Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 2019 Predictions – Vol. II

Investing, Opinion, Regulation | December 14, 2018 By:

Today continues our series of predictions from the industry’s thought leaders on what may happen in the coming year. 

By almost any measure, 2018 was a challenging year for the blockchain/cryptocurrency industries. Beyond the usual issues facing young businesses in hiring, marketing, technology and financing, companies were engaged in a crisis of confidence with investors, as the crypto markets lost 80 percent of their overall value from the beginning of the year.

Add to that the magic fountain of funding caused by the curtailing of initial coin offerings, increased government scrutiny and outright bans of certain activities, and the bitter battles between technology developers that caused market gyrations, and it’s amazing that any company survived such severe headwinds.

But heading into 2019, the survivors of this industry wide winter are showing faith in the underlying technology of blockchain and the continuing promise of cryptocurrency. They point out that institutional investors are still on the sidelines, and many retail backers are still not in the game in any huge way.

Add that to the continued interest of big businesses and the spirit of innovation shown by blockchain and crypto pioneers, and the story looks a lot brighter than mere numbers would suggest.

Block Tribune asked thought leaders in the industry for their takes on what may happen in the coming year. Now through the end of the month, we’ll spotlight their thoughts on what may happen in what all hope will be a happy and prosperous 2019.

Shone Anstey, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Blockchain Intelligence Group

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Where do you see Bitcoin heading in 2019 and why?

ANSWER: Continued growth of the ecosystem and uptake with retailers and others who will take BTC as payment. Eventually this will be reflected in the price.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Have recent crypto plunges affected your outlook and/or plans for 2019?

ANSWER: No. In fact, the fall in price has not deterred the activity in blockchain projects all through this year. We see a great deal of innovation coming from non-cryptocurrency sectors such as identity management, distributed cloud storage, digital voting/notary and smart contracts.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?

ANSWER: USDT, known as Tether, has until this year been the sole stable coin available in the crypto space. This year saw at least three other stable coins emerge such as Gemini Dollar, Paxos Standard Token, USD Coin. We foresee enhanced roles for stable coins as launchpads for other assets making their way into the crypto space, bridging services from both the fiat and crypto worlds

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Which sectors – energy, e-commerce, gambling – do you think will have the biggest impact in the blockchain industry in 2019?

ANSWER: Finance, ID Management and Supply Chain

BLOCK TRIBUNE:What event would you like to see happen in 2019?

ANSWER: Custody solutions to be approved and meet the needs for Banks to engage with Cryptocurrency.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:Is the ICO dead as an effective fundraiser?  Why or why not?

ANSWER: We are concerned that ICO investors got the impression that many ICOs would be shut down after hearing the SEC’s position that they, along with ERC20 tokens, are all securities and should be regulated as such. However, there are two emerging factors that we think are positive. First, future ICOs will have more substance i.e. team of real people, a physical address and an actual product behind the white paper.

Secondly, a new type of fundraising mechanism has arisen in the form of the Security Token Offering (STO). STOs, unlike ICOs, allow a stake in the ownership of the company rather than just the token. Coinbase and Nasdaq are adopting STOs. They are more transparent and designed to meet compliance requirements, has a feature for funds recovery and complies with KYC/AML protocols.

So, the fundraising methods that the ICO model had initiated has evolved in step with regulatory requirements.Bitcoin maximalists won’t be happy with what they view as inappropriate requirements from the regulators stifling the energy of the ICO sector. So, even if the STO turns out to be just as successful for fundraising as the ICO, they will still regard it as a sterile compliance-ready token.

SportsCastr CEO Kevin April

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?

ANSWER: As sports-betting becomes legal in more states, blockchain will play an important role in powering the back-end of major sports-betting properties. This will be transparent to the end-user and will be largely be powered by proprietary stablecoins.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Which sectors – energy, e-commerce, gambling – do you think will have the biggest impact in the blockchain industry in 2019

ANSWER: Emerging markets will play an important role in ushering in mainstream adoption, with remote/rural populations in countries like Africa, Nigeria, Argentina and Venezuela leading the charge. In these markets, the ability for blockchain and crypto to remove gatekeepers by empowering the underserved/unbanked — combined with geopolitical instability and high-inflation — has created the perfect storm of opportunity for blockchain-based solutions to overpower traditional banking/fiat.

Sports:  When it comes to sports, I predict that all major ticket vendors will adopt blockchain technology for enhanced transparency to counter ticket fraud. TicketMaster partnering with UPGRADED was just the tip of the iceberg, and the entire industry is about to switch.

The Big 4 in the US (NHL, MLB, NBA and NFL)  and/or their unions will all release blockchain-based collectables based on the idea of digital scarcity. The Dodgers digital bobblehead give-away was first yet narrow – expect to see a wave of licensing partnerships that will breath new life into legacy industries including trading cards.

Supply Chain: Blockchain-based supply-chain tracking, especially with food, commodities and luxury goods, will become the standard. For example, IBM Food Trust was recently adopted by Walmart.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What event would you like to see happen in 2019?

ANSWER: Just as AirBnB is the largest hotel chain without any hotels and Uber is the largest transportation company without any vehicles, 2019 will see the first major banking institution that has no brick-and-mortar branches. Expect to see these to first solidify a foothold in the regions above, and then as customers see that they actually offer better services and transparency than traditional banking models, they will rapidly become accepted as a popular banking alternative. Atlas.Money is one company to watch out for.

As a result of above, “globalization 2.0” will begin in which the estimated ~two billion unbanked will emerge as a population that can no longer be ignored and they will give rise to entirely new markets and truly-international platforms.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Is the ICO dead as an effective fundraiser?  Why or why not?

ANSWER: In terms of ICOs, the future is clear: they will only be feasible for large brands, multi-nationals or established companies with deep pockets. The days when a group of smart engineers or a small team can launch a successful token offering are numbered. The resources required to succeed will continue to raise the barrier-to-entry significantly. This is similar to what we saw in the early days of microcomputers, video games and internet startups. This is both good and bad for the world of crypto. On the positive side, the caliber of projects introduced will increase. On the negative side, it will be more difficult for truly innovative ideas to break through.