2020 was the year where the fate of cryptocurrencies appeared to hang in the balance. All new technologies start out in life as a limited version of themselves, immature but brimming with possibilities. Inventions and new applications tied to new technology are often less focused, less predictable, and more likely to disappear.
Blockchain at the Beginning
New technologies will reach maturity only when they develop successful use-cases and markets. After that, on timescales that can sometimes be decades, these technologies are prone to radical evolution, just like the sea sponge or the pushbike. Plenty of technologies don’t make it to maturity. For some, that has been a worry with crypto. Added to this, it is rare to find a sector where the underlying technology has a value that is in line with the market capitalisation.
In 2018, leading economist Nouriel Roubini mentioned that blockchain has existed for almost a decade, and it still has only one application: cryptocurrencies. Some blockchain advocates argue that the technology is still early, similar to how email – which existed in the early 1980’s – needed almost twenty years to get serious traction. Since then, the internet has given rise to email, the World Wide Web, millions of viable commercial applications, all used used by billions of people. From this perspective, cryptocurrencies – including Bitcoin – are still very much in their infancy.
2019 was a mixed year for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The industry has emerged from the crypto winter at the beginning of 2017, but in early 2018 there was a market meltdown.
Some authorities even argued that in 2019 cryptocurrencies failed to deliver on expectations. Vinny Lingham, co-founder and CEO of Civic Inc, has added that the crypto community looks back at 2019 and remembers it as a lost year for cryptocurrency. Besides, Alex Lindenmeyer from software company Accointing said that 2020 is the year where cryptocurrency will either move up or will shut down. It seems it isn’t the case because, in 2021, Bitcoin had a historical top.
2020, however, may finally go down in Blockchain history as the make or break year. Decentralised finance has been growing, and traditional finance has started to pile in behind, for fear of being surpassed. In the iGaming industry, blockchain technology is making its mark. When it comes to online business, many casino businesses are the most frequent converts for cryptocurrencies.
Besides, many operators are big fans of the blockchain simply because it cannot be controlled, which means it is transparent to all investors. The currency cannot be faked, hacked or even duplicated, which means that people who have cryptocurrency can trust its worth. One of the benefits blockchain can offer for an online casino business is data security, where the potential risk of personal data theft is eliminated.
Meanwhile, Facebook has created a brand-new digital wallet called Calibra, a brand new blockchain-based payment system. Many did not share Facebook’s enthusiasm, mostly because when Libra was launched, there was a potential endangering monetary sovereignty. Facebook’s global reach and influence – is arguably too wide-reaching already. And, irony of ironies, it may have its power extended by blockchain technology – when the technology itself was designed to undermine centralised power. But, on balance, there is reason for optimism.