While some of these might not quite make 2021, significant events are coming up that could positively impact price and spell good news for the long-term future of the blockchain ecosystem. Here are five events in crypto worth keeping an eye on.
Upgrades to the Bitcoin network occur less frequently than a leap year, so it causes a justifiable degree of excitement when one comes along (and often some controversy to boot). However, unlike the highly disputed 2017 SegWit upgrade, the upcoming Taproot implementation appears far less contentious among the developer and mining community.
It's designed to enhance Bitcoin's scalability and privacy, allowing miners to process blocks up to two and a half times faster. It will also reduce the fees for complex multi-signature transactions—a change that's bound to be welcomed by enterprises.
Taproot has been in the pipeline for two years and should go live in November 2021. Whether or not it will impact the flagship asset's price remains to be seen, but regardless, the upgrade brings positive improvements for miners and Bitcoin users alike.
Another change that's been years in the making, the next significant milestone in the Ethereum 2.0 implementation will be the "merge." The upgrade, also dubbed eth2 or Serenity, is being rolled out in three phases.
The first phase, to launch the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) Beacon chain, went live in December last year. The second is when the main Ethereum chain merges the Beacon chain, and the Ethereum network abandons the energy-hungry Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus model once and for all. Further scalability upgrades will follow when the network implements sharding.
The eth2 upgrade will make Ethereum more scalable, sustainable, and user-friendly, so the remaining steps in the rollout are likely to provide some positive price action for ETH holders. The merge is still slated for 2021, according to the Ethereum 2.0 homepage, but given the long lead time on the project so far, don't be surprised if the launch gets pushed back.
A big move that's already underway is the EQO Dollar airdrop.
All EQO holders receive 100 EQO Dollars, aka EQO-D tokens, for every 1,000 of EQO they have in their accounts. Each EQO-D is the equivalent of 1 USDC collateral when trading perpetuals on EQONEX and can be used as collateral for the recipient account. Those who receive over 5,000 EQO-D can also opt to gift them to new or inactive EQONEX clients, allowing them to benefit from generous referral rewards.
The third benefit is the buyback utility, which introduces a time-bound element to the EQO-D program. The buyback will allow all EQO-D holders to sell back to EQONEX at an established price for a fixed period. And more EQO means a larger share from the $200,000 buyback pool.
There's also a trading competition to win a share of $50,000 in BTC. Learn more.
2021 has been an excellent year for platform tokens, with Solana's SOL, Cardano's ADA, and Terra's LUNA undergoing impressive bull runs. Picking another winner is always a tricky business, but Polkadot's DOT token is definitely worth watching as the network looks set to move to the next phase in its roadmap.
Polkadot's parachain auctions will involve projects bidding for a lease slot to operate a sub-chain on the platform's main Relay chain, and they introduce a specific spin to the DOT tokenomic model.
Before the auctions' opening, projects may invite users to loan their DOTs to help increase the project's bid, and hence its chances of securing one of the coveted parachain lease slots. In return for the loan, DOT holders will be expecting rewards that offer greater returns than if they staked their tokens to a validator in Polkadot's Nominated Proof of Stake consensus model.
We can expect some healthy competition between projects and a significant number of DOTs taken out of circulation. Polkadot's parachain auctions are likely to begin later this year.
This last event may end up being something of an anti-climax if past precedent is anything to go by. Several issuers have attempted to file Bitcoin ETF applications with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over the years, but all have been roundly rejected so far.
Nevertheless, hopes are high that the situation could change before the end of 2021. Since Gary Gensler replaced outgoing SEC Chair Jay Clayton, he's made several statements that indicate a Bitcoin ETF could be approved.
As a result, issuers have again rushed to make filings, and analysts believe that a decision could be forthcoming as early as October. Could a positive outcome be just the boost the markets need to take BTC to a six-figure valuation? Perhaps, although it depends mainly on the type of product that gets approved and the demand that it can generate. Our recent roundup provides further insights and analysis of possible scenarios.