Face the future.
Closing in on the last quarter of 2017, we can take a look back at the things that have happened this year in crypto and really breathe in the full effects and circumstances of our growing space. While no one could have guessed that crypto and its proponents would have gotten as big as they’ve gotten now, reality is seeming to set in for many of the people who originally passed up on the idea of Bitcoin and crypto being anything more than a Libertarian Cypherpunk dream. Thousands of new users per day signing up to Coinbase, scalability solutions such as SegWit being successfully implemented, and infrastructural answers (Sharding, Oracles) finally teasing some sort of real world use for this strange application of cryptography and computing.
Despite all of the progress we’ve made, the road for 2018 and beyond looks even more auspicious. As global hashrates for some of the top coins (including Bitcoin) solidify the project as a truly immutable network, let’s take a look at some of the specifics of what the next year in crypto is going to look like.
It’s a well known fact that many of the blockchain startups and projects that exist in the space today have been steadily at work perfecting their code and getting their crypto to be production ready. 2018 may well be the year of business adoption of blockchain technology on a much wider level – projects such as Ubiq, Syscoin, and NAV all present opportunities to existing businesses to leverage the power of the blockchain to greater results.
With oracles such as ChainLink being available to connect blockchain to the outside world, it makes perfect sense for existing businesses to move their infrastructure to the blockchain. In fact, several businesses have already taken this leap – take Science Blockchain or Red Pulse as examples, businesses that can truly harness the power of decentralized ledgers to up their business to the next level.
Business on the blockchain isn’t limited to infrastructure though – even payment channels such as Wanchain present limitless opportunities to lower costs of doing business while increasing speeds for many vendors. As an example, there are even recent (if as of yet unfounded) rumours that Amazon will begin accepting Bitcoin as a payment option. While this isn’t something to price in your Bitcoin calculations now, it does make a lot of sense for the company to go ahead and continue leading the industry with the acceptance and adoption of Bitcoin.
Exchanges up until this point have been massively useful to produce the necessary liquidity for traders to do what they do as well as attracting attention to the space. Without exchanges, most of the volume in crypto would simply deflate, and not be anything worth mentioning (outside of Ethereum and Bitcoin). The problem with exchanges however, has been their centralized nature.
With projects such as Plutus, BlockNET, 0x, Kyber, and many others, the ability to create a functional, decentralized exchange that can be appreciated and used by the masses is quickly going from a fantasy to a reality. A system of decentralized exchanges where there is no trust needed to give to a third party eliminates counterparty risk and allows crypto to be as decentralized as it truly touts to be.
I’m sure there will still be room in the crypto world for centralized exchanges such as Bittrex, but a decentralized solution will offer for many traders the safety and security of what the crypto vision promises. Expect several of these projects to get up and running in 2018, and with any luck, to garner large user bases and a mass migration from centralized servers to decentralized smart contracts.
Remember what we were talking about when I mentioned liquidity? Adding additional liquidity to the Bitcoin project adds even more value and assurance of the network’s staying power. There is clearly a massive desire from traditional and retail investors who are looking to break in to the Bitcoin ecosystem, and while solutions do already exist (Greyscale BTC), more ETF’s only serves to help the Bitcoin cause.
Expect ETF’s and crypto indexes to come to light in 2018 and take center stage in the finance world, as investors will be able to realize massive gains in an ever-stagnating stock economy.
Massive Growth/World Hedge
The thousands upon thousands of new Coinbase users betray a simple fact about Bitcoin – it’s an alluring concept, the ability to take control of your money, and people are willing to spend up to 5’000$ (so far) for a piece of the privacy pie. The lack of third parties controlling who you get to pay and how much, as well as when you can access your money, as well as the sheer efficiency improvements over physical “analog” cash makes Bitcoin one of the most popular trends since 2009. More Bitcoin ATM’s will pop up all over the world, improving publicity, while scaling solutions such as Lightning are implemented, allowing for even more user growth.
Another reason people are so interested in Bitcoin is the landscape of current world economics – no one is particularly sure, but the warning signs are all there, of a global recession that will cost untold trillions to participants of our economy. Some red flags include the low volatility of the stock market, housing prices returning to 2008 bubble values, a massive amount of Quantitative Easing (money printing) done by the sovereign states, as well as extremely low interest rates. Many experts are already hedging their positions in other assets, and particularly in the cryptocurrency space we can see the genuine use-case of “crash” security:
Floyd Mayweather, Paris Hilton, and DJ Khaled. What do all of these famous stars have in common? They’re all advertising ICO’s; while ICO’s themselves might not be (in the opinion of some) the most healthy thing about blockchain, there can be no doubt that these kind of publicity stuns only add to the mainstream appeal of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. It means that in a world where Cryptocurrency was largely misunderstood and unknown for a long span of time, it’s beginning to become accepted in the mainstream.
2018 will be the year of mass appeal and adoption in my opinion, and the global market cap of all cryptocurrencies is going to have another major spike at some point. Currently the crypto-sphere is valued at around 150 billion dollars, but this could go much higher given all of the bullish news and scenarios being set up for a perfect year for Bitcoin. The stars seem to be aligning, and the mainstream will definitely take note.
In a world where the public uses cryptocurrencies by and large, we might even see the rise of “designer” currencies, or massive status given to those who managed to attain certain coins. As an example, even owning an entire Bitcoin today becomes a harder and harder task with each passing moment, as the value of Bitcoin continues to skyrocket. This will add more appeal to these kinds of currencies and increase public appeal even moreso. As Crypto de’ Medici put it best:
Owning specific digital assets will be like owning a Lamborghini or wearing designer clothing.
It's all about showing off your status.
— Tulips de' Medici (@cryptodemedici) May 20, 2017
In conclusion, 2017 was a massively important year for cryptocurrency and Bitcoin – but 2018 is looking like an even stronger year still. If you’re in the world of crypto as of today, you’re still one of the relatively early adoptors of this interesting technology. So strap in tight, because we’re going to see fireworks in 2018. It’s a brave new world.