Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 2019 Predictions – Vol. XXIbr>
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.
Shawn Douglas, CEO, Amberdata
Block Tribune: Where do you see Bitcoin heading in 2019 and why?
Answer: I predict BTC will be back above $20k as institutions and family offices start buying coins at scale in 2019.
Block Tribune: Have recent crypto plunges affected your outlook and/or plans for 2019?
Answer: No. Our long term thesis has not changed. The survivors from this winter will be few but their companies will become the pillars of the crypto community.
Block Tribune: What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?
Answer: True stablecoins will provide transfer medium for exchanges and institutions to trade across exchanges and the fuel to drive commercial adoption of smart contracts in commerce.
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: I believe finance, logistics and insurance will be the prime beneficiaries.
Block Tribune: What event would you like to see happen in 2019?
Answer: Mass adoption of crypto as digital store of value.
Block Tribune: Is the ICO dead as an effective fundraiser? Why or why not?
Answer: I don’t see another wave of ICOs as there were too many bad projects funded in the last wave. I do see hundreds of new STO which will tokenize many new assets for global financial access.
Marta Piekarska, Director of Ecosystem for Hyperledger
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Where do you see blockchain heading in 2019 and why?
ANSWER: We in Hyperledger are seeing three key changes in the blockchain world. First there is a massive push towards enterprise-grade blockchain. And the enterprises are looking at real life use cases and deployments. There is much less of “just stick a blockchain in it” and much more of “What is my ROI in Blockchain?” Second, we are observing a slow merge towards more collaborative efforts. Blockchain is a peer-to-peer network and enterprises see the need to work together not reduce the effort and make the most of using blockchain. More sector-specific consortia are being built like We.Trade or The Floor. Third is interoperability, security and privacy improvements. That’s where our Quilt and Ursa projects are coming from: our ecosystem is definitely asking for more of this sort of solutions.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Have recent crypto plunges affected your outlook and/or plans for 2019?
ANSWER: No, Hyperledger is a collaboration of open source developers and enterprises to develop business blockchain frameworks and tools. We stay away from the cryptocurrency world and look at how can blockchain be applied to non-currency based solutions. This means that we are more focused on interoperability and solutions for moving data between blockchains than on the volatility of cryptoasstets.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What role will blockchain have in the market in 2019?
ANSWER: Blockchain is a technology, not a solution. So, we believe that 2019 will see blockchain being used in almost any industry ,but as part of products rather than being turned into products itself. We believe that there is a huge opportunity to build more interoperable frameworks and a community around it. While there is definitely space in the cryptocurrency market, blockchain will enter more and more markets: advertising, ticketing, certification, etc. We will see more investment but also more pressure on real, useful applications. But, for every day users, I think it will look like blockchain disappeared.
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: .I think that blockchain will change energy, e-commerce, ticketing, advertising and training. One of the most overlooked elements of the blockchain world is lack of good, objective training. If one wants to get educated in “blockchain,” they should attend a course offered by organizations like Bitcoin Community, Etherium Community, Hyperledger Community, IPFS Community, ZCash Community andIoTA Community., It is a very opinionated and focused world, and there are only a few places where people can learn about all the aspects on blockchain and make up their mind on what is the best solution for them. Another huge move will be combining IoT, supply chain and blockchain. Probably we will throw a bit of AI on top of it. Sounds silly, but IoT and blockchain are made for each other. They feed well into autonomous and self learning devices.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What event would you like to see happen in 2019?
ANSWER: In the blockchain world, I would like to see more focused conferences. The signal to noise ratio is still pretty bad: we do need places where everyday business people can get an overview of the ecosystem. We hope to start the trend with our Hyperledger Global Forum. I’m looking forward to the staple industry conferences like Consensus or DevCon. It will be exciting to meet the developers at our Hackfests and see where they plan to take the Hyperledger ecosystem. I would like to see more cross-sector and cross-industry eventsthat do not try to tribalize the space but rather bring the communities together and work towards better collaboration.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Is the ICO dead as an effective fundraiser? Why or why not?
ANSWER: The ICO rush has definitely slowed down. We are getting better at understanding the good and bad ways to do it. We have standards like SAFT papers that help to do good and more standard ICO raisings. Mostly, regulators are looking at how to protect the investors and make sure that an ICO is not a scam. So rather than saying it is no longer an effective fundraiser, it is probably becoming more reliable (though maybe not safe) way of investing. Without regulations, it will be a jungle, so I am happy to see clear rules on how ICOs should be treated (mostly as securities). Finally, the industry giants are saying that while the number of the ICOs and the money raised through it has decreased significantly, the quality of them increased unproportionally more.