It is that time of year again when “wannabe” futurists try their hands at guessing what the future might bring. As we have learned from 2018, the cryptocurrency ecosphere is a fast changing tide of new ideas, new attacks from regulators and government officials, and, yes, new blockchain development projects and their respective Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
From our review of initial guesstimates, there will be seven major trends that will define the crypto industry in 2019. Most all of these have been in process for some time, but their tipping points may occur in the coming year.
Without any further adieu, watch for these developing trends to dominate the news:
#1: ICOs will bend to SEC demands for “security” registration
The ICO phenomenon has raised over $22 billion in the past few years with very little in the way of major accomplishments, aside from fraud and failed projects. Regulators have gone on the attack to jail the offenders, and lawyers are looking for the high ground. Expect many new issuances to be “security compliant”. If exchanges want U.S. customers, they will heed this trend, as well.
#2: Statutory efforts to define new digital currency regulations will progress
The resounding shouts from every global jurisdiction that existing laws cannot be used to corral the innovative spirit of the crypto world will finally be heard. The SEC, for one, will provide more clarity in its positions. There are also several major efforts on both a national and international level to reach a consensus on how to define and deal with the new world of digital currencies. Expect ongoing working groups to publish supportive whitepapers that lead to a global consensus.
#3: The Financial Industry, i.e., institutional investors, will join the fray
As one pundit put it: “’The financial institutions are coming’ is a tired narrative.” This year, however, may be pivotal, based on several initiatives that began in 2018. Bakkt, a futures desk and exchange, will be launched by the parent of the New York Stock Exchange in Q1 with major backing to accommodate the needs of institutional investors. NASDAQ is expected to follow suit. Fidelity Investments is opening its own crypto trading and custodial platform for wealthy clients, and several major exchanges are working with regulated exchanges to gear up for the wave to come. Those that resist regulation will fall by the wayside.
#4: Big Business will showcase major blockchain developments
Substantial blockchain projects have been percolating in the background at global banks and large business enterprises. 2019 will witness a broad-based adoption of several blockchain-driven ideas that will supplant exiting processes across the globe from cross-border payments to real estate, the commodities market, and supply chain management. Each of these projects will create opportunities in other markets, as well.
#5: Expect blockchain ICO consolidation, as winners and losers emerge
The phrase “consolidation” has been bandied about during 2018, but it is a trend that will be healthy for the industry. One reporter, who characterized the present as being reminiscent of the early 2000s, opined that, “Things always get interesting when the fast-buck fools flee for higher ground.” The incubation period is over. Projects that are getting better at what they do will move ahead. The stragglers will fail and close their doors or be acquired.
Cong Li, Head of TRON Developer Community Division, explained:
We’re getting better at what we do, and DAPP (Decentralized Applications) developers are getting better at what they create. I expect you’ll see many innovations in the coming months and years.
#6: Expect consolidation in the exchange arena, as well
The race will be on to become compliant with regulatory standards within the exchange sector of the crypto market, too. Newer exchanges will embody the software tools and operating standards that regulators and institutional investors demand. The competitive pressure will mount, as customers migrate to safer and sounder exchanges. Old names may shrink, while newer exchanges thrive.
#7: Titans in the Information Economy will strike back
The FAANG Empire will strike back with its own blast of innovative attacks. Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflicks, and Google will not sit idly by on the sidelines, while the blockchain parade passes by. FB has already been in the headlines about its intention to create blockchain-driven processes that can be leveraged against its 2-billion+ customer base. Amazon already offers a blockchain service, and many analysts are predicting that it will soon have a proprietary token to use within its private marketplace. One can only guess what developers at Google and Apple have up their sleeves, but we expect to hear news soon on those fronts, as well.
The seven trends discussed above should not come as a surprise to anyone that has kept tabs on the cryptocurrency and blockchain arena. Seeds planted over the past two years will soon sprout on the national and global scene, and, yes, there will be consolidation, as winners and losers sort themselves out. All in all, 2019 should make for a very exciting year in the crypto ecosphere.