Millennials are investing in bitcoin as a safe-haven asset while South Korea plans to bring crypto into mainstream finance.
- Bitcoin mining grew dramatically in 2019, culminating in an all-time high hash rate activity on January 1.
- During a recent surge in safe-haven assets, millennials triggered a crypto rally by investing heavily in bitcoin.
- A South Korean presidential committee has concluded that cryptocurrency should play a part in the nation’s mainstream finances.
- Crypto will be a significant 2020 examination priority for the SEC, which will address “investment suitability, trading practices, fund safety, pricing and the effectiveness of compliance programs.”
Say what you will about bitcoin’s recent volatility, but miners still see demand. The token’s hash rate experienced steady increases over 2019, culminating in an all-time high of 119 exahashes per second on January 1. Analysts believe that mining activity on the blockchain corresponds with overall increases in price — a trend that may even continue as a new bitcoin halving approaches.
A plus-100 EH/s rate has become an increasingly frequent sight, with only one day so far this year reporting under the new benchmark.
Hash rate is a measure of the processing power dedicated to a blockchain. A high hash rate means more miners are working on the bitcoin network, suggesting it is increasingly economically viable at both the current bitcoin price and difficulty level. A report published in September predicted bitcoin’s two-week average hash rate would cross 100 EH/s at the end of 2019.
Bitcoin’s difficulty level automatically adjusts to ensure block time stays broadly at around the 10-minute mark, regardless of how many miners are working on the network. It adjusts every two weeks, the last being on Jan. 1 when it increased by 6.75 percent, the largest since September.
2020 opened with rising tensions between the United States and Iran, an event that usually prompts a corresponding spike in safe-haven assets like gold. This time, however, millennials seemingly preferred to invest in digital assets — gold prices only rose by 3% while bitcoin rallied by an impressive 21%. While this rally stalled as tensions began to cool, it’s a fascinating insight into the expectations of young investors.
Following the events transpiring in Iran and abroad, both gold and Bitcoin rose concurrently, but the leading cryptocurrency has outperformed gold by a factor of 7.
But while this is indeed true, Bitcoin has rallied over 21% while gold brought in just 3%, the amount of capital it took to drive gold up 3% versus BTC 21%, is significantly higher.
Gold’s market cap is in the trillions, while Bitcoin’s is at around $150 billion. Back when Bitcoin’s market cap was $225,000 an economist said it took Bitcoin’s entire market cap to move gold just 3%…
Bitcoin is expected to someday take over gold’s market cap and put the crypto asset’s market cap in the trillions of dollars. Should this happen, with only 21 million BTC, the crypto asset could reach prices well over $100,000 per BTC – which is exactly why millennials prefer Bitcoin over gold.
According to a new report from Business Korea (via CoinDesk), South Korea’s Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution has concluded that cryptocurrency cannot be ignored. What’s more, the committee has proposed bringing crypto in mainstream finance by sanctioning derivatives, futures contracts, and token trading. While South Korea is not the first nation to embrace crypto, new policies could theoretically position it as a leader in the region.
To support such a move, the nation’s fintech sector should develop custody solutions for cryptocurrency to avoid a reliance on foreign custodians, said the PCFIR.
Addressing crypto exchanges, the committee said the government should look into bringing in a licensing scheme or guidance. The industry is currently loosely controlled via guidance given to banks and a South Korean financial watchdog under the Financial Services Commission is also reportedly aiming to directly supervise exchanges.
Other suggestions from the PCFIR included, notably, that bitcoin might be directly listed on Korea Exchange, the nation’s securities bourse, and that the terms “cryptocurrency” and “virtual currency” could be brought together under the umbrella term crypto assets.
At OKCoin, we believe that 2020 will be a watermark year for cryptocurrency. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seemingly agrees — the regulatory organization has published a list of examination priorities, determining that digital assets were areas of concern. More importantly, these priorities go beyond traditional ICO fears to address more nuanced issues within modern crypto markets.
Whereas previous priority lists only briefly mentioned initial coin offerings and the risks digital assets might pose to retail investors, this year OCIE wants to address investment suitability, trading practices, fund safety, pricing and the effectiveness of compliance programs. The document also mentions staffers of crypto exchanges and funds and the “supervision” of their “outside business activities.”
“The digital assets market has grown rapidly and presents various risks, including for retail investors who may not adequately understand the differences between these assets and more traditional products,” OCIE wrote.
That’s the roundup for January 11, 2020. Check in next week for the latest news of cryptocurrency innovation and regulation around the world!
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