Blockchain And Cryptocurrency 2019 Predictions – Vol. VIII

News, Opinion | December 24, 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.

Michael Terpin, CEO, Transform Group:

I predict we will have one more bitcoin downturn in the next three months, which will be brief and severe, followed by a new, very slow, bull market that will take us to new highs of $50,000 or more by the end of 2021.

Bitcoin will remain the major crypto asset class for at least the next five years (so long as nothing breaks in its code and Satoshi does not spend any of his/her/their $1.1 million as yet unspent early coins). Craig Wright, who now claims to be Satoshi (with some credibility, as well as ample skepticism — he was certainly an early participant and has many bitcoins owned beyond the Satoshi stash) deployed the Bitcoin SV fork of Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin Cash itself was a contentious fork from bitcoin from last August to solve scaling issues and lower fees, which ended up being “fixed” a few months later upon the successful implantation of Segregated Witness protocol, aka SegWit.

Now all three sides — Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Cash Satoshi Vision (BCH SV), so named by Wright as it is the 0.1 version of bitcoin, which he says (with his Satoshi hat on) was perfect and should never have been altered. Is Craig Wright the Real Satoshi or Faketoshi? Original bitcoin purist or Machiavellian opportunist? The fate of BTC most likely rests in whether this is fact or fiction. And this is the main reason the markets are still unstable and unlikely to sustain any upward momentum until this is decided: win, lose or draw.

Finally, I predict that “altcoins” (particularly “Dapps”) – left for dead by many after their 70–99 percent drops will have a bifurcated future: the money grabs with no real product, demand or community (or hounded by regulators and class action lawyers, right or wrong) will likely fold up shop (voluntarily or forcefully) and their tokens will gradually drift toward zero (or their chains will be taken over and relaunched, somewhat akin to what happens with reverse mergers in the pink sheets).

If you’re a long-term holder (aka “hodler”) you can just sit this last piece of winter out and set your clock for 2020 to start paying attention again (or whenever you see a Satoshi-owned coin move anywhere). If you’ve never owned bitcoin, it’s a reasonable time of the market cycle to start cost-averaging in as a long-term buy at current prices, as well as put in buy orders for the ultimate “blood in the streets” pricing at $3500, $3000 and $2500 in case the final capitulation swoon happens. Just be ready to cancel those order if the Satoshi coins move.

Nelson Petracek, CTO, TIBCO

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

ANSWER:  The recent crypto plunges have served to scale back some of the “hype” associated with blockchain-related technologies, but the interest in the application of real-world use cases to the technology has not been greatly reduced from what we have seen at TIBCO. There is still a lot of work being done around use case investigation/research and technology advancements. The work is not as public as it was when the crypto prices were skyrocketing upward.  This is a good thing because it brings focus back to the business value and appropriate use of the technology, instead of losing these critical factors in the ICO “noise.”

  • What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?

o    It will be interesting to see how stablecoins evolve in 2019. The recent shutdown of the Basis stablecoin — and the resulting return of its funding — along with regulatory uncertainty make the role of stablecoins challenging to predict. I believe that the current popularity of stablecoins is driven by the desire of people to reduce the volatility associated with crypto in general, with the benefits of a decentralized structure. However, the current mechanisms for backing the coins with an existing asset still seem to carry a substantial amount of risk. These mechanisms depend on the growth of the platform, the performance of other cryptocurrencies (which has proven to be an issue), or on non-regulated declarations of backing via fiat currency. Until stablecoins can prove that these risks can be managed, I don’t believe that they will continue to grow and see high levels of adoption in 2019.

  • Where do you see Bitcoin heading in 2019 and why?

o    We will likely see some recovery in the price of Bitcoin in 2019 as the hype surrounding the various ICOs dies down, and related low quality cryptocurrencies disappear. People who are focused on holding value will return to the network, as new products are created. However, this could change quickly if governments move against cryptocurrencies in general.

  • 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)

o    Emerging government regulations and legal uncertainty could have a large impact on the crypto side of blockchain in 2019. Whether it is regulations/laws related to security or stable coins or any other new / invented coin “types”. As for use cases that could see success with blockchain in 2019, one will see evolving use cases in a number of verticals, including chain of custody / supply chain. This is likely to be the most common use case in 2019. Additionally, I suspect that the following verticals will experiment and work with blockchain in the coming year: government (e.g. “paperless” exchanges of value or improvements in areas such as identity), healthcare (e.g. revenue lifecycle management), transportation / logistics, and finance.

  • What event would you like to see happen in 2019?

o    I would like to see the deployment of a scaling solution on Ethereum, whether this solution is similar to Plasma or the Raiden Network, or even a similar variation (e.g. other gateway or sharing protocols).

o    If Ethereum can prove that it is a viable platform for sustaining the creation of decentralized applications / dapps, supporting ICOs (or new forms of financing / tokens), or a platform for executing smart contracts, it is going to have to prove relatively soon that it can scale beyond what is possible today.

  • Is the ICO dead as an effective fundraiser? Why or why not?

The mechanism/environment for issuing a ICO as per 2017/2018 is dead, but ICOs as a concept are not necessarily dead going forward. The approach of issuing an ICO on a whitepaper and (often unrealistic) idea is no longer viable. Investors and regulators demand more transparency, a focus on the actual value of the solution (with associated real demand and the potential for increased utilization of the network), increased quality / legal guidance, and a move of the general market away from the “next big thing” and the “fear of missing out”.  For the right situation, an ICO can still be an appropriate mechanism for raising funds – it is just not the appropriate mechanism for “all” funds, especially in industries that are not likely to adopt crypto or are wary of the business value blockchain technology can create.