While most of the cryptoverse in 2018 has been dominated by the bear market, some industry experts are optimistic looking ahead to 2019.
And there’s plenty of reason to be. There are a number of high proﬁle crypto adoptions in various stages, from planning to in progress to done deals. Each one of these moves digital currency a bit closer to wider, mainstream adoption.
Here’s a look at ﬁve ways cryptocurrency is ﬁnding its place in 2019 and beyond.
Binance Announces Users Can Pay For Crypto with Credit and Debit Cards
The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, Binance, recently announced a move that makes it easier for anyone to buy cryptocurrencies.
In late January, the exchange announced Thursday that it partnered with Simplex, a payments processing ﬁrm, to allow Visa and Mastercard holders to purchase bitcoin, ether, litecoin, and XRP. Those currencies can, in turn, be traded for more than 151 other tokens on the exchange.
“Building ﬁat gateways is what we need now to grow the ecosystem, increase adoption and introduce crypto to more users,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a statement. “The crypto industry is still in its early stages and most of the world’s money is still in ﬁat.”
The adoption isn’t comprehensive just yet, however. Six U.S. states are not yet supported, among them New York, Georgia, New Mexico, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Washington.
Overstock Goes All In on Blockchain
It’s safe to say that Partick Byrne, founder of Overstock, is bullish on cryptocurrency.
Byrne, Both Overstock and Byrne, have deep ties to crypto and blockchain technology. In 2014, the retailer was among the ﬁrst to accept Bitcoin. Ever since, the CEO and founder has been vocal about the potential of crypto and blockchain.
Even more recently, Bryne has stated that he believes that decentralised, stateless cash will be part of the larger future of humanity.
Referencing Overstock’s eﬀorts to integrate the underpinning tech into its platform, Bryne stated “We think we’ve got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”
If that’s not a ringing endorsement, we don’t know what is.
Fortnite Begins to Accept Crypto
There are few things more popular than the online, “battle royale” style game Fortnite. There are more than 125 million users worldwide. The vast majority of them are under 18, and it’s been said – only half jokingly – that the user base knows more about crypto currency than most adults.
In the ﬁrst week of of 2019, that was evident when the game brieﬂy accepted the cryptocurrency Monero. According to Holiday 2018 consumer reports, youngsters were keen on using a cryptocurrency as a payment option – instead of cash – on Fortnite merchandise store.
The game relies on micro transactions for revenue, and putting that Monero logo in front of all those young eyes in the Fortune online store surely made an impression. Fortnite’s CEO removed the option after a few days, claiming that it had been added by mistake.
Still, the cat was out of the bag. “That’s some pretty awesome adoption,” a user said in the Monero sub-Reddit. “It’s a fantastic exposure of millions of people who might ask “What’s that groovy M? And why is it better than regular payment?”
Bitcoin Accepting Venues Explode in Number
The infrastructure necessary to accept Bitcoin isn’t going anywhere, and in fact is only getting stronger.
According to coinmap.org, the number of venues that accept Bitcoin and other currencies increased by 25%, to 14,137 in 2018. Alongside that, Bitcoin ATM installations absolutely bursted through the stratosphere, increasing by 98%, to grand total of 4,108 in 2018, according to coinatmradar.com.
A good number of those several thousand locations that accept crypto include increasingly big names like sandwich giant Subway, as well as an airline that can, quite literally, take crypto to the moon, Virgin Galactic.
Facebook Develops New Coin for WhatsApp Transactions
In addition, the Ethereum Constantinople hard fork will also occur on February 27. Hard forks can be controversial depending on their circumstances. All one needs to do is look at the recent bitcoin cash fork that occurred in November 2018 to understand, and volatility can often increase following the establishment of a new chain, thereby leaving room for ether prices to move up in early or mid-March.
The biggest item worth noting is that February 27 is when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to finally make its decision regarding a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) submitted by the joint venture VanEck SolidX. These companies have been working to get a bitcoin ETF approved since March 2017, though most early attempts have proved fruitless.
A Long Journey Concluded?
Facebook acquired messaging app WhatsApp in a high proﬁle trade. The social media company paid $19 billion dollars in exchange for the app and it’s whopping 1.5 billion users. It’s inside that ecosystem that Facebook plans to develop a coin for money transfers using the app.
Initial details are scarce, but the word is that the currency will be in the class of stablecoins, and focus on targeting the remittance market in India, considered a sphere of inﬂuence for Ripple and their XRP coin, who boasted of holding a near ﬁfty percent market share earlier in the year.
In contrast to the investment-focused assets like Bitcoin and others, stablecoins provide a more consumer-friendly landscape for digital transactions. And it’s no doubt that with Facebook going all in on its own cryptocurrency, it’s a simple matter of time until other internet behemoths follow suit. Tweetcoins, anyone?
Hopefully, with more widespread adoption in 2019 and more investors in the mix overall, the bear goes back into hibernation.