Year 2019 has every chance to become the most important year in the relatively short history of the block chain and cryptocurrency industry. Investors are witnessing a new round of growth for digital asset prices after a long ‘cryptocurrency winter’. Financial regulators (including the International Monetary Fund) are increasingly more often seeing a positive side in cryptocurrencies while analysts are predicting bitcoin’s new historic highs very soon. Once again, cryptocurrencies have become part of the public agenda. They are being discussed by parliaments, criticized and praised by politicians. Even US President Donald Trump found it necessary to speak about this phenomenon on Twitter.
However, the biggest trend of today is the cryptocurrency market being joined by the global corporations whose businesses were never previously associated with block chain. And this is not surprising. It is more stunning that this is only happening now, a decade after Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first Bitcoin block. All this time, the digital asset industry has managed to remain relatively independent from the world of conventional corporations. There have been its market leaders and ‘unicorns’ (such as Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange). Despite the unprecedented dynamic of the new class of assets, only a few years ago the majority of big business captains could hardly mask their skepticism. In 2019 the situation irreversibly changed when Facebook confirmed long-speculated rumors and officially announced development of its own cryptocurrency project, Libra, that is to create a global digital currency for instant payments available to everybody. It is highly indicative that until recently, Facebook did not even allow any cryptocurrency-related advertising on its platforms thus strengthening their reputation as something not completely legal, possibly fraudulent and associated with cybercrime.
Libra met a negative response from regulatory bodies. It is very likely that Facebook will not go through with the project, which its investors were warned about in the company’s latest financial statement. However, the initiative has already played a part in legitimizing cryptocurrency’s public image.
Telegram, a messenger developed by Pavel Durov, is also about to launch its own block chain. Telegram Open Network (TON) is an even more ambitious undertaking than Mark Zuckerberg’s project. This system of multiple block chains will allow integrating the popular messenger not only with digital transactions but also with secure file storing and sharing, as well as a platform for decentralized apps (Dapps). Telegram’s ICO TON became one of the biggest in the industry at the time and raised $1.7 bio. Results of the development will be released by the end of October. As the public is warming up towards cryptocurrency, they are becoming an efficient marketing tool that more and more companies want to be associated with. For example, Samsung has already upgraded its latest smart phones with a crypto wallet feature and is expected to be soon followed by its competitors Apple and Huawei.
With large corporations entering the market of cryptocurrencies and related services, digital assets will continue to sneak into our lives. The industry will also become more competitive, which will surely advance quality and end-user security standards.
Arseny Bessmertnykh, CryptoEYE Analyst at Zichain