The COVID-19 pandemic has not only brought upon an unprecedented shift in people’s daily lives but also put global economies and financial markets in a tailspin. The consequences of the virus outbreak disrupted several industries, including transportation, manufacturing, and tourism, among others.
As outbreaks like this take time to disperse in the future completely, proactive actions and effective crisis response from international governments are required to save lives and maintain economic prosperity.
Because of the current crisis, unemployment rates around the world have increased. In the U.S. alone, the percentage of people out of work has jumped to 10.4%. Meanwhile, some who remained employed had to take income cuts.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, interest towards cryptocurrencies is growing, for it poses as an attractive investment since crypto like Bitcoin (BTC) doesn’t require an intermediary to operate. Many investors are taking this time as an opportunity to get into digital currencies as the virus outbreak accelerates the switch to going cashless.
Even prominent former Goldman Sachs fund manager Raoul Pal has moved 25% of his portfolio to BTC.
Cryptocurrency in Numbers
Enumerated below are some interesting crypto statistics and facts. Let’s dive into it.
- As of September 2020, the leading digital currencies globally are Tether, Bitcoin, and Ethereum.
- High rates of crypto ownerships and use were seen in Nigeria (32%), Vietnam (21%), South Africa (17%), Turkey (16%), and Peru (16%). Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, and Chile were also recorded to reach double digits when it came to cryptocurrency adoption.
- Today, there are over 5,000 alternative cryptocurrencies in existence, apart from Bitcoin.
- Bitcoin is responsible for $6 billion of daily online transactions.
- More than 7,700 Bitcoin ATMs can be found worldwide, with the United States being home to 5,780 sites.
- Research shows that around 4.68% of millennials, 2.77% of Gen X, and 1.58% of baby boomers have joined the crypto bandwagon.
The State of Digital Currencies for 2020 and Beyond
- More countries are expected to use cryptocurrencies
With quarantine and lockdown policies in place, crypto emerged as an ideal solution for sending or receiving money digitally in a few seconds, which works with international or local transactions. In addition, many are minimizing their use of cash to avoid the possible spread of the virus through shared items.
In Nigeria, the expensive cost of transmitting money across borders has pushed Nigerians to get into local cryptocurrency exchanges that accommodate overseas workers and their families. As mentioned above, there are around 32% of Nigerians that said they used or owned cryptocurrency.
Moreover, many of them use their smartphones to transfer money to each other and pay in stores. Because of this, a rising number of businesses in the country are including crypto plugins as a payment option, encouraging more people to jump into the trend and use it in their daily lives.
- Cryptos to rise as fiat currencies weaken
Due to the current crisis challenging global financial stability, many people are starting to pay attention and look into cryptocurrencies and digital money seriously. In April, Bitcoin climbed to 10%, signifying that the demand for BTC, and perhaps other digital currencies, is increasing.
As fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar drop in value, more people are considering participating in an alternative currency system where they have the opportunity to use it for transactions or investment, giving them more control over their wealth. Much like fiat currencies, crypto investors are welcome to buy, sell, and participate in crypto exchanges.
- More businesses and government agencies to launch their own digital currency
Ever since Facebook announced their plans to launch Libra and make cryptocurrency more accessible, they have been met with mixed reactions. Fast forward today, the Libra project has faced many significant changes and redesign to abide by regulatory requirements (full details of the changes are enumerated and explained in the whitepaper).
The redesign and effort that will hopefully work with regulators and financial institutions mean that the impending changes may force regulators and central banks to take digital currencies seriously, for it may reshape the global finance sector in the future.
On the other hand, it’s safe to say that the Chinese are no strangers to digital payments with e-wallet apps like Alipay and WeChat Pay. The Chinese government started its pilot program for building an official digital counterpart of its currency, which could challenge BTC and even the U.S. dollar.
China’s digital currency is designed to be an electronic version of their paper money, stored and lives in a digital wallet app on a smartphone instead of a physical one. This will be a lot more convenient to use compared to cash. The government will back the value of the coin, while the central bank will monitor to see where the money goes.
When this rolls out, people will be able to exchange coins via their digital wallet, including the 225 million unbanked Chinese people, since the new denomination will not require bank accounts.
- The emergence of Bitcoin S.V.
While Bitcoin S.V. shares the same name with Bitcoin, they’re different cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin currently stands at the world’s biggest and most successful digital coin, while Bitcoin S.V. is an altcoin that utilizes a block size of 132 MB, which allows it to handle bigger and more transactions.
Bitcoin S.V. (BSV) is rising as a well-performing asset for the past 12 months. It saw a +147.50% jump in its value—roughly three times the amount of BTC. BSV’s unique value proposition focuses on offering utility, which allows the creation of long-term token value, making it an attractive investment choice for investors.
Wrapping It Up
There’s no denying that digital currencies are here to stay, and they will only continue to rise and challenge the stock market, fiat currencies, and central banks. The increase in demand for crypto signals it’s time for governments, regulators, central banks, and financial institutions to acknowledge its presence and benefits and start looking for ways to adopt the technology.
Amid a global health crisis or not, these digital assets are posing to become a huge part of the future of finance.