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Crypto in 2021: Top Trends And Events That Will Shape The Crypto Space This Year

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While 2020 might have been a year filled with ups and downs, cryptocurrencies ended the year with a bang. The crypto king and flagship digital currency bitcoin, started the year at $7000 and rose to almost $30,000 just as the curtains closed in 2020. A whooping 400% growth in 2020 alone.  

With such impressive performance echoed through the crypto space in 2020, it is natural to envisage great things for crypto in 2021. Some of the biggest trends of the previous year could continue in 2021 on a more grander scale. 

How crypto will play out in 2021 cannot be accurately predicted, crypto after all is full of surprises but there are trends and and events that will leave a mark on crypto this year.

Influx of Big players

The influx of institutional investors in bitcoin in 2020 made the crypto community go wild. Companies like MicroStrategy, Square and Mass Mutual, moved a massive chunk of their cash reserves into bitcoin. The spikes in bitcoin prices can be attributed to the bold moves by institutional investors. 

This trend of big players entering the bitcoin scene is expected to continue in 2021 which could invariably lead to even more ATH (all time highs). 

The $425 million investment by MicroStrategy already doubled in value. More big players will want to get a piece of the crypto action. There are more massive companies that might get in on crypto. A lot of traditional financial institutions will likely turn to crypto in 2021. 

More institutions turning to crypto will mean a massive surge in use cases. Utility has been a major challenge for crypto when it comes to mainstream adoption. More people using cryptocurrencies for daily transactions and not just acquiring it for profit maximization will increase chances of mainstream crypto adoption.  Companies like PayPal, Square already facilitate crypto use cases. More institutions going into crypto will increase use cases. 

Will governments join the trend?

Will governments invest in bitcoin in 2021? If they did, it would be huge for crypto. While it might seem unlikely, it is happening indirectly of sorts. The Norwegian government owns about 600 bitcoins. This is so because it owns a 1.51% stake in MicroStrategy.

Government interest in crypto will increase once crypto becomes big enough. An open investment by a world power for example will spark a very wild waze of frenzy. FOMO levels will go through the roof, the effects of crypto will be unprecedented.

Role of Facebook’s Diem in crypto adoption.

Facebook backed digital currency, diem, formally known as Libra will play a massive role in crypto adoption in 2021. The currency is due to launch this month. 

Facebook has about 2.7 billion users across all the platforms it owns. A currency backed by facebook could introduce crypto to a huge number of people. If the currency is easily available and accepted as a form of payment on facebook’s platforms, not only will crypto use cases go through the roof but the value of the currency will increase rapidly. 

Will Elon Musk make a major bitcoin move?

Elon Musk’s fraternization with bitcoin has left some unsure of what he truly feels about the currency. Elon Musk is no stranger to crypto but hasn’t made a major public move in the space yet. 

Recently the SpaceX CEO caused quite a stir in the crypto community on Twitter after he responded to Michael Saylor, CEO Microstrategy’s reply.

Michael Saylor’s reply read “If you want to do your shareholders a $100 billion favor, convert the Tesla balance sheet from dollars to bitcoin, other firms on the S&P 500 would follow your lead and in time it would grow to become a $1 trillion favor.”

Micheal implied Elon joined the institutional investors to convert Tesla balance sheets to bitcoin. Elon Musk’s reply of “are such large transactions even possible?” Sparked thousands of comments. The excitement that Elon would even consider it made the crypto community go wild.

Such a move by Elon would have an impact on crypto that never been before. TSLA stocks which have grown by an impressive 738% in 2020 alone will call for a lot of companies to follow Elon’s footsteps.

It is however not sure that Elon would make such a move. His take on crypto could be said to be positive but no one can say for sure if Elon will take Michael’s advice. 

How will the Biden administration affect crypto?

The current president of the United States Donald Trump has made it clear he does not have a soft spot for crypto but now that new president Joe Biden will be coming on board in a few weeks, will there be changes?

While there’s general optimism that the new administration will help crypto thrive, it is also possible that things could play out differently. 

Janet Hellen who is the president elect’s nominee to head the Treasury department isn’t a fan of bitcoin. According to her many of the the transactions done with bitcoin are illegal and ilicit. Given that a lot has changed since she made the comment in 2018 and renouned institutions are investing in bitcoin, Hellen might have a change of heart about the digital currency. 

A crypto friendly United States will lead to a crypto friendly world. 

Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

DeFi was a big part of crypto in 2020 and it is definitely a trend that will not oy continue in 2021 but grow also. DeFi growth in 2020 was phenomenal, starting the year with $683 million in total value locked (TVL) and spiking to 14billion at the close of the year. That is a mouth watering 2000% growth in only one year. 

DeFi is extending financial services into the decentralized sphere. Services that could only be provided by traditional financial institutions are now being offered on a decentralized platform with crypto. Insurance, mutual funds and lending are now available to the ubanked. These financial services are now available only digitally. 

There’s more coming to DeFi in 2021. While it is still a relatively new phenomenon, it will receive significant attention in 2021. 

Ethereum

A significant about of DeFi protocols were built on the ethetreum blockchain. Ethereum will be continuing with another phase of its upgrade in 2021. There will be a lot going on for ethetreum in 2021. 

Ethereum saw over a trillion dollars in transaction in 2020 and the number is expected to increase this year. 

What is known for sure.

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay and are not going anywhere for a long time. There could be setbacks even this year but crypto will die out as a result. Mainstream adoption might not come in 2021 or subsequent years but it is very imminent. 

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From Crypto and Blockchain to AI, Fintech and Web 3.0 delivered twice in a week (Mondays and Fridays)

Bolu Abiodun is a recent graduate of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University Oye-Ekiti. A journalist with over a year's experience on the job. A former editor at American Media company Project Forward, he is a skilled content creator, social media manager and digital marketer.

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Africa Blockchain Institute

Africa Blockchain Institute Organized The First African Blockchain Summer Bootcamp For Teenagers In Ghana

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In the spirit of catching them young, the Africa Blockchain Institute organized the first-ever Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for teenagers (age range 13 to 19 years old). A successful Bootcamp, according to the participants’ testimonials and stakeholders, held at the OpenLabs, Ring Road, Accra Ghana, between Monday 2nd August, and Friday 6th August 2021. 

The teenagers applied from across Africa, and selected participants all converged at the OpenLabs, Ghana, for an intensive five days of learning, interacting, and implementing personal  Blockchain projects. The participants were divided into three significant tracks, thus; Blockchain Development, Blockchain for Creatives and Blockchain Entrepreneurship. 

Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI
Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by Africa Blockchain Institute

Across these three tracks, the teenagers learnt introductory units to Blockchain Development for societal challenges, Blockchain evangelism, Non-Fungible Tokens, and how Cryptocurrency works. Another highlight of the program was the excursion to the Accra Digital Centre, where the Boot Campers were introduced to the tech ecosystem and feel of the Ghana Tech Lab and Accra Innovation Hub spaces. A visit was also made to the Museum of Science and Technology, and the teenagers got to understand the history of technology in Ghana. 

Worthy of mention was the panel session aimed at motivating the students to pursue a career in technology. While making his comments during the panel session, the founder of BankLess Africa, Mr. Muntala Mohammed Shaibu, urged the teenagers to stop seeing themselves as too young to experiment with new technologies. In her remarks, Ms. Elohor Thomas, CEO & Co-Founder of CodeLn, urged the teenagers to continue to explore their interest in technology and blockchain early.

Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI
Panel Session, Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI

The Bootcamp ended with personal project presentations from the Blockchain Development and the Blockchain for Creatives & Entrepreneurship tracks. Projects such as NFT blogposts, Blockchain product reviews and Blockchain for transport and logistics were presented. The best presentation won the OpenLabs scholarship for Robotics Course. Thanks to Dr Sujith Jayaprakash, the Director of OpenLabs, Ghana, for the offer of scholarship. In his closing remark, the Executive Director of the Africa Blockchain Institute, Mr. Kayode Babarinde, urged the teenagers to continue using the  skills and knowledge gained during Bootcamp to explore Blockchain-related solutions further. We also appreciate Mr. Ganzaro Omar, Chairman, AfroBlocks, for his supports, and fostering collaborations with the Ghanian Blockchain community.

The Africa Blockchain Institute will continue to hold future Blockchain Summer Bootcamp series in various African cities to drive Blockchain knowledge into innovators early enough. 

Oluwaseun David ADEPOJU

Head of Research,

Africa Blockchain Institute. 

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CBN Crypto Ban Increases P2P But Is It Also Increasing Crypto Scams?

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Crypto ban

The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN on the 5th of February 2021 caused an uproar within the crypto community in Nigeria and globally. The Apex bank released a circular that prohibits financial institutions from processing crypto-related transactions. Banks and other financial institutions were also directed to close accounts that made crypto-related transactions.

As expected the directive did not sit well with crypto enthusiasts, traders and most Nigerians alike. In the CBN’s defence, they were protecting Nigerians from crypto-related scams, volatility of the crypto market and several evils perpetrated with cryptocurrencies. Though valid reasons, many Nigerians still express their resentment of the directive. Cryptocurrencies which serve as an alternative to the weakening Naira are faster and easier at facilitating cross border transactions. 

However, the ban has not hindered crypto transactions in the country. The country still ranks high when it comes to crypto transactions globally. Business Insider reports that between January and March 2021,  p2p trading value of bitcoin in Nigeria was worth $99.1 million. This is $9 million more than the value of bitcoin p2p transaction in Kenya for the whole of 2020. Cleary p2p has increased significantly since the ban. It is therefore safe to say that the ban has increased crypto activity in Nigeria. But has it increased crypto scams too?

The dark side of p2p

While volatile nature cryptocurrencies might in truth lead to loss of funds, the ban by the Central Bank of Nigeria could make Nigerians more vulnerable to crypto scams as they now purchase these digital currencies from unregulated sources hence, p2p.

“It was very easy just buying bitcoin straight from the Luno app but now I need to find someone who is willing to sell me bitcoin and there is really no way to ascertain the person’s trustworthiness.” This statement by crypto newbie, Adekunle Agbetiloye sums up the troubles and vulnerabilities crypto newbies go through to buy and sell crypto assets.

Kunle has been fortunate to have friends that are more grounded in trading cryptocurrencies. This has prevented him from falling into the hands of scammers that find newbies like him, easy picking. In his words “I know people that have fallen victim to crypto scammers that is why I only transact with people that I know personally”.

Ezekiel Juwon wasn’t lucky enough to buy from someone he knew personally. He recounts how he unsuspectingly sent money to a crypto scammer. In his words, “as a beginner I think it is more convenient to buy directly from crypto apps than dealing peer-to-peer. As someone who has experienced crypto scams first hand, I know this for a fact”. Juwon also adds that regulated p2p platforms created as an alternative to trading crypto can also be dangerous. He is convinced that more people will suffer his fate if the ban isn’t lifted. “Everyone wants to get in on crypto, it saves you from poverty so the ban just makes newbies vulnerable”. 

Just like Adekunle, Oyin Komolafe is fortunate to be surrounded by crypto veterans. She says “aside from the grace of God, what is helping me is that I am surrounded by people who know their way around crypto. However, I am sure that newbies will be susceptible to crypto scams because of the CBN ban”

What experts have to say   

However, Crypto expert and blockchain stakeholder, Samuel Attah feels crypto platforms have created alternatives that should keep crypto newbies safe. He sights Bundle as an example of these platforms. In contrast, some of these new users have said they do not find these platforms easy to use. 

Another crypto trader who identifies himself simply as Smogz, says these alternatives by crypto exchanges and crypto platforms require a lot of expertise. Smogz believes that the ban will increase crypto scams. “Crypto platforms serve as a shield to protect crypto beginners from scams. Now that these beginners have to look outside of the confines of these platforms they are open to being ripped off”

It is clear the crypto ban cannot stop Nigerians from using cryptocurrencies. Although a risky investment venture, crypto assets are known to be a source of wealth. Ensuring the safety of Nigerians while they use these crypto assets should be a priority.

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Bitcoin in Africa

Crypto Wallets: A Major Hurdle To Crypto Mass Adoption – Interview with Francis Obasi, Lead Wallet CEO

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Image Credit: Lead Wallet / Twitter (Image was modified)

Cryptocurrencies are getting more popular each year, but mainstream adoption and usage of digital currencies and assets are nowhere close. According to Buy Bitcoin Worldwide, 1.3% of the world’s population uses bitcoin. While a great number of people might know about cryptocurrencies, very few people own or use them. 

For Francis Obasi, the CEO of Lead Wallet, a  major obstacle to crypto adoption is the ability to create and simply use a crypto wallet. Whether trading, staking or hodling, owning a wallet is the basis of transacting in crypto. This is why Francis has created an app that he believes will help people enter the crypto ecosystem seamlessly. 

The idea behind Lead Wallet 

Before Lead Wallet, we were a group of community managers working for AmaZix. One of the most frequent questions we got then as community managers are “where will I store my cryptocurrency, which wallet is the best wallet?” We most times recommended Trust Wallet, we would explain the process of setting up the wallet. Unfortunately, some of these crypto newcomers fall victim to impersonators. For example, someone would impersonate me and tell people to disclose their private keys. People were getting scammed off their cryptocurrency and it became a concern for me. 

Consequently, I realised that the bridge between conventional finance and the crypto space is a digital wallet. To interact with anything crypto-related you need a crypto wallet. So the crypto wallet is a very important factor in understanding what cryptocurrencies are and keeping new users safe. It is their first point of contact when they choose to enter the crypto ecosystem. 

However, a lot of crypto wallets are not simple enough for new users. We decided to create something that will not seem strange to people who are already used to bank applications (which are simple to use).In essence, a crypto wallet bridges the gap between conventional finance and decentralized finance. 

We chose the name “Lead” because we were building something different from what is considered the norm within the crypto ecosystem. We were setting a new standard, a wallet that will “Lead”  the crypto mass adoption. 

What a simple crypto wallet should look like?

A good wallet should reduce a user’s journey in performing simple tasks such as sending and receiving cryptocurrencies. Inside Lead Wallet, there is an ostensibly placed “send” button. Rather than having too many steps to simply sending cryptocurrency, it should not be more than four. In fact, doing most things on a crypto wallet should not take more than 4 steps. 

So no matter how uninformed one might be about cryptocurrencies, using a crypto wallet for the first time should be easy. 

Owning your own private keys

Owning your own private key means that you are in control of your crypto assets. The saying “not your keys not your coins” explains it well. A private key is an alphanumeric string that is generated at the creation of a wallet. 

Having your own private keys means you are in charge of your own crypto asset. A wallet like Trust Wallet or Lead Wallet gives you power over your own crypto assets, it is a decentralized wallet. However, unlike Trust Wallet that stores all crypto assets within one private key, Lead Wallet creates a unique private key for each crypto asset. This gives users the ability to export wallets to other platforms such as Trust Wallet. 

Decentralized crypto wallet is the gateway to DeFi

Decentralized Finance, known for short as DeFi, is a disruption to the traditional financial system. DeFi gives everyone a chance to enjoy financial services without the bottlenecks that come with traditional or centralised financial services. 

Savouring the fruits of decentralized finance requires a decentralized crypto wallet that can connect to a web 3 browser. Like Lead Wallet, such a wallet should offer a very user-intuitive web 3 browser that helps them interact with DeFi applications. Lead Wallet provides these apps as bookmarks to protect users against malicious links. 

There is a lot going on in the crypto world, a lot of people genuinely want to be a part of it but there’s a lot they do not know. A crypto wallet which is most likely their first point of contact with the crypto ecosystem should simplify things for them. 

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