The tides of history often turn as a result of the events of a single day. In cryptocurrency investment, seemingly minor events — like a hard fork or a court hearing — can have major effects on everything from token prices to the legality of crypto trading itself. If you want to avoid being blindsided by these events, it’s not a bad idea to keep track of what’s coming and when. In this post, we’re taking a look at six important dates for cryptocurrency enthusiasts to mark on their calendars.
September 23, 2019 – Launch of Bakkt’s Bitcoin Futures: The derivatives market is incredibly complex, and explaining how Bakkt’s physically settled bitcoin futures contracts actually work is way beyond the scope of this piece. The important thing to understand is that Bakkt was granted a full state charter for their futures contracts by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), allowing major financial players to access bitcoin markets in new ways. When Bakkt finally goes live, the most likely result will be billions of dollars from institutional investors entering into the bitcoin investment ecosystem.
September 25, 2019 – Supreme Court of India Hearing on Cryptocurrency Ban: In July of 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, officially banned India’s financial institutions from doing business with cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses. This blanket ruling by the RBI doesn’t have a clear basis in Indian law, however, resulting in the central bank having to argue its legal case before the country’s Supreme Court. At a hearing on Aug. 20th, the Court informed the RBI that it had not demonstrated that it had the legal authority to issue such a ban. The hearing in September has high stakes, as it will likely determine the fundamental legal status of cryptocurrency use in India.
October 13, 2019 – SEC’s Bitcoin ETF Decision: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been dodging the question of allowing cryptocurrency-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) since 2013, when the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust filed their first application. Their latest round of kick-the-crypto-can-down-the-road ends in October, when the SEC must issue a final decision on the Bitwise ETF, which was originally filed back in July of 2018. The SEC must also issue a final ruling on the VanEck ETF, which has been in approval limbo since 2017, by Oct. 18th.
October 16, 2019 – Ethereum “Istanbul” Hard Fork: Major changes are coming to the Ethereum network in October, and these updates are significant enough that they will require a hard fork of the network’s software. As with any major software rollout, the “Istanbul” update carries a significant degree of risk for the Ethereum network, which is currently valued at $21 billion. Another major update is planned for April of 2020, which includes the scheduled addition of the controversial “Progressive Proof-of-Work” mining algorithm.
October 28, 2019 – Mt. Gox Settlement Announcement: More than five years after the infamous early bitcoin exchange imploded following a series of major hacks, Mt. Gox’s clients may finally receive some compensation for their losses. The court-appointed trustee is required to file a civil rehabilitation plan with the Tokyo District Court by Oct. 28, and that plan will establish how much money claimants can expect to receive … eventually. It may take several more years of negotiation, liquidation, and additional lawsuits before any money is actually paid out to Mt. Gox’s many victims.
May 17, 2020 – Bitcoin Halving (Estimated): The last time the bitcoin block reward “halved” — dropping from 25 BTC to 12.5 BTC on July 9th 2016 — BTC’s price was $650. By July of 2017, it was selling $2,590. By July 9th of 2018 — just two years later — it was selling for $6,800, more than ten times its pre-halving price. While it’s not guaranteed that BTC’s price will skyrocket following the 2020 halving (currently estimated to happen around May 17th), the reduced supply of new bitcoin that results from the drop to 6.5 BTC per block will almost certainly drive up demand.