Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 2019 Predictions – Vol. XV

Opinion | January 1, 2019 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.

Brandon Iles, Co-Founders of Ampleforth

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Where do you see Bitcoin heading in 2019 and why?
ANSWER: Bitcoin will maintain its #1 spot in terms of market cap because it’s the most recognized, the longest lived, and is a protocol that’s broadly understood. It will continue to be volatile, because it has a fixed supply that can’t adjust to demand. This volatility will reflect regulatory uncertainty, for example the SEC’s ETF decision, as well as uncertainty in other markets like the stock market.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Have recent crypto plunges affected your outlook and/or plans for 2019?
ANSWER:  The recent bear market has made everyone think very carefully about launch timing. Going live into a down market is risky, particularly for projects that have raised at high valuations.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?
ANSWER: Fiat coins like Tether and TrueUSD will continue to facilitate trading on exchanges by operating as base trading pairs or as temporary safe havens from volatility. 2019 will however be the beginning of the much bigger and more interesting story of crypto-native stablecoins. These game theoretic currencies–which don’t require locking up exogenous assets as collateral–will demonstrate the true potential of cryptocurrencies as government independent monies.
BLOCK TRIBUNE:  What event would you like to see happen in 2019?
ANSWER:  I’d like to see the broader community accept the store of value use case as an incredible breakthrough, and stop conditioning Bitcoin’s success on the payments use case. We should look to what’s next but I don’t imagine that Isaac Newton, who was famously obsessed with Alchemy, would be disappointed if he succeeded in creating gold from scratch. We shouldn’t be either, especially considering how large the market potential for a digital gold is.
BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Which sectors – energy, e-commerce, gambling – do you think will have the biggest impact in the blockchain industry in 2019?
ANSWER:  The Store-of-Value use case is still the most salient and obvious use case for digital assets and will be for the foreseeable future. This will need to grow by a few orders of magnitude before other use cases like e-commerce start to make sense.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Is the ICO dead as an effective fundraiser?  Why or why not?
ANSWER:  I think that the days of raising money through an ICO to create future value are past us. However, this should be treated distinctly from an initial token distribution event, which is more about getting a finished product into the hands of customers so it can be used.

Clarence Liu, VP of Development, Elastos

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

ANSWER: I believe there will be renewed confidence in blockchain in 2019, which will positively impact Bitcoin as a base currency or a benchmark for blockchain in general. The reason for the renewed confidence, in my opinion, is that the current bear market has forced investors to genuinely learn about the projects they invest in, and as blockchain literacy improves they will migrate their investments to the newest, most promising, innovators in our space. I don’t believe anyone investing in blockchain lacks an interest in seeing it succeed, so I’m sure they will reinvest. However, numerous bad ICOs have highlighted that a superficial understanding of blockchain is not sufficient to make sound investments.

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

ANSWER:  The recent crypto plunges don’t affect our outlook because we believe in the technology, and the progress of numerous projects, including ours in 2019, will likely offset the current pessimism we see. Also for our core development and roadmap, we don’t commit to milestones unless the funding is already secured, so we are never in a position where our key priorities, goals, and developments are at risk.

Of course, I have to be frank — market conditions have affected our plans, but it should be noted that any blockchain project that says otherwise is probably lying. We have different plans for developing our ecosystem based on market conditions and it’s likely we will have to take a more conservative approach for the near future. I am not concerned though, because we will always have the ability to invest in the most promising projects, that’s one of the benefits of being a global project, and already having had the time to build our network.

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

ANSWER:  When the payment sector’s adoption of blockchain hits a critical point in public penetration, I believe that will have the biggest impact. We are likely to see this happen in other countries first, especially in those with a more receptive regulatory environment.

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

ANSWER:  I would love to see a regulatory summit, involving politicians and blockchain industry leaders in the US, that results in some conclusive goals and first steps towards setting up some sort of regulatory task force. As it stands, the current regulatory uncertainty is having a negative impact on the rise of blockchain even in other countries. Even if some countries try to lead the way with regulation, if the US later takes a stricter approach, there are diplomatic concerns those countries may still need to be wary of.