As 2014 draws to a close, it is time to reflect upon the year of crypto-currencies and consider what we have to look forward to in the coming year.
The price of BTC is not at the 2000 USD that some people have been predicting since August, most likely due to a lot of speculator volume leaving Bitcoin and flowing into China’s Alipay which became the biggest IPO in all of history. Alipay, which allows mainland chinese to spend their RMB outside of the country (and pays the foreign merchant in their local fiat) took a lot of the spotlight from BTC as a method of global exchange, at least for affluent Chinese.
Ripple, the exchange platform for value over the internet has been quietly gaining traction and now is the second largest crypto-currency by market cap, while Litecoin and Dogecoin drop in popularity. Stellar, the Ripple clone, comes in at 6th place.
MtGox investigations have started, well, at least they are ready to start, with the industry experts appointed to investigate the loss of coins being named as Payward (who owns the popular exchange Kraken)
China still views Bitcoin suspiciously, though some proponents say that the government may only crack down on Bitcoin if it sees that its effects are disruptive to the economy. Some even argue that China may embrace Bitcoin eventually and have a much easier time doing so due to the fact that a lot of the laws governing money exchange and governance simply don’t exist in China, whereas in the US, every state has its own licensing requirements for money exchangers, making doing a Bitcoin exchange business in the US a much more costly affair.
Japan’s national elections for parliamentary members are finished, and Mr Fukuda, the pro-Bitcoin cabinet minister has regained his seat in the House. Hopefully this means that 2015 may mark the year that Japan finally casts off its MtGox cross that it has been carrying for the last year.
In Korea new players have emerged, such as Coinplug to challege Korbit for the korean market share, they have even started developing their own two-way Bitcoin ATMs.
Remittance has made a resurgence in interest, with companies like Remit and Coins.ph teaming up with exchanges in Hong Kong in order to bridge the gap from remitters to recievers using Bitcoin.
The price of BTC has dropped below 300 and was defended to settle into a new band between 310 and 330. This, by some analysis, is still high if we consider the quantitative model of money, and the number of transactions that are currently being processed using BTC. I would look to see this stay in this range, without more merchant acquisition, which is slowly climbing, but for which has not caught up to the current price point of BTC yet.
2015 is going to be a year of more Bitcoin companies coming up and solving more and more issues that currently plague our money system and payment infrastructure. It will be the year of regulation and government attention to crypto-currencies, further public adoption, and micro-payments. It is something that I am very proud to have a part to play in.