The following is an exclusive contribution to CoinDesk’s 2018 Year in Review.
2018 year in review
Blockchain moves so quickly that last month’s news sometimes seems like ancient history. But rather than brooding about our crypto winter, this month I’ve been brooding about the first days of blockchain.
We’ve come an extended way, but still have far to travel . In 2012, I launched Deloitte’s blockchain practice with two friends, and therefore the following year, I moderated a panel at the Money2020 conference. Blockchain was so new it didn’t even have a correct name yet: the panel I led was called “Bitcoin 2.0.”
However, we knew more would come from the industry. Charlie Lee, David Johnson, and Taariq Lewis were talking about self-governing organizations, about digitized commodities, and about decentralized business models. Most of the space was completely lost. i used to be energized.
As we close 2018, one among the key lessons is that the foremost important stories in cryptocurrency aren’t always those with the loudest headlines. Despite being the middle of the many discussions, the “crypto winter” doesn’t strike me because the key story of 2018. What do i feel was more important?
First, the increase of “other” tokens — security tokens, non-fungible tokens, stablecoins, and equity tokens demonstrated the continued vitality of the blockchain community. That one year, and a troublesome year at that, saw numerous diverse and innovative products proves the enduring value of the blockchain.
Second, significant investments in cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure from traditional financial institutions and new technology companies mean we’ve much stronger foundations to create on: wallets, trading technologies, custodian solutions, exchanges, broker solutions, and more.
Finally, the regulatory environment. While a particular strain of crypto enthusiast might believe regulation sounds a death knell for blockchain, i feel this viewpoint is misguided on two counts. First, regulation removes and discourages the bad actors who have done such harm to blockchain’s reputation. Second, regulation proves that blockchain is here to remain .
There’s no got to regulate a fad; it’ll expire well before a bill reaches committee. an everlasting new asset, however, needs an area during a legal framework. Legislators have decided that blockchain is growing, not evaporating.
What do I expect to ascertain in 2019? Given the speed and volatility of cryptocurrency, you’ll need to allow me some margin of error, but here’s what I see coming within the next 12 months:
Investing at the bottom: If we haven’t reached the solstice of the crypto winter yet, we’re very close; brighter and warmer days are coming soon. the first days of 2019 are the time to form bets on the simplest tokens and therefore the best teams. I call it the new Rockefeller moment.
A new Howey test: The SEC’s increased scrutiny of blockchain has meant that blockchain proponents have had to find out about SEC v. W.J. Howey Co., the 1946 Supreme Court case that defined securities in U.S. law. I expect the courts to promulgate a replacement test for blockchain, which can let investors place their money with greater confidence.
Better core tech: it’s going to have taken a market to drive now home to some, but blockchain isn’t about getting rich tomorrow. we’d like to pay more attention to improvements in performance and scalability and pay less attention to new projects. #BUIDL is that the new #HODL.
Decentralized business models: this might be the toughest of my predictions to imagine. In 2019, we’ll see the increase of decentralized businesses in banking, capital markets, payments, insurance, supply chain and other fields. subsequent Google or Amazon could make its appearance, but they’ll be very different: They won’t be trying to find an area on Nasdaq, because they’ll be generating network value quite equity value.
A killer consumer app: While blockchain conferences were the killer app of 2018, we’re still trying to find the merchandise which will bring blockchain’s value to the non-tech, non-business consumer audience. I’ve tried a couple of apps that alleged to be killer apps, but the experience was so bad i’m wondering if the developers thought killer apps were alleged to kill their users. I survived, and I’m hoping for more and better next year.
To return again thereto long-ago Money 2020 conference: it’s rare to be chatting with one visionary, much less three. Most of the ideas that Charlie, David and Tariq discussed that day were so forward-looking that they were, at the time, dismissed as impossible or ignored as incomprehensible.
Today, many of their ideas became implementations. Tomorrow, more will follow.
I’m starting to wonder if those pie-in-the-sky predictions for 2020 were, in fact, too conservative. Who knows what we’ll see next year? Sometimes, good ideas arrive too early. Time and again, I’ve seen that the difference between genius and stupidity, between a project which will succeed versus one that’s premature, is eighteen months.
Have an opinionated combat 2018? CoinDesk is seeking submissions for our 2018 in Review. Email news [at] coindesk.com to find out the way to become involved .