2020’s been an interesting year. From lockdowns across the world due to the coronavirus, general political uncertainty, and financial markets strained by a never-ending cycle of seemingly once-in-a-lifetime events,’ cryptocurrency has enjoyed renewed interest as people look for a solution to their anxiety.
Despite The Coronavirus, Strong Growth In The Crypto World
Public exchange data points to a surge of confidence in Bitcoin as platforms like eToro and Binance enjoy strong growth across 2020. eToro’s U.S. head, Guy Hirsh, said the company’s seen a 300-400% boost in crypto trading volume in the United States since December 2019.
Deep-pocket institutional investors have been coming to Binance in droves, according to CEO Changpeng Zhao. CZ said the number of new institutional clients was 47.4% higher in Q1 2020 than Q4 of last year.
2020 also has ushered in large amounts of women into the cryptocurrency industry. A report from CoinMarketCap showed a 43.24% increase in female users in Q1 2020, a sharp uptick from a 15.5% increase in Q4 2019.
Big Price Swings & Speculation Amid The Halving
Interest in cryptocurrency took another jump in May amid the halving, which occurs every four years. The cryptocurrency crossed $10,000 in early May due to anticipation about the event. The price jump represented a 150% price increase from March.
Bitcoin IRA COO Chris Kline said news about the halving drove up demand for Bitcoin with IRA and 401(k) account. Kline said April and May 2020 saw record transaction volume for the company.
Blockstream CSO Samson Mao explained Bitcoin mining was chewing up about 77 terawatt hours per year, and thinks “we’ll be doing pretty well if we can reach 0.1 percent [of the world’s total energy use.]”
Even amid Bitcoin’s jump around the halving – 2020 has shown leading Bitcoin forks have been doing better in the market.
June data from Messari shows YTD date returns with Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, and Bitcoin Gold are 14x greater than Bitcoin, when using an equal-weighted index of three forks and Bitcoin. Since the start of 2020, Bitcoin SV has outperformed Bitcoin by 61 percentage points, according to data.
Scams & Financial Crackdowns Continue
Data through May shows cryptocurrency crimes and scams are on the rise, and the amount of money stolen might go in the record books. So far in 2020, crypto crimes total $1.4 billion.
CipherTrace suggests current theft levels might make 2020 see the second-highest value in cryptocurrency crimes, behind 2019.
Cybercriminals have largely focused on coronavirus-based scams in the first half of 2020.
Popular tricks include getting people to send cryptocurrency in exchange for buying fake or nonexistent PPE products or donating to fake coronavirus relief efforts.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also issued a statement of work in early May signifying a desire to hire crypto tax experts who can examine inconsistent tax filings that deal with cryptocurrency.
Speculation is the agency might be taking a heavier hand with tax returns that contain cryptocurrency transactions, but nothing is necessarily set in stone just yet.
Optimism Abound As People Look Ahead To The Next Half Of 2020
There’s still a wide range of optimism in the cryptocurrency world, especially as economies across the world suffer due to the effects of the coronavirus and ensuing lockdowns and quarantines.
Many are also looking forward to the continued development of decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms and the potential partial launch of Ethereum 2.0 later this year.