2018: A year of fluctuation for crypto
The world of crypto in 2018 was characterised by massive price fluctuations, regulatory changes and social media monitoring. Cryptocurrency continued to show growth across the globe, showcasing the world’s desire to exercise more control over their finances. Marius Reitz, Luno’s country manager, provides an overview of the important milestones during the year.
December 2017 saw a massive boom in cryptocurrency speculation, which brought even greater scrutiny by the public.
After the December bull run, Bitcoin lost 40% of its value over January, due partly from new regulations introduced in South Korea and Facebook’s announcement that it would ban the advertising of cryptocurrencies and crypto exchanges.
In February markets fell out of love with initial coin offerings (ICOs), as almost half of 2017’s ICOs failed to attract funding. While some ICOs were money-raising exercises for startups, a large number of ICOs turned out to be scams and the founders disappeared with the money raised. It served as a stark reminder to investors of the importance of thoroughly researching a company before deciding to buy their tokens, including company employees and founders.
The G20's Financial Stability Board (FSB), comprising 68 institutions such as banks and ministries of finance which put forward suggestions for global financial systems, announced that the FSB did not believe crypto assets pose a threat to global markets. While concerns were noted, the FSB chairman also highlighted the potential of the underlying cryptographic and blockchain technology to improve the inclusiveness of the financial system and the economy.
Nasdaq considers crypto
In April, crypto got a great boost when Nasdaq CEO, Adena Friedman, declared that Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange in the future to provide a fair experience for investors.
Goldman Sachs seemingly announced their move to have the first Bitcoin trading operation on Wall Street, but this turned out to be false.
Ad ban lifted
In June, Facebook lifted its ban on crypto advertising for select companies and introduced an eligibility test for crypto-related companies to allow them to advertise. Luno was one of the companies that easily passed this eligibility test.
Google then decided to ban all crypto-related advertising in a bid to protect their users from scams, but this was partially lifted a few months later. Advertisers need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will appear and need to apply for this certification.
In August, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) denied over nine more Bitcoin exchange traded funds (ETFs), citing loosely structured Bitcoin market lack of protections against fraud and manipulation to merit an exchange-traded fund or product.
10 year anniversary
October saw the ten year anniversary of the publication of Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System by the anonymous programmer (or programmers) known as Satoshi Nakamoto. This was the first published document to outline what is known as the world’s first scarce currency.
Bitcoin Cash hard fork
A Bitcoin Cash hard fork hit the crypto market on 15 November, in line with the Bitcoin Cash blockchain’s scheduled six-monthly hard forks adopted at inception. The purpose is to upgrade and improve the protocol.
At the end of 2018, the G20 announced it would regulate crypto assets to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Luno, along with many other players, welcomes greater cooperation with banks.