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Cryptocurrency in 2020: The lessons learnt in 2019

The end of 2019 marked eleven years of cryptocurrency. In this time, the ecosystem has progressed from a few small blockchain networks to a complex alternative financial system.

The hacks aren’t stopping

In total, twelve major cryptocurrency exchange security breaches occurred in 2019, compared with nine major hacks in 2018. Among these, a few landmark hacks have set new precedents.

What did we learn?

No exchange is too small or too big to be hacked: Both behemoth Binance, which boasts over $1 billion in daily trading volume, and tiny Cryptopia, which traded less than $1 million per day, were both considered lucrative targets.

Regulators are closing in

2019 saw lawmakers around the world grapple with cryptocurrency — attempting to map existing financial regulations, and fit new governance structures, to the growing industry.

What did we learn?

Regulatory compliance is more important than ever. As cryptocurrency has grown more intertwined with legacy finance, more guidance has been issued and enforcement stepped up, making it increasingly necessary for ecosystem participants to stay on the right side of the rule makers.

Scalability is still a roadblock

In an end of year blog post, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin admitted that despite the progress of the industry, scalability is still “one of the largest problems facing the cryptocurrency space today.”

What did we learn?

Despite the progress major blockchains made towards scaling in 2019 — including greater adoption of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network and several forks for Ethereum — we have yet to realize the results.

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