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Who would have imagined a year ago how different our lives would be in just 12 months? Without a doubt, the month of November will remain an important moment in human history – the moment when it all began. Although ‘patient zero’ has yet to be confirmed – if at all – we now know that it all started in China on November 17, 2019, when the first patient reportedly exhibited symptoms of a novel coronavirus disease named COVID-19, according to the South China Morning Post with references to government data.

In January 2020, the city of Wuhan in central China suffered from the massively expanding COVID-19 epidemic, and “41 admitted hospital patients were identified as having laboratory-confirmed cases,” according to a report. publication in The Lancet. Just two months later, in March, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. One by one, governments around the world have closed their national borders, suspended public events and banned popular gatherings. The conversation uncovered two previously rarely used terms that have now been declared Words of the Year 2020 by the British Collins Dictionary: ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’.

It is difficult to imagine which areas of our life were not affected by these dramatic and tragic events, with the number of confirmed cases worldwide exceeding 55 million.

Even so, the current COVID-19 crisis has also had a positive impact on the world. European conservatism, which has long relied on the traditional financial system, has been called into question as the pandemic forced Europeans to turn to cashless payments and cryptocurrencies. Some say it has even accelerated the general adoption of crypto-based and DLT-based business solutions globally by changing people’s understanding of money.

Related: What the COVID-19 pandemic means for blockchain and crypto

Specifically, the COVID-19 outbreak has propelled the Bitcoin (BTC) safe-haven narrative as central banks print around $ 15 trillion in stimulus measures in a bid to mitigate the pandemic’s effects on consumers. global economies. Amid rising inflation rates, people are looking to Bitcoin as their next inflation hedge.

Related: Not Like Before: Digital Currencies Debut Amid COVID-19

Meanwhile, in the name of public health, governments are launching COVID-19 follow-up programs, raising serious concerns about privacy violations and centralization’s tightening grip on the process. Without stopping there, governments have also taken a new step in the erosion of civil autonomy through the development of digital currencies from central banks, whose initiatives have been strengthened on a global scale due to the crisis of COVID-19. While experts see the solution to protecting privacy in decentralized technologies, the question of too-promised decentralization remains open.

Nonetheless, the coronavirus outbreak has dramatically changed everyone’s lives, creating the new normal we live in now. Yet despite all the challenges we have faced economically, politically and socially since the start of the year, there is no doubt that the pandemic is propelling digital innovation and accelerating humanity 20 years ahead in technological development.

It’s too early to say when it all ends, as COVID-19 is gaining momentum again. Now, a year after Wuhan’s first case, Cointelegraph has reached out to experts in the blockchain technology and crypto space to get their opinions on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry.

What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic epidemic had on the crypto space?

Asheesh Birla, Managing Director of RippleNet:

“COVID-19 has exacerbated inequalities for many unbanked or underbanked and highlighted the gaps we have in our financial infrastructure where those with the least pay the most – on average, the cost of sending $ 200 is $ 14. Despite the pandemic, people still have to send money to family and friends abroad. As a result, remittances continued to increase in some of the larger corridors. The corridor from the United States to Mexico, for example, has seen a dramatic increase in remittances since the start of the pandemic, with Mexico receiving $ 4.02 billion from abroad in March 2020, an increase of 36% from March 2019. Ripple can help reduce the cost of remittances. using crypto and blockchain to make cross-border payments faster, cheaper and more reliable. Bitso, one of Mexico’s top exchanges, processes nearly 10% of total U.S.-to-Mexico remittances using Ripple’s technology that uses XRP as a bridging currency. In tandem, there is more interest than ever in the space, with big companies like PayPal and Square placing their bets on crypto, pushing it towards the mainstream. The validation of these companies has helped increase interest in the usefulness of cryptocurrencies and their ability to better serve their businesses and customers. “

Da Hongfei, founder of Neo, founder and CEO of OnChain:

“From my perspective, COVID-19 has not had a negative impact on the blockchain space – if anything, it has resulted in increased demand for blockchain innovation and adoption. By revealing the weaknesses of our current paradigm, COVID-19 has also highlighted the urgent need for blockchain technology. For example, COVID-19 demonstrated the failings of today’s centralized supply chain system, revealing its fragility and lack of agility. By leveraging blockchain, we can create a decentralized supply chain that can quickly determine and then distribute products based on the needs of a specific area. Likewise, blockchain technology could also be deployed to more effectively track and trace cases of infection while protecting patient privacy. In fact, we are already seeing this move to blockchain in a time of uncertainty – more and more institutions and people are embracing Bitcoin as it is seen as a stable and current asset in these difficult times. If anything, I think COVID-19 has firmly proven the need for not only blockchain, but a truly digital and smart economy as well. To move forward, we must break away from our current paradigm to embrace a truly digital and globalized world that has the flexibility, agility, and efficiency to thrive and prosper.

Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo:

“The economic upheavals caused by our pandemic era are creating attitude changes and an increased interest in digital assets. COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated adoption and interest in crypto around the world. It is important to note that the determined effort of companies like ours to build a secure and compliant foundation allows the influx of new crypto investors, including large institutional companies such as investment banks and major custodians. Fortunately, we are able to seize the moment thanks to all the hard work we have put in to build a new monetary system from scratch over the past 10 years. Before COVID-19, most people didn’t pay as much attention to the economic factors that make Bitcoin relevant. Frankly, they didn’t need it. If you generate a return in the stock market, you stick with what you know and you don’t have to worry about learning anything new. But now that has all changed with the pandemic – fiscal policy around the world is pushing governments to print money wildly, reducing its value and causing inflation. Investors now understand that they need to get ahead. They ask a lot more questions and grasp the basis of Bitcoin’s thesis – that an asset’s scarcity matters. Digital assets are a hedge against inflation and a safe store of value. Investment leaders such as Paul Tudor Jones, Stanley Druckemiller and Bill Miller demonstrate that Bitcoin is now an important part of any wallet. This year has brought so much uncertainty, but people feel in a position to educate themselves on what they need to do to get involved in crypto. All of the basics are in place – compliance, custody, liquidity, portfolio management and portfolio technology, plus tax tools – giving investors the tools they need to invest in digital assets. “

Preston Byrne, Partner at Byrne & Storm, PC:

“The most tangible impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on cryptography has been the validation of the basic cryptography thesis that our societies are fragile and that mathematics, not humans, are likely to form a more solid basis for the future social organization. The reliance of virtually all major economies on fiscal and monetary stimulus to stay afloat has reinforced and broadened the public perception of weak fiat currency and institutions. “ Crypto, ” so-called, is a wide range of beliefs and areas of interest ranging from hard money and censorship resistance to secure communications. These technologies uniquely respond to the adaptation of society and business to the stressors that have dominated headlines over the past year, whether it be ‘Money printers are going to brr’ ‘, the continuous exodus of big technologies or widespread social unrest in cities.

Tim draper, renowned Bitcoin venture capitalist and investor

“A lot of people, stuck in their homes, finally took the time to set up a Bitcoin wallet, but the real impact of Covid was that the lockdown was devastating for many families, and when the government printed $ 13 trillion for trying to put a band-aid on it, it was clear that you’d rather hold Bitcoin than those watered down and watered down dollars. I expect “fiduciary duty” to now include possession of Bitcoin as a hedge against flooding and manipulation of government currencies. “

These quotes have been edited and condensed.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the sole authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.