Remember the spectacular 1,375 per cent price rise of Bitcoin late last year, and the equally dramatic fall it experienced in 2018?
Many investors hoping to get into cryptocurrency for some quick riches ended up getting their fingers burned, after the presence of other cryptocurrencies (altcoins) forced Bitcoin’s cryptocurrency market capitalisation to fall from 90 per cent in January 2016 to just 33 per cent share in February 2018.
With the collapse of cryptocurrencies this year, the 10 largest cryptocurrencies lost more than 80 per cent of their collective value between January and September.
But according to management consultancy AT Kearney, there could be a plot twist coming up in the Bitcoin story in 2019.
Read also: Everything you need to know about Bitcoin, its origins, and its creator
In its latest Year-Ahead Predictions 2019 report, the firm predicted that cryptocurrencies will begin a “second decade in a state of post-crash consolidation and maturation”.
“By the end of 2019, Bitcoin will reclaim nearly two-thirds of the crypto market capitalization as altcoins lose their luster because of growing risk aversion among cryptocurrency investors,” the report said.
AT Kearney expects financial regulations surrounding cryptocurrencies to soften as authorities target criminal activity that causes price volatility. It also expects the US Securities and Exchange Commission will warm to Bitcoin exchange-traded funds.
“Ironically, for cryptocurrencies to see a third decade, the only viable path forward involves this acceptance by the international financial system that Bitcoin once sought to defeat,” it added.
Released annually, the company’s report predicts significant global events that will occur and trends that will gain momentum in the coming year.
Half of the 10 predictions made in last year’s report for 2018 – including the spike in demand and sales of electric vehicles, and the spread of Islamic State to Southeast Asia and Africa – turned out to be 100 per cent accurate, AT Kearney said.
Another two were 75 per cent accurate, while two more achieved 50 per cent accuracy and one turned out to be only 25 per cent accurate.
Aside from the maturing of crypto, other predictions the firm has made for the year 2019 are:
The US–China trade war will intensify
In 2018, US-China relations turned sour when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese imports after negotiations failed. Beijing then retaliated with tariffs on US$110 billion of US imports and took steps to create a more restrictive business environment for US companies in China.
In 2019, insufficient progress on key issues is expected to result in higher tariffs on Chinese imports, AT Kearney predicts. China will likely retaliate with increased tariffs on US imports and efforts to offset potential losses for domestic companies, and focus on diversifying its trade and reducing its dependence on the United States.
“Southeast Asian economies will likely benefit from the trade war as US importers shift production and supply chains to avoid tariffs on Chinese goods,” the report said.
The global trash crisis will spur innovations in waste management
The Straits Times
The policy shift in the developed world on plastic straws and other single-use plastic items in 2018 have done little to solve the overall challenge represented by plastics and waste management.
According to the World Bank, global annual waste generation will grow 70 per cent between 2016 and 2050. In emerging markets, nearly 90 per cent of waste is either openly burned or illegally dumped, AT Kearney said.
But as the world begins to recognise the need to solve this global trash crisis, innovation in waste management processes will accelerate, it predicts.
In 2019, government initiatives will target trash collection and disposal in emerging markets. At the same time, developed nations will invest in artificial intelligence technologies and robots that can detect and sort items by material type with reduced costs.
New entrants to the waste management industry will also disrupt traditional practices with “smart” trash removal, while science breakthroughs will result in commercial viability of new materials such as a new plastic-like polymer that can be recycled indefinitely.
The global shipping industry will crash into new sulfur regulations
The Straits Times
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is on the cusp of implementing new sulfur regulations that will have significant implications for the shipping industry, the report said.
AT Kearney expects the global shipping industry to undergo “a disorderly and disruptive transition” to the new environment in 2019.
The implications will go far beyond the shipping industry. Prices for a variety of fuel types – including high and low sulfur bunker fuel, diesel fuel, and jet fuel – will become more volatile.
Ship owners are already…