2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus has of course dominated the headlines and all our lives, but the crypto world has endured an equally tumultuous 12 months. Bitcoin has hit all time highs just nine months after crashing 51% in March, while Ethereum 2.0 has launched after years in development.
Our four-part review of 2020 looks back at the top stories that shaped the cryptocurrency world this year, starting with January-March, which takes in another courtroom defeat for Craig Wright, institutional Bitcoin interest picking up, and the big Bitcoin crash among other highlights.
Parts two, three, and four will be winging their way to you this week.
2020 didn’t start too well for Craig Wright, who was awaiting the mystical bonded courier to arrive and unlock the ₿1.1 million held in his Tulip Trust (you know, the one the judge in his case against Dave Kleiman’s estate said didn’t exist because the evidence for it was forged). Wright tried to claim that the courier arrived before backtracking, but not before BSV had pumped nicely on the news. Handy that.
Wright was also found to be wrong regarding his prediction back in November 2018 that Bitcoin had a “fatal flaw” that would see it completely collapse by the end of 2019. It seems that what Wright was referring to here wasn’t Bitcoin but his credibility, which is now nothing but rubble.
January was a popular month for scammers, as Richard Heart’s HEX con enjoyed a “successful first month” that saw him move over 48,000 ETH from the project’s wallet, worth $6.64 million at the time. Amazingly it took getting to this point for some to realize they’d been conned, while Heart walked off with millions.
Following a dire end to 2019, crypto valuations began to pick up in the first month of 2020. Bitcoin rose steadily from $7,000 to end the month at $9,500, with the rest of the market joining in with this tentative recovery. With chatter about the positive impact of the halving in May beginning to pick up as well as prices, it seemed that this positive start to the year was only going to continue as the crypto markets continued with their recovery.
By the end of January however, only one word was on the tips of tongues the world over, a word that would come to dominate every aspect of society and the economy for the whole of 2020 – coronavirus.
February started brightly for crypto, with the Financial Times stating that asset managers were beginning to take an interest in the markets once again following Bitcoin’s recovery and a report stating that the Federal Reserve was considering its own digital currency. British police also revealed that drugs barons were “not using cryptocurrency” despite regular news reports to the contrary, once more addressing the falsehoods surrounding cryptocurrency usage.
Despite these positives, coronavirus was already taking its toll within the crypto world when Binance cancelled their Vietnam Blockchain Week and it was revealed that Chinese mining farms were pausing their activities because of the risk of infection among workers.
Within the crypto sphere itself, IOTA had its worst week ever when it was forced to take its entire blockchain offline following a wallet hack. The blockchain would remain turned off for almost a month while a fix was implemented. DeFi also took a hit in February when lending platform bZx was hacked twice in a matter of days as hackers gamed the complex system of interconnecting platforms to steal thousands of ETH.
Warren Buffett finally had the dubious pleasure of meeting Justin Sun and his merry band of crypto enthusiasts following the delayed $4.75 million lunch in early February, with Buffett calling them “well behaved”.
Nobody in the crypto world will forget what happened on March 13, 2020 – the Bitcoin price endured a flash crash of epic proportions, dropping 51% in a little over 24 hours, as $87 billion was wiped off the crypto markets within three days. Coronavirus panic, crashing traditional markets, and a cascade of long liquidations all combined to crash the Bitcoin price which brought the rest of the market down with it.
Better news came the way of a scared market a few days later when Bakkt President Adam White announced a long-awaited linkup between Starbucks and Bitcoin that might finally introduce the ability for Bitcoin holders to buy their daily coffee with the cryptocurrency.
As the real world impact of the coronavirus hit home, Bitcoin’s role as a deflationary, decentralized financial system suddenly came to the fore. Central banks were already discussing the amount of financial stimulus that would need to be afforded to their countries in order to support them down the road, and the world seemed to be waking up to the fact that Bitcoin’s true purpose may finally have been revealed.
Bitcoin ended March at $6,400, representing an impressive recovery from its lows of $3,850 just two weeks previously. Those who bought the blood were already reaping the rewards, little knowing that much more was to come.
2020 Just Getting Warmed Up
The first quarter of 2020 would shape the rest of the year in many ways, but there were still a great many surprises and distractions in store for the crypto world as the year unfolded. Check back tomorrow for part 2 where we remember the Bitcoin halving, Telegram pulling their $1.7 billion ICO, and the rise of DeFi.