The cryptocurrency market during Q2 of 2020 was just as crazy as Q1, if not more so – the coronavirus really kicked in, adding a dose of volatility to Bitcoin that it really didn’t need; Bitcoin celebrated a successful halving; DeFi made itself known (to the Ethereum gas price at least; and news of a PayPal crypto platform broke.
Part two of our four-part review of crypto in 2020 looks at what happened between April and June, with parts three and four coming over the next two days. If you haven’t read part one of our 2020 review yet you can do that here. Right, let’s dive in!
Bitcoin showed no ill effects from its March crash as April started, beginning the month at $6,400 and recovering steadily before roaring to $9,450 as the month ended, causing Coinbase to crash in scenes reminiscent of 2017. With the halving narrative gathering pace, price action wasn’t the only thing that reminded those of a certain vintage of that time – price predictions too were getting very 2017.
The first inkling that the coronavirus could be good for Bitcoin in the long term came this month via Deutsche Bank who argued that the pandemic would lead central banks to accelerate plans for digital currencies, raising awareness of them and helping to banish persistent fears. Evidence of this came just days later when the Financial Stability Board asked the G20 group of nations to take the lead on developing Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).
Then there was the small matter of central banks needing to set their money printers into overdrive in order to keep their nations afloat. The first stimulus checks arrived this month, with Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki saying that the printing of so much money illustrated why Bitcoin is the best hedge to a “dying dollar”.
Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV underwent their first ever halvings in April, not that anyone really noticed, what with the coronavirus world tour grabbing all the headlines and the hype over May’s Bitcoin halving getting up a head of steam.
The Michael Jackson of crypto scams OneCoin was back in the news this month as the chief conspirators in the $4.4 billion operation began to face their crimes in a court of law – all except the founder, Dr Ruja Ignatova of course. This month it was the turn of co-founder Sebastian Greenwood, who was accused of wire and securities fraud and money laundering, with explosive revelations set to come in other trials later in the year.
By far and away the most important event in April (and perhaps the year) occurred on the 16th however when BitStarz News made way for FullyCrypto! The new site contained all the latest news, opinion, and crypto guides one person could ever want, but with a brand new look and a podcast to boot.
It was also revealed in April that DeFi apps had done over $11 billion in volume in the first quarter of 2020, but this was just a fraction of what was to come later in the year.
There was no doubt about the major talking point in the crypto world in May – the Bitcoin halving. The event even made mainstream media news, with many news outlets mocking the idea that a mere block reward reduction would be enough to pump Bitcoin’s price.
The event itself passed successfully on May 11, with Bitcoin fans around the world excited about what the reduction in issuance could mean for the price in due course. They weren’t to be disappointed.
Bitcoin enjoyed further good news this month as billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones said that it would become “the fastest horse” out of all the alternative assets in the event of a currency crisis, which was looking ever more likely as governments worldwide began printing trillions of dollars.
Having spent months being battered from pillar to post by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Telegram was forced to abandon its $1.7 billion TON blockchain and ordered to return $1.2 billion to investors. The Gram token distribution had already been halted by the Securities and Exchange Commission in March, and earlier in May the company had announced that the launch had been delayed until 2021. Unable to find a way around the regulatory issues however the project was canned, which was the worst possible news for beleaguered investors who bought into the ICO back in 2018.
Craig Wright’s 2020 went from bad to worse this month as he was hit with more accusations of plagiarism dating back to 2008, in one case being caught in the act of editing the suspect pieces retrospectively. Just days later he was exposed as a liar (again) when 145 Bitcoin addresses supposedly belonging to his Tulip Trust were digitally signed by the true owner. Wright later claimed that there was “no sworn testimony at any point stating that those coins were mine.”
May also saw a successful test of a digital euro by the Banque de France, illustrating just how far research into Central Bank Digital Currencies was coming in, spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic. Almost the same day, JPMorgan released a report suggesting that global adoption CBDCs could threaten the dominance of the US dollar, noting in particular China’s rapid development of a digital yuan.
Bitcoin started the month by blasting through $10,000 then dropping back under it less than 24 hours later thanks to a huge miner selloff, setting off what would turn out to be a less than exciting month for the Bitcoin price as it sat in a $1,000 range for the entire period.
A $5.3 million Ethereum transaction fee raised eyebrows this month, particularly after no one came forward to claim it. Etheremine, the mining outfit who were the fortunate recipients of the windfall, planned to distribute it among their pool unless someone came forward to claim it. The sender was eventually revealed to be a Ponzi scheme called Good Cycle, which sealed the fate of the funds.
JPMorgan illustrated a changing attitude on cryptocurrencies this month, saying that the crypto ecosystem had passed its first “stress test” having come through the March crash. This was the first positive noise the bank had made on the cryptocurrency ecosystem, but it would turn out to be far from the last.
June also saw Wirecard, the German fintech company who provided cryptocurrency debit cards to some of the ecosystem’s biggest providers, reveal a $1.9 billion black hole in its accounts. The company would eventually go bust, with its card providing services farmed out to competitors.
U.S. President Donald Trump was said to have wanted to “go after” Bitcoin in 2018 according to former security advisor John Bolton this month, backing up claims that the Trump administration used the introduction of Bitcoin futures to pop the 2017 bubble.
One of the biggest stories this month was the suggestion that payment processing giant PayPal was considering starting a cryptocurrency platform that would allow customers to buy and sell cryptocurrency through them. This promised to be the biggest boost for mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies that the space had ever seen, although there were concerns among purists that users would not be able to move their coins off the platform.
By June the DeFi craze was taking hold, with yield farming projects cropping up like weeds by the dozen. As a result the Ethereum was struggling to cope, with transaction prices trebling as traders and farmers tried to force through their trades and secure their massive gains, with decentralized exchange Uniswap suddenly becoming the Mecca for DeFi projects.
Cryptocurrency Recovery Just The Start
Bitcoin ended the quarter at $9,100, quite the recovery from March’s low of $3,850. No one outside the space was talking about this recovery however for obvious reasons, and even in the crypto world DeFi was beginning to take precedence over anything Bitcoin as doing post-halving.
If DeFi was growing in June however, July-September would see it explode, bringing with it a whole new casino for crypto traders to play in. Phrases like ‘liquidity provider’, ‘ape’ and ‘rug pull’ would come out of nowhere to dominate the space, while the whole episode would bring Ethereum to its knees.
All this and more will feature in part three of our four-part review of crypto in 2020 coming tomorrow. Stay tuned!