decentralised cryptocurrencies. Two games are being played in this area, one aimed at centralised projects, such as Libra, and another totally different one aimed at truly decentralised cryptocurrencies, against which the regulators have no power.
Will crypto reach mass adoption?
There are other developments, besides the ones mentioned by Forbes, which refer specifically to cryptocurrencies.
The first concerns the well-known issue of bitcoin ETFs. According to the author of the article, Biser Dimitrov, they will not be approved in 2020. However, this may not have any significant impact on mass adoption, because while ETFs seem to be at a standstill, futures are moving forward, mainly thanks to Bakkt. Furthermore, should the US company actually launch its BTC payment app in 2020, endorsed also by Starbucks, then the positive momentum could also be very significant.
Forbes also mentions the DeFi sector and Ethereum 2.0, as the former was one of the most interesting trends of 2019, and it is not hinting at fading. Ethereum provides the basis for DeFi, which means that where there is the former there is also the latter. DeFi could be the driving force behind a possible success of Ethereum, especially when in 2020 Proof-of-Stake will actually be introduced.
Worth mentioning is also Lightning Network, the second layer of Bitcoin that allows immediate, untraceable and very low-cost transactions.
However, what is missing in the Forbes article is an explicit reference to the possible development of the adoption by banks and traditional financial institutions of services involving cryptocurrencies, such as those recently approved by the German Parliament.
This trend has only vaguely begun in 2019, but if it explodes in 2020 – which is not impossible – it could really make a difference. After all, the possibility of buying and selling bitcoins directly from a bank account would be a true revolution in this industry.
Another event that has been culpably ignored by Forbes is the bitcoin halving in May. It is a highly anticipated event, both because the last one occurred almost four years ago and because the two previous ones were followed by two speculative bubbles that multiplied its value in a few months.
To tell the truth, the bitcoin halving could also prove to be the single most important event for the crypto sector in 2020, let alone because it is absolutely certain that it will happen.
The crypto sector is actually so large that these developments or events are only a small part of what could happen in 2020 to encourage mass adoption. There will certainly be other events that will have some kind of relevance, and there may even be new trends emerging and thriving, as was the case in 2019 with the unexpected DeFi scenario.
What is certain is that 2020 promises to be a very different year than 2019 at the end of 2018.