Commentary: APAC’s leading blockchain and crypto experts on what to expect in 2019December 7, 2018
Max Kordek, Co-Founder and CEO of Lisk
“I can see the institutional attitudes towards blockchain continuing to shift in 2019 as rapidly as the technology itself. Mainstream business, traditional finance, and even government institutions will continue to both accept blockchain into their everyday practices, as well as shape its progression through usage and regulation. Developers and the innovative projects they work on will continue to advance blockchain’s capabilities, by creating boundary-pushing proofs-of-concept and new use cases. These, on the other hand, will continue to close the gap between the technology and its centralized competitors. However, I believe the disruption this technology will bring won’t be fully realized over the course of just one year. We’re dealing with extremely futuristic propositions here and there is work to do. We must strive to meet industry challenges, such as the lack of formal blockchain education and the need to keep attracting top talent into the industry. Most importantly, however, the blockchain industry needs to continue driving the technology’s research and development and share their cumulative knowledge through a strong, global open-source development culture.”
Kee Jeffreys, Co-founder and Tech Lead at Loki
“The biggest takeaway for 2018 was that development and research continued despite a sustained bear market. The actual use of cryptocurrencies (global transaction volumes) is on an upward trend despite a significant depression in price. There were significant technological advances throughout 2018, particularly in the privacy space – where we saw the first implementations of bulletproofs in cryptonote coins result in a 90% reduction in transaction size and a 95% reduction in fees. Now more than ever is the time crypto projects to be innovating, ultimately this is what will drive adoption.
In 2019, treasury management is going to become a very important aspect of all cryptocurrencies’ outlooks. Projects that raised at the all time high of the cryptomarkets and did not liquidate into fiat or diversify into stablecoins will now be feeling the pinch as their initial raise will have seen a loss of up to 90% of its initial value. We have already seen prominent projects in the space cut staff, with Steemit having to let go 70% of its employees due to the bear market hitting new lows. If the bear market continues, many ICOs will have to face the same reality. It’s unclear if this will stifle innovation, perhaps what ICOs need the most is not money, but the conviction and clear ideologies which often produce the most innovative ideas.”
Raphael Delfin, Head of Research at Brave New Coin
“Crytocurrency’s price comeback will be anyone’s guess in 2019, but what is certain is that infrastructure and adoption-wise, 2019 will be an even greater year than 2018. Regardless of the upcoming advent of tokenised securities, I see a promising future for utility tokens. Utility tokens will play an important role in capital raising for censorship-resistant, and distributed applications, with prediction markets and distributed computing being some of the applications already underway.
With regards to market saturation, both evolutionary and market dynamics will dictate the fate of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Crypto assets with the strongest network effects will certainly dominate the space, while un-differentiated assets could fade away. These are still the early years of a nascent asset class. Just as we have observed waves of price explosion and consolidation, I expect the number of crypto assets to follow periods of increasing numbers followed by periods of ecosystem consolidation.
2019 is poised to be the year of tokenised securities, meaning that the underlying technology might be the one taking the centre stage next year. However, it would be unwise to leave the first killer app, cryptocurrency, of the underlying technology out of the picture.”
Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core Group
“Proponents and detractors alike place enormous weight on market price movements to assert the success or failure of the cryptocurrency movement. By that measure, 2018 was a dramatic failure following an incredible 2017. The market cap of the entire sector is now the same as it was in September of 2017. What is often overlooked is that use continues to grow and innovation remains robust by nearly any measure. Bitcoin’s transaction count is now the highest it’s been since January. Dash – the project I support – has seen transaction counts double over the past year even as prices have declined. Silently, speculation is ceding to real-world use.
Nonetheless, speculation and price volatility abound in the cryptocurrency space, and yes, quite a number of questionable projects will fail next year. The same could be said of the dot com bubble at the turn of the century. Yet even as the market prices of internet stocks were crashing, internet traffic continued to rise and businesses continued to build better online experiences. I believe we are witnessing a similar story play out in cryptocurrency today. If cryptocurrency truly were a “flash in the pan” ponzi scheme, as many detractors would have you believe, transactions would not have continued growing when encountering the headwinds of a falling market.
I believe that 2019 will see a continuation of adoption, innovation, and exploration of new use cases. There will be a massive number of failures and a handful of incredible successes along the way. Many painful lessons, and many new models for success will emerge from these results. Digital assets are clearly not for the faint of heart, but they are aren’t going away as long as people value financial freedom, privacy, and independence. Needless to say, I don’t think cryptocurrencies are going away anytime soon.”
Roger Lim, Founding Partner at NEO Global Capital
“The future of cryptocurrency is certainly a dynamic one; despite current conditions, 2018 saw endorsements from traditional financial powerhouses such as Fidelity and Nasdaq, which will naturally provide a huge push for cryptocurrencies in the new year.
As institutional investors, high net worth individuals, and family offices continue to monitor and take cryptocurrency seriously, and with regulators working to improve standards and guidelines for adoption, I expect that the market will mature in parallel. If the industry can continue to shift gears and direct its attention towards this narrative of growth, I think it’s very likely that we will see a comeback in 2019.
In a bull market, there’s always a greater opportunity for quick wins, so naturally more cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based projects emerged in the market at its peak, with companies and investors acting in fear of missing out. However, the benefit of operating in today’s bear market is that, more often than not, projects now come with good intentions and understand the importance of developing compelling use cases, building strong leadership teams, and making continued improvements in order to demonstrate their validity. With competitiveness rising, the blockchain industry is bound to undergo some sort of consolidation and the projects best equipped with a “survival of the fittest” mentality are the most likely to succeed.
From an investment perspective, 2019 will be a promising year for blockchain as projects move away from a “blockchain-for-everything” approach to implementation. We will see a more sophisticated industry emerge across a variety of sectors, including identity solutions, gaming and, financial services, — one that has tremendous potential, both jointly and autonomously, for cryptocurrency and its underlying technology.
We will also see increased commitment to academia. Higher education institutes such as the University of California, Berkeley and National University of Singapore’s CRYSTAL (Cryptocurrency Strategy, Techniques, and Algorithms) Centre, are already involved in R&D and nurturing developers needed to propel the entire blockchain ecosystem.”
Oliver Carding, Co-Founder of Crypto Kaiju
“I think 2019 will be a more stable year for cryptocurrencies, I expect that some of the regulatory uncertainty will be resolved, opening the door to companies who’ve been interested but reluctant to get involved with cryptocurrency and blockchain previously. I expect that the major cryptocurrencies will make advancements in both on-chain and layer 2 scaling, improving their usefulness and reducing the need for altcoins, the number of which I expect to massively decline over the next 12 months. In terms of price, I’ve been in the space for over 5 years and couldn’t call it. I would hope that as use cases and capacity increases so too does adoption.”
David Wachsman, CEO & Founder of Wachsman
“By the conclusion of 2019, I expect to see some of these bets pay off. We will see consumer-grade dApps deployed far beyond the traditional borders of the crypto ecosystem and mainstream financial services institutions going into production with well-tested blockchain infrastructure.”
Robert Viglione, CEO and Co-Founder of Horizen
The severity of the crypto crash, or as many are calling it, the Crypto Ice Age, makes it more likely the bottom is near. Strategic investors who see the long run potential of the tech and a select group of projects in the industry will be salivating at these prices and accumulating on the dips.
There is a future for utility tokens, but such tokens will come from protocols with broad possibilities and large infrastructure, not so much on the niche utility-for-a-single-service side. The next bull run will likely be built on securities token offerings (STOs) in which regulated businesses tokenize large swaths of known asset classes, or even equity in small to medium size ventures that enter the crowdfunding space.
The dominant pressure will be less stable projects going away until we see a broad market recovery. This is already happening with smaller projects simply ceasing any development and closing shop. Some big projects are announcing large reductions in personnel and growth activities, so everyone is effected. Consolidation in terms of mergers and acquisitions would be an interesting new dynamic in this industry. Maybe in the next market cycle we’ll have more mature organizations that can use M&A to grow in such a downturn.
Bitcoin has already changed the world as a currency, that realization is just not so evenly distributed! What we’ll see in 2019 is continued development of a new type of public infrastructure. The private applications of blockchain technology will continue development, but expect rather limited marginal impact. We still need to make all these systems more secure, scalable, and better governed.