Bitcoin's rebound, launch of Bitcoin ETFs, debate on Facebook's stablecoin, conflict between TON and the SEC, and other important events in the crypto market.
Even though there is no doubt 2019 has not been the year of Bitcoin, it would be unfair to say that the crypto has defrauded investors during this year if we take into account it has grown from the $3,700 registered in January to the current $7,200.
In addition, experts at the American investment bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) think Bitcoin is the best investment of the last 10 years. According to them, investors who invested $1 in 2010 would now have $90,026.
Several investment instruments linked to Bitcoin have hit the market this year. For instance, everyone was looking forward to the arrival of Bitcoin ETFs. However, the SEC has not yet approved any of the numerous applications it has received.
What really surprised the crypto community was the fact that CBOE decided to halt Bitcoin futures trading due to the lack of demand from investors. At the same time, CME Group reported it is working to launch Bitcoin options in 2020.
One of the most relevant events of the year in relation to Bitcoin was the launch of Bitcoin futures trading on derivatives platform Bakkt, which became the first platform approved by US regulators. However, the market did not react as expected.
One of the most important moments of the year was when the social network Facebook unveiled in spring its plans to launch its stablecoin Libra in several countries next year.
Everything looked good when it was reported that popular companies including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Uber, Stripe, Booking.com and MercadoLibre had invested in the project.
However, things started to go wrong as a result of the reaction of regulators, which began to criticize the project due to the risks it might represent for financial stability. The first hearings related to Facebook's stablecoin in the US Congress started on June 26.
Besides, French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, said in September that the country will block the development of Libra in Europe as it may represent risks to monetary sovereignty.
After regulators from all over the world said they were not supporting Libra, several of its major partners, including Visa, MasterCard, Stripe and eBay, announced their decision to abandon the project.
However, Libra developers continued to work on the project and in November released the preliminary version of Libra's mainnet. In addition, they said that during 2020 they would implement a strategy to allow non-technical organizations to launch their own nodes.
Libra developers published earlier this month the second roadmap of the project. At the same time, Patrick Ellis, board member of the Libra Association, said the project will be launched next year in spite of the pressure from authorities.
The Telegram Open Network (TON), which attracted a total of $1.7B during its ICO in 2018, was another remarkable event.
Right after the ICO, the developers of the project promised investors to return their funds if TON was not launched before October 31, 2019. However, the launch suffered several delays until October, when the SEC suspended the project arguing Gram, the project's native token, is a security, and that Telegram had failed to provide investors with information about its financial situation, as required by the US securities law.
However, shortly afterwards it was reported investors had agreed to allow the company to keep their funds and to put off the launch till April 30, 2020. However, there is no guarantee that there will not be more delays.
Libra has also affected how regulators view stablecoins.
In October it was known China is working on a digital yuan and that the EU is interested in launching a digital version of the euro.
In the same month it was reported that even the US Federal Reserve System (FRS) is studying the possibility of launching a digital dollar, while last week it was known the Central Bank of The Bahamas has started to test a digital dollar.