December 8, 2020 — It was around this time last year when we began sending our 2019 Year in Review Question and Answer forms to various crypto and blockchain personalities and companies in the Philippines. We asked them what they thought of 2019 and what they think will happen in this space in 2020.
It took awhile to publish all the responses but we were happy that we were able to profile so many friends and industry leaders.
Around the time we sent the Q and A forms, the first COVID-19 cases were reported abroad. The Department of Health reported the first case in the Philippines on January 30 this year. And then we had a lockdown (technically we still are in a lockdown, albeit more relaxed). Still, while it was not the case for all industries, many companies in the cryptocurrency space were still hiring, pandemic or not.
Going back to last year’s 2019 Year in Review, we look at some of the predictions made by cryptocurrency and blockchain professionals here and check if those predictions came true, or not, almost.
(BitPinas will be doing a 2020 Year in Review this year. This article serves as a look back before we publish the 2020 series.)
Lower Fees and Bigger Crypto Companies
Miko, the star Community Manager for Binance Philippines said he looks forward to lower fees and bigger crypto companies in the country.
“I personally look forward to lower fees for all, to more opportunities for Filipinos to be in the blockchain industry, and to have a full team in the Philippines. I see increased attention by the bigger crypto companies to the country. We also look forward to being able to score major developments that, ultimately, will lead us to a super-meetup featuring CZ in Manila. *crosses fingers*”
Well we didn’t get CZ in Manila, but we got CG. Colin Goltra, formerly the head of cryptocurrency at Coins.ph is now Director of Southeast Asia at Binance and Country Head at Binance Philippines. To have a country head here means Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange according to CoinMarketCap, is paying attention in the local cryptocurrency space.
And about lower transaction fees? Binance also launched its P2P service here in June. With P2P, transaction costs are basically zero.
The Year of Decentralized Finance
The blockchain developer-focused group BlockDevs Asia, who answered collectively, said 2020 will be the year of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Decentralized Finance (DeFi).
“2020 will be the year for Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT), Decentralized ID systems (DID), Decentralized Finance and Security Exchange Offerings (STO). We believe that the NFT market will grow next year because of asset tokenization and gaming.”
Colin Goltra also said the same thing:
“Projects like MakerDAO, Compound, Kyber, Uniswap, Set Protocol, UMA, 0x, and others have all had very impressive developments this year. I think where we need to go next is to start using the technology’s unique characteristics to make crypto-native projects that will transform the Philippines into a global technology center: DeFi, NFTs, Prediction Markets, Security Tokens, synthetic derivatives, structured products, etc.”
And what a year it has been for Decentralized Finance and NFTs.
DeFi — blockchain-based applications without any human intermediary took center stage, specially in the summer of 2020, when the value of some of the most popular DeFi tokens went up. There’s constant development in this space almost everyday, it is really hard to keep up unless you’re on Twitter all the time.
The first time I heard about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was in 2018. This year, it also took center stage. Axie Infinity, a Pokemon-like blockchain game reached XXX users, many of which are in the Philippines. NFTs are special types of tokens that are unique and not mutually interchangeable. For example, no two Axies are the same. It also allows for verifiable ownership. For example, crypto artists’ digital paintings are actually NFT, allowing anyone to verify who owns a particular piece of digital art and its maker.
It all comes back to Bitcoin
Miguel Cuneta of SCI Ventures said he sees more traditional financial institutions getting into the space and the market recovering from its 2019 lows through good development that will bring more users:
“We are looking forward to seeing the market recover from its 2019 lows, with good projects being validated and more users to enter the space. Also more clarity on the regulatory side for businesses, and in effect more opportunities with traditional financial services. The Bitcoin halving is also coming up and three’s a lot of positive anticipation associated with that.”
Bitcoin started the year at $7,174. Has it recovered? Well, as I write this article, it’s at $19,157. It’s currently up 167% since the year began. Bitcoin transactions in the Philippines are up, according to Paxful. Large companies are putting Bitcoin into their reserves. PayPal finally allows its users (in the U.S. for now) to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Enthusiasm in cryptocurrency appears to be back. Is Bitcoin now overvalued? Miguel told me this over Telegram:
“I’ll say what I always say – the price of bitcoin is the least interesting thing about it. Only the price is volatile. What gives it value, which is the network, the protocol, and the integrity of its blockchain, has never been more stable and predictable. I always say don’t invest in anything unless you’ve learned enough about it to make an informed decision, but I also believe Bitcoin is still severely undervalued today.”
Of course, there were predictions that did not happen. Examples of which are more blockchain events, and more awareness drive from the government and across all sectors. But we think those are more affected by the COVID-19 situation not just here but also everywhere. Also, there was an increase in blockchain meetups, they just happen online. Peter Ing, head of Blockchain Space transitioned their physical meetups to online ones. Luis Buenaventura’s BloomX has a very successful Bloomcast livestream every Tuesday night. Binance is also doing online meetups. In a way, what was once just Manila-centric blockchain meetups have become events were virtually everyone around in the Philippines can join.
Stay tuned in the month ahead for our 2020 Year in Review series and 2021 predictions.
This article is published on BitPinas: 2019 Year in Review Predictions for 2020. Did They Come True?