Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 2019 Predictions – Vol. III

Opinion | December 23, 2018 By:

We continue 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.

Miles Paschini, co-founder, B21

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

ANSWER:  I see a foundation being reached in Bitcoin, a bottoming out if you will, followed by institutional market entrance. I believe we will see more institutional products finally make it to market, including ETFs which will open up a larger opportunity for new investment. I also think we will see much less noise in the way of forks as we saw in the latter part of 2018, I think the major divorces over what Bitcoin should be have taken place and the market will now tell which version will dominate.

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

ANSWER: In the very short term yes, I think all people who are “all in ” with crypto are feeling the pain of the bear market, but long term, I think we are in a perfectly normal cycle of invention, religion, resistance, productization, adoption, scaling. I think in 2019, we will see major adoption in gaming, finance and computing.

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

ANSWER: Stable coins will reduce friction that exists in trading and liquidity and create a more fluid market. Stable coins will also have the opportunity to destroy remittance markets that exists today by creating low cost, low friction cross border  use cases.

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

ANSWER:  The winners in 2019 should be finance, settlement and remittance products as well as gaming/gambling. As a result of adoption in these sectors, the underlying blockchains like Ethereum and EOS and possible a variant of Bitcoin will benefit as these applications will be build on these chains.

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

ANSWER: Less blockchains/forks and more products that everyday people can use and say, hey this new blockchain is better than the old version I used to use. Even better consumers don’t know the difference, they just choose the product because it is better than the incumbents. Selfishly, I would like to see apps like our B21 make it to market to give consumers at large an easy way to invest in the future of blockchains, it is still too difficult and too technically oriented, we will fix that though.

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

ANSWER: At this time, I do not think so, but that is a market condition statement and not a structural statement. Whether it is an ICO or STO or something new, the idea of tokenizing via utility or security based product will revolutionize capital markets and liquidity in assets. I think we will see more clear guidelines from regulators in 2109 and we will see prior bad actors pay for their actions, but the “ICO” concept will evolve and be a major force in capital markets.

Mark Jeffrey, CEO of Guardian Circle 

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

ANSWER:  Bitcoin will eventually rebound and ascend to even greater heights in terms of price, even staggering heights. I have absolutely no doubt about that. We’re simply in a down period right now, not unlike the dotcom crash. The internet was eventually greatly valued, even more so than during the 90’s dotcom boom — and so it will be with bitcoin. The tricky part is predicting when. However, the crypto ascent and crash was much, much faster than the dotcom boom and bust, which suggests that the cycles are now compressed. So that would seem to indicate a faster resurgence for bitcoin, possibly even in 2019. If you map the dotcom boom and bust graph against crypto, compressing crypto for the now-faster timelines, the graph shows a steeper plunge for crypto in the near term — but then predicts a full recovery to former peaks by March 2019. That seems early to me — but something along those lines also seems very likely. The dotcom period was largely a US-based phenomenon, whereas crypto is worldwide. This will probably also help it recover its footing faster.

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

ANSWER:  Short term, yes. We’ve tightened our belts and hunkered down for a slower, longer haul than we were hoping for. Long term, no. Our outlook and core mission remains exactly the same.

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

ANSWER: Our hope is they will provide a viable on-ramp for fiat-to-app-tokens. Some banks have no problem providing stablecoin-as-a-service: they will process the fiat payments and integrate with your coin via API. However, they will not do this directly for an app token. If there is an easy way to go from stablecoin to app token provided by a third party exchange, then this combination could be used to provide a viable fiat onramp into the app-based crypto world. Much remains to be worked out, but if the building blocks are there, someone will assemble them eventually.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Which sectors – energy, e-commerce, gambling – do you think will have the biggest impact in the blockchain industry in 2019?  (Feel free to choose any other sectors)

ANSWER: In the EOS ecosystem, gambling has surged to the forefront in a very big way very quickly. This is because of the sub-second transaction speed of EOS — twitch-speed dice-rolls are possible. Other non-gambling gaming applications have noticed this, and are now building for EOS-first. Gambling and other asset-based, Farmville-like games will be the first blockchain apps we see in 2019. The other big sector is supply-chain. Having the ability to track absolutely everything in a decentralized way could lead to massive cost-savings. For example, the recent e-coli lettuce outbreak origination point could have been narrowed down to a certain row on a certain farm — and that specific crop destroyed, instead of all lettuce everywhere.

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

ANSWER: I’d like to see the United States following Wyoming’s lead in creating an entirely new asset-class for utility tokens. Wyoming invented the LLC, so they have proven leadership in regulation innovation: where they go, others eventually follow. This would open the doors to blockchain innovation in the United States, instead of driving it overseas, which is the case right now.

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

ANSWER:  It is dead in the United States and for US participants at the moment. However, it’s NOT dead overseas. In December 2018, the NEO ecosystem saw Spotcoin (based in Tbilisi, Georgia) close a $14M token sale, and nOS (Amsterdam) close a $2.5M token sale. Blockchain innovation seems to be in much better shape worldwide. It’s kind of a ‘reverse Silicon Valley’ — it’s better to be anywhere but the United States at the moment. There’s a big risk that the next wave of great tech companies — the next Googles, Amazons, Ubers — will happen everywhere but here. There are many veteran voices from the last wave in Silicon Valley raising this warning right now.