2020 is finally here and crypto seems positioned to take a hold of this decade in finance as it did the last one. The first week of the decade has seen new developments ranging from a spike in bitcoin prices in Iran following U.S. military strikes to increased adoption of the SegWit technology which dramatically increases speed and efficiency of Bitcoin transactions.
With talk of war comes the price of war and last week was no different following U.S. military strikes at Iran which saw Iran-based bitcoin sellers asking for 1 billion Iranian Rials, which is over $24, 000 per Bitcoin in LocalBitcoins. While this is the ‘official rate,’ the actual rate on the street is closer to the BTC’s actual global market rate. Even amidst all of this, Iran has reportedly proposed a Muslim cryptocurrency as one of the measures to confront the economic dominance of the United States. Still, opposition to cryptocurrency mining in the currency makes crypto adoption challenging.
Last week, more talk on regulation was heard as the European Central Bank (ECB) put out a working paper on the issuance of an ECB central bank digital currency which would have restrictions and limitations to the amount citizens would hold. The idea being the CBDC is to be a well-controlled stable digital currency that also makes it easy to move it out of the ECB jurisdiction much more easily than they could via a banking system.
It was also reported last week that SegWit, the Segregated Witness protocol technology, which is designed to increase the speed and efficiency of bitcoin transactions while reducing their bulk, now accounts for 66% of all Bitcoin transactions. The report is highly bullish on SegWit despite exchanges reluctance to adopt the technology. BitMEX is one of the heavyweight exchanges that have adopted the technology and more are getting pressure to adopt it.
The Israeli Blockchain Association put out a report last week on the state of blockchain companies in the country. The report revealed that blockchain and crypto-related companies increased by 32% in 2019 with up to 150 active companies. Israel is a blockchain-friendly hub with 44% of these companies being self-funded while 42% raised funds from investors.
New Bitcoin hash rates from last week showed an increase which could signal new Bitcoin prices in the near future. Bitcoin set new records in 2019 with Bitcoin’s transaction count, USD transaction volume, and a new high hash rate, all of which are signs of a coming bull market. The new hash rate highs are expected to produce new Bitcoin price highs in the coming months, according to experts.