Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices have had an inauspicious start to 2022 after plunging from all-time highs last year.
The bitcoin price had looked poised to break above $50,000 per bitcoin for the first time since December this month as investors cheered a wave of good news, however, its price has dropped back toward $45,000. Ethereum has also struggled—even as traders gear up for a huge upgrade—with the likes of BNB, XRP, cardano and solana also trending lower. Payment token luna has bucked the trend.
Now, with the bitcoin community descending on Miami this week for the Bitcoin 2022 conference and one high-profile developer teasing “big surprises,” the cryptocurrency market could be in for a shake-up.
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“If they only knew the magnitude of what’s to come,” Samson Mow, formerly the chief strategy officer at bitcoin infrastructure company Blockstream who left the company last month to focus on “nation-state bitcoin adoption,” posted to Twitter in response to an article warning that El Salvador’s “bitcoin gamble is crumbling.”
Mow added El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele, Jack Mallers, the chief executive of El Salvador bitcoin payments partner Strike, and bitcoin writer Allen Farrington “are all trying to outdo each other for big surprises” at the Bitcoin 2022 conference which kicks off on Wednesday and runs through until Saturday.
El Salvador last week postponed its controversial $1 billion bitcoin-backed bond, with bitcoin billionaire Michael Saylor, who’s speaking at the event, warning the market perhaps isn’t “quite ready” for bitcoin bonds.
Bukele will also be speaking at the conference next week, with the event attracting big-name headliners such as PayPal cofounder and tech investor Peter Thiel and psychologist Jordon Peterson. Last year, Peterson began to show interest in bitcoin, interviewing The Bitcoin Standard author Saifedean Amous.
Odell Beckham Jr, an NFL player who made headlines when he said he’d take part of his salary in bitcoin and has become an outspoken ambassador for the cryptocurrency, and Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector and human rights activist, are also speaking at the Miami bitcoin conference.
Last year, the Miami bitcoin conference was hailed as the largest bitcoin event in the world with bitcoin’s huge price explosion just months earlier fueling unprecedented interest in cryptocurrency.
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The bitcoin price had surpassed its previous all-time in late 2020, soaring to highs of $60,000 shortly after the conference in which Bukele announced a bill to make bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador and Jack Dorsey, who was then still chief executive of Twitter, told conference attendees that “if I were not at Square or Twitter, I would be working on bitcoin.” Just a few months later Dorsey quit Twitter and has since pivoted Square into a bitcoin-focused company, renaming it Block.
Earlier this year, Mow named Mexico as “on the list” of countries that could follow El Salvador into bitcoin. “I’m working with people from a number of countries and it’s still too early to say for sure but bitcoin adoption in some form will be inevitable,” Mow said at the time.
In January, Wall Street giant Fidelity predicted other countries and even a central bank could follow El Salvador into bitcoin this year—saying that those who buy bitcoin while the price is low “will be better off competitively than their peers.”
“There is very high stakes game theory at play here, whereby if bitcoin adoption increases, the countries that secure some bitcoin today will be better off competitively than their peers,” Fidelity analysts Chris Kuiper and Jack Neureuter wrote in a note, adding they “wouldn’t be surprised to see other sovereign nation-states acquire bitcoin in 2022 and perhaps even see a central bank make an acquisition.”