Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 2019 Predictions – Vol. XIII

Opinion | December 30, 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.

Jonny Peters, Founder of Dream Coin

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

ANSWER:  The situation is the same as 2000, when the Internet boom suddenly went bust. While all the speculators were saying things like “the Internet was a passing fad” more and more people and businesses were starting to use the Internet as a central part of their business. The same thing is happening right now with blockchain, and Bitcoin is only getting more and more solid.

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

ANSWER:  Not at the moment. Dream Coin has a branded security token tagged to a film. If the film looks like it’s coming together well, then the token will be worth something to investors. When the film makes real revenues token holders earn a royalty.  We use blockchain to make it work. Use cases for blockchain are only expanding.

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

ANSWER: It really depends on what they are stablizing. In the case of Dream Coin, we may have to escrow funds for a period of time while a film heads toward its minimum, so film producers will be keen to know that their funds are not susceptible to market fluctuations. There’s an example of a role for stablecoins right there.

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

ANSWER:  Security tokens. Investors need a better understanding of what they are buying. Predicting whether a real asset will earn revenues is something that investors have been doing for a long, long time. Blockchain and security tokens bring liquidity to assets that never had it before – like film!

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

ANSWER: I would like to see a kickstarter-type campaign happen where everyone buys in… and they find out that the only reason why they could do so was because of blockchain.

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

ANSWER: I don’t think it’s dead. What happened in 2017 was that too many of them happened and true utility value got nuanced. Real utility value does exist, and with that, utility tokens can still fund the creation of an asset. I do think that the token itself needs to be some inherent part of the universe that it’s funding, eg – a massive multiplayer game about growing things could make a ‘seed’ token that you need to purchase to be able to plant trees.

Chris Kline, Co-Founder and COO, BitcoinIRA

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

ANSWER:  I believe we will see bitcoin stabilize in 2019 and the next couple of years as both regulatory uncertainty gets resolved and mainstream institutional interest in the crypto space expands. I believe that the Intercontinental Exchange’s recent announcement about launching cryptocurrency startup Bakkt in partnership with other A-list investors, combined with the potential upcoming launch of the CBOE VanEck SolidX Bitcoin ETF, will both be pivotal in providing an “on-ramp” for institutional investors to get involved in digital currency. I predict that the the passage of both of the startup and the ETF will trigger a flood of institutional traffic that will boost Bitcoin’s stability in both the short and long term.

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

ANSWER:   Investors who are in for the long-haul should remember that investing in alternative assets is not a sprint, but a marathon. While cryptocurrency remains one of the most volatile asset classes, it also might be one of the most resilient: studies show that Bitcoin has crashed — and rebounded — many times before. I believe that crypto’s recent hit could be a big opportunity for a patient investor looking to buy the dip and diversify their portfolio.

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

ANSWER: I believe that stablecoins will become increasingly more prevalent in 2019. Because their value is tied to an extrinsic and identifiable source,  they provide an additional degree of stability for institutional investors looking to get involved in digital assets.

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: By integrating blockchain, patients, hospitals, insurance companies and others participating in the healthcare value chain can seamlessly share access to their networks without compromising data security, patient confidentiality or integrity. There is so much potential for the technology that internationally acclaimed institutions like The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are dedicating teams and significant resources to evaluating the biomedical and healthcare use cases.

Similar to health care, much of the documentation done in the academic sphere – from primary school through university – happens via archaic data systems that aren’t designed to communicate with one another, let alone external entities. Verifying academic credentials and transferring student records are no exception and are, perhaps, two of the easiest pain points solved with blockchain technology.

Lastly, blockchain shows potential in real estate as well. Beyond merely using cryptocurrency to purchase property, blockchain’s potential for reducing friction with transactions of all kinds and automating record-keeping tasks has significant implications for brokers and agents, local governments, investors and attorneys involved in residential as well as commercial real estate. The technology and its inherent transparency and immutability make it easier to accurately register property records and transactions, execute deed transfers and expedite closing times.

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

ANSWER: I would like to see the crypto startup Bakkt launch on its targeted date of January 24, 2019, pending regulatory approval. By combining an approved custody solution with a regulated exchange that has the capability to monitor cryptocurrency fraud and manipulation, I believe Bakkt will appear to institutional investors and be instrumental in redirecting the industry back into bull market territory.

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

ANSWER:   I don’t think the ICO is dead, it’s just regulated. We saw a mania surrounding ICOs in 2017, but as many as 80% were revealed later on to be scams. This year, the SEC has stepped in to provide a necessary level of oversight, and ICOs have to meet higher standards in order to remain in the marketplace. I believe they will still be utilized for fundraising purposes, but due to the more rigorous vetting process, we won’t see another burst like we did in 2017.