As many probably already know, bitcoin was launched in early 2009, which means that the crypto industry, which started with it, officially turned 11 in January of this year.
These past 11 years brought a lot of development, it saw countless coins rise and fall, and it even saw a bull run unlike any other — one that took the prices to heights that were never matched again.
But even so, 11 years — basically only one decade — is barely any time when it comes to the financial industry. While it may seem like a lot, the truth is that the crypto industry barely started its development.
As long as development continues to progress, the crypto industry will be very hard to regulate, while the prices will likely remain highly volatile.
Even so, the first decade was likely particularly dynamic, since these early years saw the creation and launch of cryptos, their initial use by criminals, their surge in popularity that brought them to the light of day, and finally, the arrival of the global interest that we see today.
But, cryptos are known now, so what will happen next? What to expect in their second decade? What will happen with bitcoin?
Of course, there is no way to know what will actually happen, although many analysts and experts in the industry have a pretty good idea about the road the crypto sector is taking.
Many believe that the regulators around the world will step up their efforts to regulate the industry over the next ten years. Crypto has grown to become too big to be ignored, and while some moved further in their attempts to introduce regulations than others, everyone will have to work on it sooner or later.
However, before it happens, it is more than likely that the crypto industry will see yet another major bull run.
Less than two months ago, bitcoin saw its third halving take place, which is an event that cuts its block rewards in half. This also reduces the inflow of new coins into the market, and it cuts down on the miners' profits.
Of course, this would be a bad thing, if not for the fact that BTC usually sees a massive price surge after each halving. This was already seen twice before the coin's previous halvings. The surge doesn't happen right away, of course. It will likely take roughly around 11 months to arrive, so it might come in early 2021, but it will most likely be here.
Jens Willemen, the co-founder of Kairon Labs, predicted one last bull run in the 2020s before the regulators step in and bring rules that would stop it from happening in the future.
He said: "I believe we’re going to see one last manic bull run where we see bitcoin and the decent quality altcoins go parabolic once more. After that, I expect more regulation followed by larger institutions entering the space and the days of the quick 50x returns and the unregulated cowboys making all the money will be over. I also expect major adoption to come in around 5 years from now."
Bitcoin itself is known for being technologically inferior to a lot of other projects in some ways, especially when it comes to scalability. Bitcoin transactions can take as little as 10 minutes to over an hour to be processed — which is a lot better when compared to the traditional finance industry.
However, this is ridiculously slow when compared to other crypto projects that have near-instant payments. So, many expect that scalability will be one of the crypto issues that will see a lot of attention in the next few years.
The same goes for privacy, which is neither here nor there in the crypto industry as a whole. Cryptos aim to bring transparency, but in order to reduce crime, they must also bring KYC and AML procedures, which are strict and do not tolerate total privacy.
This is likely something that will need to be addressed in greater detail in the future, as well. And, as Mr. Jens Willemen stated that the arrival of regulators and institutions is to be expected, which would likely lead to a maturing market structure. New emerging markets and startups are also to be expected, and we are already seeing the focus on CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies).
Facebook's announcement of Libra caused many to start considering bank-owned cryptos, with China taking the lead. However, due to China's controversial position in the world, the country taking the lead in the crypto sector only brought more fear, which is why other central banks started working on their own coins even harder.
And, naturally, with all that happening, it is likely that crypto adoption will start spreading rapidly, giving it new use cases in the real world. People will finally be able to use their coins for more than trading and trying to earn extra dollars. They will actually be able to pay in crypto, and we are also already seeing the beginnings of this, both online and offline.
There is a lot to look forward to in terms of cryptocurrencies in the 2020s, although it is also worth noting that the progression of solutions for current issues might not be as swift as everyone would want it to be. These problems have already bugged the crypto industry for one decade.
While there is hope that they would soon be resolved, there is no guarantee that it will actually happen. In other words, everyone interested in crypto should remember to keep an eye out for such developments, but not take mere predictions as facts.
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.