Cryptocurrencies – despite the appearances or expectations of some blockchain fans – are not isolated islands. Hence, many political or economic events may affect their functioning. Which of these factors will affect Bitcoin and its derivatives the most?
Some believe that economic conditions – and especially low-interest rates – can make startups in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry seem an attractive investment, while many economists are still predicting a global recession that will take place next year and which this can raise the status of cryptocurrencies as “safe haven“.
There is another piece of the puzzle. At the same time, one can see slow attempts to move the government towards the Central Bank’s own digital currencies (CBDC). This, in turn, can have a negative impact on decentralized cryptocurrencies, which will be hit by increasingly stringent regulations.
2019: a mixed picture
The year 2019 was to be a breakthrough. Many felt that the harsh global economy, Brexit and other problems of the modern world would help increase interest in cryptocurrencies.
How accurate was this forecast? First, equity markets have regained much of the value lost. Therefore, traditional assets have become attractive again.
However, something really dangerous and disturbing was happening in the background. The global economy has suffered as a result of the relative slowdown in 2019. This is the result of trade tensions between the US and China. It is possible that because of this, cryptocurrencies have strengthened relative to 2018.
Brexit – Britain’s exit from the European Union has not really occurred yet in 2019. We will wait for it until 2020. With what effect for BTC? Until now, cryptocurrencies have gained in such critical moments. It’s just that the Brexit saga and the drama associated with it probably have ceased to affect investors.
To sum up, the mixed picture of 2019 has caused Bitcoin to increase by 91% between January 1 (USD 3,770) and December 27 (USD 7,230). Only a slightly volatile world economy has nearly doubled its value. What’s next?
Crypto and Economics in 2020
Well, what awaits us in 2020? Interest rates are likely to remain low in 2020, which means investors will continue to look for higher earnings opportunities outside of deposits. As Glen Goodman, the author of “The Crypto Trader” notes, this means that they can move towards cryptocurrencies.
“While crypto prices are subdued and Bitcoin doesn’t make big headlines, quietly in the background blockchain companies are continuing to develop infrastructure and services that will make waves in the future. With global interest rates still so low, investors are constantly searching for ‘yield’, and this has helped encourage investors to take a punt on crypto projects.”
The year 2020 may not be determined solely by the low-interest rates, because the recession of the world’s largest economy, the US, is still possible. However, according to Eugenio Aleman, an economist at Wells Fargo Bank:
“The panel is divided as to when the next recession will start. (…) Respondents believe that the chances of GDP growth falling by mid-2020 are roughly one-fifth, but they indicate that there is a third chance that the economic downturn will only start in the second half of 2021 or later “.
In conjunction with the recent UN warning on the global recession that may occur next year, this message may suggest that there is a real potential for an economic slowdown. Still, while some expect that this will make some cryptocurrencies more attractive as a safe haven for this period, some experts note that they will only gain usually stable assets like gold.
Crypto and Politics in 2020
Brexit without agreement remains a viable option in 2020. It must be taken into account that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is playing quite hard and it is not entirely clear how the history of UK participation in the EU will end. Ultimate Brexit will hit the global economy without agreement and will be the first such strong shock to the EU community since the Greek crisis many years ago.
Trade wars and military tensions will be another big problem next year. In particular, we are talking about tensions between the United States and some other countries (Iran, North Korea). They can bring us closer to the specter of war, and while actual armed conflict is still unlikely, continued uncertainty can push more investors toward cryptocurrencies.
“When investors get nervous about political or military conflict, there is a ‘flight to safety’ which usually means selling risky assets and putting the money into what are considered relatively safe assets like the dollar,” explains Glen Goodman adding:
“Now that big, well-established institutions like Fidelity Investments are offering secure custody for crypto assets, we’re well on our way to a future where investors see Bitcoin as a safe-haven currency.”
The popularity of central bank digital currencies (CBDC) is also increasing. China is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency in 2020. France and Turkey will also test their digital currencies next year, while the US and EU central banks are also considering introducing their own e-coins in the future.
At this stage, it is difficult to assess how the issuance of domestic CBDC will affect cryptocurrencies. On the one hand, the development of cryptocurrencies and blockchains can lead governments to create regulations and conditions conducive to the growth of all cryptocurrencies in general.
On the other hand, the creation of ‘official’ currencies can make governments more hostile to genuinely decentralized cryptocurrencies, which can increasingly be seen as a threat to the current monetary system.
“The war on digital currencies is hot now,” says Glen Goodman. “Unfortunately, because this war is about taking power, it doesn’t mean that superpowers will become more open to decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Their plan is for controlled, centralized digital currencies and they do not intend to allow external currencies such as Bitcoin and even Facebook Libra to [let such projects] dominate global trade.”
An Unpredictable Decade
A really exciting (but probably also terrifying) decade awaits us. Changes that are taking place in economies and politics can never be completely predicted (we recommend reading other forecasts of this type to find out). Thinking in terms of decades … This is a task almost doomed to failure. Who would predict the UK’s exit from the EU ten years ago? Or the victory of someone like Donald Trump in the presidential election?
However, these are only a few scenarios, assuming that in the next decade there will be more economic crises that weaken fiat currencies (especially in terms of inflation ), it is reasonable to expect that cryptocurrencies may rise in parallel with the fall of the former. Although hopefully, they do not need such disasters to gain wider adoption.