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Crypto Catalysts in 2021 - Who, What, When & Why

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The year 2021 may be the most exciting year for cryptocurrency yet, and any longtime crypto enthusiasts who have been around the scene since the early 2010s know that is no small statement.

A Historical Run

Bitcoin has been no stranger to huge price swings over the last decade. From the seemingly dark pits of a near $5,000 USD price point in March of 2020, Bitcoin surged to its all-time high (as of the time of writing this article) of almost $65,000 USD in April of 2021. This marks an almost 1,200% price pump in a little over a year's time... and all signs point to there still being plenty of gas left in the tank, as many analysts inevitably expect Bitcoin to continue its run to $100,000 in the coming months.

Bitcoin Enters the Main Stage

While to some, this massive run might seem nonsensical and just part of a retail bubble from young investors looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, the truth is much different when you look into what is actually happening. Corporate adoption of Bitcoin is on the rise and traditional investors are looking for ways to hedge their bets against a possible near-term recession. The pandemic showed how quickly fiat currency can become devalued when governments start printing money out of thin air. On top of that, Bitcoin and blockchain technology are finally emerging from their elusive underground, making room for cryptocurrency to enter the main stage with "the big boys".

Who, What, When & Why?

We've gone beyond the level where retail investors learning how to buy Bitcoin for the first time are going to be the major catalysts towards future price milestones for Bitcoin. The question is: What will it take to nearly double the already historic price in order to reach that major psychological six-figure price point of $100,000?

The "Who"

We've already learned that individuals like Elon Musk can singlehandedly affect the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with a simple 4-word tweet. For better or worse, it is important to identify who these key players are if we want to be able to determine possible catalysts to this $100,000 price point in 2021. Here are some of the key people to watch:

Hester Peirce (SEC Commissioner)

The SEC and governments in general have been a thorn in the side of Bitcoin and other emerging cryptocurrencies in the last few years. Appointed in 2018 by President Donald Trump, Hester Peirce is the newest Commissioner on the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, and it seems she's taking a refreshingly progressive take when it comes to the cryptocurrency market. In a recent interview, she mentioned that Bitcoin, and the cryptocurrency market as a whole, are maturing and that authorities perhaps spend too much time focusing on the "illicit" use of the technology compared to its potential benefits.

In unison with this, the Commissioner has just published an updated version of her "Safe Harbor" proposal in April of 2021, which introduces a new concept to allow for emerging cryptocurrency startups a three-year grace period to build and launch their projects before they have to deal with the complex and debilitating federal securities laws. This would be a huge win that would allow for this new market to have a chance to get back on its feet without some of the recent burdens implemented by various regulations.

Elon Musk

If you've kept your ear towards the stock market news at all over the last 12 months, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has certainly been on your radar. The eccentric tech entrepreneur can often be seen sending "cryptic" tweets on Twitter that seemingly point to his current outlook on Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin ($DOGE). His cult following will often run with these messages within seconds, causing massive price action on whatever coin he's currently eyeing. While you may not agree with his (sometimes dangerous) methods, it goes without saying that he swings a lot of weight around when it comes to cryptocurrency and the stock market in general, making Mr. Musk an important figure to keep an eye on in 2021.

China

China is well-known as a non-crypto-friendly country as it does not consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender. In 2017, China shut down all of its cryptocurrency exchanges, and just recently on March 1st of 2021, the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia announced a ban on cryptocurrency mining, even though the country currently accounts for around 65% of all Bitcoin mining globally. The move came from a push to cut emissions, however, investors are quick to realize the possibility of further regulations that could hamper the free and future development of the cryptocurrency market.

All of this was not enough to stop two Chinese state-supported cryptocurrencies, Neo ($NEO) & VeChain ($VET), to pump to massive highs after President Xi Jinping announced his intention to use blockchain technology to gain "a new industrial advantage." China now appears to be outpacing America in blockchain patents and as the number 2 largest GDP in the world with a massive crypto investor market, it goes without saying that China has a huge potential to affect the overall cryptocurrency market.

The "What"

While individuals are able to have a massive impact on the crypto economy, there are even bigger catalysts that will contribute to the market capitalization required to reach the $100K level for Bitcoin.

Crypto Kiosks

Cryptocurrency Kiosks, otherwise known as Bitcoin ATMs, are one of the most crucial additions to the crypto market in the last few years, as they bring an age-old financial technology into the emerging scene. Prior to these physical machines, the only way to buy or sell your cryptocurrency was by using a confusing online interface that offered no customer support line, or even worse, recourse for accidental transactions. This is a huge issue for those less-technically-inclined as well as those without access to phones, computers, or bank accounts.

Fast forward to today, where you can now find these kiosks scattered all across the globe right next to your traditional banking ATM, allowing you to easily buy or sell your cryptocurrency holdings directly with cash or credit card. This fills yet another void that newer cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase are facing due to their inability to allow you to purchase or withdraw your holdings without a credit card or bank account.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

If there's anything that can skyrocket something into absolute stardom from nothing, it's the amazing ability of the online community to turn something viral. That's exactly what has happened with the latest blockchain-powered craze dubbed Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, and it's bringing attention to cryptocurrency like we haven't seen before.

One of the main reasons we're seeing such buzz around this new concept is that it leaves the idea of investing and trading at the door and instead focuses on much more appealing concepts for the masses: collectibles, exclusivity, and... memes. Think of NFTs like Pokémon or baseball cards. They're a one-of-a-kind item that can be pretty much anything, from an autographed tweet from the founder of Twitter to illustrations of toilet paper from Charmin.

This all sounds like a lot of nonsense, but the point is that these tokens are generating millions of dollars and getting a lot of mainstream media attention from pop culture icons. These tokens are mostly run on the Ethereum blockchain, so in a nutshell, it's a major positive for the market as a whole as it inadvertently introduces people to the technology that they previously were unaware of or uninterested in getting involved with.

Companies Accepting Cryptocurrency

Institutional and corporate investments in cryptocurrency are absolutely pivotal for the success of the market, but these types of events don't touch on the majority of the average consumers' lives. Companies beginning to accept cryptocurrency within their platforms is what is truly driving the retail market to new highs.

Just recently, Tesla started accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for their vehicles. That's right, you can actually spend your Bitcoin directly on the Tesla.com website and purchase a new vehicle... and it doesn't stop there. Uber, Shopify, Amazon, Paypal, and Apple are among many other companies that have started or plan to start accepting cryptocurrency payments as well. The more that the idea of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency enters the everyday lives of consumers, the more that it leaves its cryptic and elusive background at the door.

When Will Bitcoin Hit $100,000?

Unfortunately, the hardest question to answer is the one most sought after. No one knows exactly if or when Bitcoin will reach the $100,000 milestone. An overwhelming majority of analysts are beginning to agree that a six-figure Bitcoin is inevitable in 2021, but anything can happen along the way.

The best way to get close to this answer is by staying up to date with the latest advancements and news around the industry. With something as fast-paced and volatile as the cryptocurrency market, you could easily go to bed and wake up to some vastly different numbers on your screen. This is a global phenomenon that moves 24/7 unlike the traditional markets, so your best bet is to buckle up and enjoy the ride.

April 26, 2021