By Natalie Lord
This new decade is certain to see significant developments in the cryptocurrency arena, some expected and predictable and others that are sure to take us by surprise. We look at some of the latest developments over the past few weeks as an indicator of what lies ahead.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, recently unveiled his 10-year vision, outlining a plan for Facebook and financial services. What he failed to mention was anything about Libra, the controversial stablecoin announced last summer.
Zuckerberg was quick to detail aims for Facebook and highlighted what he sees as an extensive opportunity for Facebook to decentralise finance and business.
“Over the next decade we hope to build the commerce and payments tools so that every small business has easy access to the same technology that previously only big companies have had,” he said in his post.
He expanded on his vision, explaining it includes Instagram storefronts, remittances via WhatsApp and Messenger-based customer support. His aim, he says, is “to create more opportunity in the world”.
Whilst Zuckerberg failed to incorporate Libra into his forecast, the European Union said a month back that it is considering developing its own digital cryptocurrency that could rival Facebook’s Libra.
Documents in draft form from the European Central Bank urged the EU to come up with a consistent approach to all cryptocurrencies, ranging from decentralised cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to state-back efforts like those currently underway in China.
Until this point the European Union has not implemented any specific regulation around cryptocurrencies but several European countries have engaged their own rules.
The draft document states that: “The ECB and other EU central banks could usefully explore the opportunities as well as challenges of issuing central bank digital currencies including by considering concrete steps to this effect.”
Adoption could be as soon as the next few months.
Meanwhile, John McAfee, Founder of McAfee Associates – one of the world’s largest cybersecurity companies, has backtracked on his prediction that Bitcoin would reach US$1 million by the end of 2020. In his latest statement on the forecast, he claimed it had all been a ruse intended to gain publicity.
Elsewhere, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has welcomed the arrival of the Petro cryptocurrency, which can now be used to buy the nation’s vast oil reserves, precious metals and industrial metals. The national cryptocurrency, however, has yet to find a use outside the country’s borders. It’s not all upside though as potential buyers are fearful of US sanctions, meaning that the number of oil barrels gathering in storage tanks is growing by the day.
And finally, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will be able to tokenize his contract after all. Dinwiddie will issue shares tied to his contract beginning January 13th 2020. This is after the NBA pushed back on his plan to create a tokenization platform for entertainers to essentially issue debt instruments based on their future earnings.
Last year, Dinwiddie said he would tokenize his three0year US$34.5 million contract on the Ethereum blockchain with the hope of raising US$13.5 million in the first year. However, the basketball leagues said in September 2019 that his plan was banned under the collective bargaining agreement under which NBA players operate. According to Forbes, the specific point of contention was the potential for Dinwiddie to execute an option on the third year of his contract, promising “significant dividends for investors” if he opted out and signed a higher-paying contract. Dinwiddie told Forbes that removing this clause and offering a flat bond instead would allow the plan to proceed. Accredited investors will be able to purchase tokens for a minimum $150,000 buy-in, giving him his contract’s value up front.
Dinwiddie tweeted on Friday: “The Spencer Dinwiddie bond launches January 13th,” but the NBA said in a statement the league was reviewing the modified plan, indicating it may not have actually given Dinwiddie the sign-off to go live on Monday as he intends.