Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 2019 Predictions – Vol. XVIII

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.

Prashanth Swaminathan, Founder & CEO, XDAT & Eleven01 Advisor

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

ANSWER: I am very bullish on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in the medium to long-term. As we have gone south in prices and with regulations coming in, this space will only evolve further and that should assist the price.

While I think we are still in the midst of a bear market and this may continue for a while I expect bitcoin to be in the range of $15k at some point in the second half of 2019.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Have recent crypto plunges affected your outlook and/or plans for 2019?

ANSWER: My outlook for this space is uncorrelated to the price. I have traveled to Korea, China, Switzerland, Singapore etc. in the last couple of months and companies who truly believe in this space are putting their heads down and building their products. I am firmly in that camp.

If anything, the price plunge will wipe out many scam projects and speculators which can only be a good thing.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?

ANSWER: Stablecoins have been the flavor of 2018 and I expect them to play a significant role until this space gets regulated and more banks or licensed payment gateways offer easy to switch from fiat to crypto and vice versa. At the moment stablecoins are an invaluable hedge to those crypto holders who still benchmark their positions to fiat.

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

ANSWER:  There are many exciting segments, however, I believe the biggest impact will come from the financial industry or banking.

ANSWER:  On a utopian level, a global regulatory standard for cryptos.

On a more practical level, doubling of the adoption numbers for cryptocurrencies, as I believe eventually the success of this space depends on mass adoption.

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

ANSWER:  ICOs have raised around $6Bn from Feb 2018, YTD, which is not dissimilar to the $6.2Bn that was raised in all of 2017. The last 3 months have been relatively quiet but so has the market in general.

I think ICOs will continue to be an effective tool, however, gone are the days where one could raise ICOs with just an idea. Going forward I only expect ICOs to raise money if they have the following: product, strong team, traction.

Lucy Wang, co-founder and CMO of Lambda

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

ANSWER: Bitcoin has a very strong cycle. There have been many peaks and drops for bitcoin, especially witnessed in 2018. After bitcoin plunged in November 2018, we felt that the probability of bitcoin in 2019 was going to see even fall even lower.

The price of bitcoin in the last round reached its peak in December 2013 and then began to fall. In January, it fell for the first time in 13 months with the biggest drop of nearly 85%.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Have recent crypto plunges affected your outlook and/or plans for 2019?

ANSWER: In the second quarter of 2018, the cryptocurrency market continued to decline and became very bad. Therefore, the financing of the Lambda project was initially priced with U.S. dollars and received BTC. In the same period, many projects were opened with ETH. It seems that the losses are very heavy. Although BTC has fallen to a large extent compared to the second quarter, we are still confident about Bitcoin in the long run.

There is no change in our plan. 2019 will be the most important year for the Lambda project. We expect to release the Lambda main network in the second quarter of 2019. As countries become more aware of data security and privacy, distributed storage will make great strides in the future. We will further increase our research in this field and have established in-depth cooperation with several top computer experts in China. It is expected that there will be significant scientific research and technological progress in 2019.

Of course, in the case that the overall market is not expected to be particularly good in 2019, the reserves have sufficient funds to ensure a longer-term development of the Lambda project.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?

ANSWER: I think stable currency will take on more and more roles in the future of encrypted digital currency, especially in 2019.

First, as the cryptocurrency market continues to bottom out, the bubble effect is very obvious. All asset prices are returning, and in the long run, 2019 will be a very good time to enter the market. So stable currency will be an important way for currency funds to enter the digital currency field.

Third, with the September 2018 decision made by the New York Financial Services Agency that approved two stable currencies, GUSD and PAX, a stable currency was approved by the government for the first time. To make great progress in credibility and transparency, we expect more countries to approve the emergence of stable digital currencies in 2019. This is a huge improvement.

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

ANSWER: We believe that the following areas will see the greatest impact and progress:

The Financial Sector: Digital currency is the largest application in the blockchain field, and it also comes with its own financial attributes. In 2019, I feel that digital asset management and quantitative trading will make great progress. In 2018, a large number of traditional financial hedge fund talents entered the encrypted digital currency market and they are actively improving various strategic optimization models. In 2019, this field will be further evolved and upgraded.

Data Governance and Storage: In 2018, there were many large internet platforms at home and abroad with data leakage incidents, even Facebook was not spared. Data privacy and data security are of concern to more and more users. It will become increasingly common for users to have their own data sovereignty in the future which will require a sufficiently powerful distributed storage infrastructure. Data identities and distributed storage corresponding to data flows will be an important area of focus.

Technical facilities: The technical facilities here refer to the public chain and various protocol layers. In the 18 years, the top talents in the global computer field have poured into the block field and the performance, security and scalability of the public chain level have been proposed. There have been a lot of improvements, innovative solutions and progress in technical architecture. The proven scheme and architecture will basically begin to piece together in 2019.

Games and Gambling: Games and gambling are the areas most affected by the centralized platform. The original rules are opaque and users can not control their own game assets. The worst part is that games and gambling are still the best way to bring a large number of users to the blockchain. In the second half of 2018, we have seen a lot of games and gaming applications on the EOS platform. I believe that there will be more development in this area in 2019.

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

ANSWER: In 2019, the most anticipated event will be bitcoin ETFs. The U.S. SEC approval of  Bitcoin ETF. If approved, it will be a big event in the field of cryptocurrency, meaning that traditional currency funds and larger institutional funds will be able to enter the market. Additionally we will see the following changes:

Ethereum: The upgrade of Ethereum was originally delayed in the second half of 2018. The upgrade of Ethereum was postponed to 2019. I hope that the upgrade of Ethereum will enable further application of smart contracts, not just for issuing currency.

Clearer Regulatory Policies: Supervision plays a very large role in promoting the long-term release of the blockchain industry.

The Lambda Main Network: Lambda is the most solid project in the distributed storage field. Our team first realized and sourced the POST space-time proof algorithm for developers. It is expected that Lambda’s main network will launch in the second quarter of 2019 to further improve  the blockchain infrastructure.

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

ANSWER: I believe that this form of ICO will not die. It is valuable and provides greater  innovation compared to original financing methods. However, the form of ICO will evolve. I believe there will be two main changes:

First, it will be more compliant with KYC and anti-money laundering measures fully applied. The project side will actively carry out in cooperation of national agency regulation.

Second, the extension of the project exit cycle. The previous project can exit as appropriate as long as it is very unreasonable. It takes time for the project development to build its ecosystem and with that the exit cycle becomes longer and more reasonable.

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