It is becoming all too obvious that the next crypto bull run isn't 'just around the corner' unless you have become aware of the similarities between 2015 and 2019.
With all the many advances in the FinTech sector and the enormous growth in the popularity of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology, it is important to keep an eye on the charts as a visual template of the same.
While growth is continuous, it is moving forward in repetitive cycles on its way up. This upward expansion can also be observed by following the news.
The news, however, can be and often is seemingly devastating FUD. And yet, despite a proportionately large amount of negative news, the blockchain industry continues to expand and Bitcoin, among other cryptocurrencies, continues to reach new highs in four-year cycles, more or less.
The following are two lists of major cryptocurrency developments comparing the years 2015 and 2019.
Tron, Poloniex & Opera
Crypto-friendly smart phones
Rising from the ashes
Major strides have been made during both periods and some negative events are still being hotly debated.
Another little detail the two years have in common ― the price of Bitcoin only doubled.
Bakkt, a custodial Bitcoin futures and options trading platform, has partnered with the world's biggest coffee retail giant, Starbucks, and together they have developed and are currently testing a cryptocurrency-based mobile shopping app.
The soon to launch consumer and retail trading app is intended to introduce cryptocurrencies as a viable form of digital cash to a wider global audience.
While the exact name of the app hasn't yet been revealed, it is generally referred to as the 'Bakkt App', 'Bakkt Pay' and 'Bakkt Shopping'.
Bakkt App is described as an app with which Starbucks customers will be able to shop at Starbucks, as well as a platform for cryptocurrency investors and traders.
In other words, the Bakkt App will be an account of sort, consisting of a cryptocurrency card, a digital asset wallet and an investment portfolio enabling users to buy, trade and convert cryptocurrencies instantly at the point of sale at Starbucks and other mega retailers.
Scheduled to enter the highly competitive mobile payments market in the next 6 months, Bakkt's digital asset shopping and trading app seeks to put the full spectrum of crypto benefits to use.
Bakkt’s first merchant partner, Starbucks, has nearly 30,000 stores worldwide and a Starbucks Rewards app used by more than 15 million members. Starbucks Rewards members earn 2 Stars for every dollar spent at Starbucks and are rewarded for their loyalty with freebies via the retailer's app and rewards cards (gift-, credit- or prepaid cards).
Clearly, the concept of digital point of sale tokens (Starbucks Rewards Stars) has already proven to be successful - meaning that the introduction of other digital non-fiat value-carrying tokens like crypto assets won't be much of a stretch. That is, as long it's instantly settled, incentivized, and as simple to use.
Because Starbucks isn't ready to directly accept cryptocurrencies, Bakkt's consumer app will act as a crypto to fiat exchange platform with instant off-chain transactions helping shoppers use crypto as digital cash.
Although promising, only time will tell if Bakkt's app manages to motivate the masses to buy and spend crypto in numbers high enough for it to become as common as digital fiat.
Having former Coinbase, Paypal and Google Wallet guys on board, Bakkt's innovative payment gateway may potentially become the leader in the space.
However, despite the magnitude of this major development in the crypto space, crypto enthusiasts remain skeptical thanks to the rather sluggish state of the overall market. A market which, at this point, has to be integrated into the 'real world' of fiat and traditional finance and retail in order to survive and thrive.
Ethereum (ETH), the #2 cryptocurrency, currently priced at just above $180 has entered a stage of development dubbed Ethereum 2.0. On December 4th 2019, the Ethereum network will have its next most important update - the Istanbul hardfork.
Fundamentally, ICOs are out, Ethereum TXs are unfavorable, there is no maximum supply, most Ethereum dApps are unessential (including the DeFi ones) and the price remains stagnant for the time being.
And while all eyes are on the stagnant price, Ethereum's most devoted proponents have their eye on Casper, Ethereum's long awaited transition from PoW to PoS.
The ICO craze had come and gone causing Ethereum to temporarily become the hottest decentralized blockchain platform in the industry.
It is becoming apparent that the coin is in dire need of a major transformation given the fact that it has lost its former raison d'etre as the ICO currency of choice.
This raises the question of what's next for Ethereum.
The fact that Binance has begun offering the option to their users to passively stake PoS cryptocurrencies on their platform is a clear sign that staking is making a comeback in anticipation of the next crypto bull run.
If history is any indication, the overall crypto market should reach a new ATH in late 2021 and early 2022, and we can only hope that ETH devs manage to successfully implement Casper in time for Ethereum to reach new highs and thereby maintain its top 2 position.
According to Ethereum's Github Wiki, there will be a transitional PoW/PoS phase, followed by PoS, the latter of which is expected to increase the project's value and network stability, scalability and security, as well as attract more buyers who decide to HODL and stake the coin and continue to buy more of it so as to proportionately grow their rewards.
As far as the price goes and, in particular, price pumps around major events, we may or may not see a drastic improvement in this area this coming December. During the 2017 crypto bull market, the price of Ethereum pumped a couple of times (~$350) before the Byzantium hardfork, but nowhere near ATH (~$1,400).
Thus far, this year's ETH ATH price, although short lived, has also been around $350, which actually isn't too bad considering it bottomed at around $85 late last year.
EOY price predictions for 2019 seem to be in the $190 to $240 range, and next year's Bitcoin halving paired with Bakkt's consumer app introduction could potentially push ETH into the 4-digit price range.