Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 2019 Predictions – Vol. XVII

Opinion | January 3, 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.

Alexey Malanov, malware expert, Kaspersky Lab 

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

ANSWER:  “Kaspersky Lab doesn’t make price predictions. But I personally like a proverb: the best future price prediction is the current price.”
 

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

ANSWER: “We think that besides cryptocurrency and international transfers, blockchain has very limited usage. In most cases where corporations or governments are trying to utilize blockchain it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Blockchain can be useful in three cases: first, if you are expecting an active counteraction by law enforcement or other forces. Secondly, if your users don’t trust you, so you want to be outside the solution and make it as transparent as possible. Finally, if it is just easier to use blockchain than a traditional solution.”

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

ANSWER: “I would like to see the fading of overestimated expectations from blockchain.”

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

ANSWER: “Despite the fact that most ICOs in 2017 failed to deliver product and their tokens depreciated, the ICO is still a very popular and ‘effective’ fundraiser. In 2018, the money collected through ICOs is 3-4 times bigger than in 2017. Many ICO projects are using blockchain hype and the fact that crypto investors have a lot of money, so it’s easy to collect money even for futile ideas.”

Dr. Robert Statica, CEO and President, BLAKFX

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Where do you see bitcoin heading in 2019 and why?
ANSWER: I think bitcoin will recover in 2019 but it won’t have an exponential increase in value like we witnessed at the end of 2017.
2019 will be the year of Security Backed Tokens which will have an inherit value derived from the securities backing the token. Bitcoin has no security backing of anything and its value has been purely speculative.
Bitcoin has enjoyed the first-to-market advantage, both in value and distribution. Currently, we have more than 1,600 crypto currencies of various values mostly given by the company or team behind them and by the idea for which the coin was created.
Bitcoin has none of that: no known team, no business idea behind it, no security backing, nothing. Yet, it is still the most valuable cryptocurrency on the market. Backed by roughly 1,000 people that own most of it.
I think Bitcoin’s value will steadily increase and will eventually find equilibrium around $7,000 and $8,000. I don’t see it reaching or exceeding $20,000, anymore. Competition & market appetite changed in one year. The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) died down and people realized there are other more interesting coins & tokens that show a true capability of making them a greater ROI.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Have recent crypto plunges affected your outlook and/or plans for 2019?
ANSWER: Not at all. We are working towards helping all cryptocurrencies, especially the new ones that are backed by securities to be most secure and safe from theft and interception. The outlook is even more promising as we helped governments create cyber security legislation for ICOs/STOs and companies operating in the blockchain-based payment or banking systems. For example, BLAKFX just helped the government of Malta with such regulations and baseline of cybersecurity requirements to be embedded in their laws.
Only when digital currencies are safe from hacking, digital counterfeiting, masquerading and 51% attacks, will the governments consider issuing national cryptocurrencies.
In 2019-2020, the entire effort will be in making all cryptos safe and hack-proof as well as in establishing relevant legislations for investing, trading and/or the issuance of such cryptocurrencies.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?
ANSWER: I think stablecoins will be highly-desired by larger masses and institutional investors as well as ecommerce providers and industry verticals. Without a high fluctuation in value, they’re more appealing for commerce to accept as alternative currencies for products & services
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Which sectors – energy, e-commerce, gambling – do you think will have the biggest impact in the blockchain industry in 2019?  
ANSWER: I think acceptance will primarily be in financial systems, followed by airline/airports and e-commerce/payment systems. I also think that insurance and health industries could greatly benefit from Blockchain technology with great savings in cost as well as the removal of fraud
Obviously not every industry or application is an ideal candidate for blockchain technology but any application that requires a distributed & trustless consensus, without a centralized entity or point of failure, could potentially benefit from such technology
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What event would you like to see happen in 2019?
ANSWER:  First, I would say I would like to see cybersecurity embedded in the DNA of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Second, I think it’s important for governments to start working with the community & industry to shape the appropriate regulations to help streamline the applications and remove the fraud & guessing from the industry.
Both cybersecurity & legislation must be present, if we expect the technology to become mainstream.
BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Is the ICO dead as an effective fundraiser? Why or why not?
ANSWER:  I think, right now, pure ICOs are done. STOs or equity Investments are the future of public financing. Until the fraud is removed from the process and until the SEC enacts proper regulations, for such investments (whether is an ICO, STO or equity investments) I think general public, at least in the US, won’t participate in such investments.
With that being said, I think the public should be allowed to participate in investments, if the risk is understood. Almost everyone is allowed to play the lottery, why not investing in a company, team or project of interest?
Of course, a mechanism should be in place to protect investors from fraud and fake, money grab projects, but there are quite a few great blockchain projects and group of people that actually work on ideas that will revolutionize secure systems, financial systems, payments, health care, insurance, airline operations, etc. Those projects are very innovative, have great teams behind them. They have a great chance of being very successful. However, this is just my personal opinion and is not intended as an investment advice or guidance.
It remains to be seen how the governments will react to such a revolutionary technology and what the approval & adoption rate will be.