With 2018 in the rear-view mirror (finally), the crypto industry is embracing what’s to come in 2019. The blockchain community has a way of looking at the glass half full, focusing on the hodlers and buidlers instead of the infighting and the skeptics.
There are reasons for this resilience, not the least of which involves the potential for a crypto-friendly regulatory framework and fresh capital making its way off the sidelines. With a new year and a new attitude, crypto has these catalysts to look forward to in the not-to-distant future…
this is clever…. https://t.co/ioY54aUnu3
— Michael Novogratz (@novogratz) January 2, 2019
Bakkt Readies A “Bellwether Year”
Despite delays, Bakkt is on its way to making its debut and is anticipating a “bellwether year,” having recently secured $182.5 million in funding. The seed round involved some of the biggest names in crypto and tech including Michael Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital in addition to the Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s venture capital arm Pantera Capital and more.
Bakkt, a regulated exchange for physically delivered bitcoin futures contracts, is optimistic that it will receive the “green light” from the CFTC and is “onboarding customers” in the interim. This launch has stirred wonder that is comparable to a kid opening a gift at Christmas.
It could be the lever to open the floodgates of big money like pension funds and endowments, which will capture the attention of asset managers who compete for their business. Who knows, you might even see BTC in your 401(k) by year-end.
Bitcoin ETF Decision Imminent
The elusive bitcoin ETF: some in the community love it while others hate what it represents. Either way, it is entirely possible that the SEC approves the VanEck/SolidX bitcoin ETF next month.
Traders may not be holding their collective breath, considering that regulators have capitalized on every available delaying tactic in the book. The final deadline for the VanEck approval is Feb. 27. The door has not been closed, and comments have been pouring into the SEC. And while it’s not a sure thing, 2019 could be the year the door opens.
Ethereum 2.0 On The Horizon
With ETH arguably now back in its rightful place as the biggest altcoin, all eyes are on the upcoming hard fork. Constantinople is scheduled to occur by mid-January, and it is a step toward bolstering the speed and capacity of the Ethereum network.
While it may seem that a lot of focus is being placed on the mainnet hard fork, it has far-reaching implications from slashing the miner’s reward to placing the launch of Beacon Chain, which is the proof-of-stake testnet, within reach.
Despite bitcoin’s dominance, ETH has the ability to set the mood in the crypto market too and any progress on the roadmap is often celebrated.
Regulation may still lag the market, but there is more certainty today than there was a year ago. Lawmakers have taken the baton from the SEC, with a new bill dubbed an “ICO Fix” now making its way through Congress.
The bipartisan bill is designed to nurture blockchain innovation in the U.S. and provide a legal framework for digital tokens, removing companies behind functioning blockchain networks from the securities law umbrella.
Security Token Offerings
New laws take time. In the interim, security token offerings are poised to be the fundraising method of 2019 for blockchain startups. Projects like Polymath, a securities token platform, pick up where ICO platforms left off and could usher in a whole new era of fundraising.
While STOs were not Plan A, they have a greater potential to deliver confidence to investors who were otherwise constrained by the risks tied to ICOs due to scams and stalled projects, catapulting crypto closer to mainstream adoption.
Silence Is Golden
The biggest catalyst for 2019, however, could be the silence among bitcoin price pundits, after predicting its price in 2018 proving to be a loser’s game.
The author is invested in digital assets, including bitcoin which is mentioned in this article.