With such a horrid end of 2018, the crypto community is hoping that things will change for the better in 2019. Ihodl has spoken to industry leaders, CEO’s of firms that are related to crypto — like Changelly and Exante — to find out how they think 2019 will shape up for blockchain and crypto technologies.
Alexey Kirienko, CEO, Exante
A considerable price increase of bitcoin in 2019: "The highest point for bitcoin we can expect at a very positive turn of events by year-end of 2019 is around $20,000. The most realistic value, however, is around $8,000."
The emergence of ETFs on bitcoin: "The decision that the SEC will take will be instrumental in determining the future of trading on the crypto market."
The arrival of institutional money: "Large corporations, banks, and funds will be the drivers of the crypto economy in 2019."
The advent of security tokens: "Security tokens are determined to be the next evolution of the crypto market as they will provide guarantees against volatility in the form of asset backing."
The advent of cloud mining: "Mining rigs are becoming too expensive and unprofitable, while cloud mining run by large companies offers considerably more convenient alternatives with sometimes infinite contracts."
Key events to look out for: "The transition from the PoW to the PoS algorithm for networks, such as ethereum. Power requirements, scalability issues, and the need for more bandwidth, along with the inseparable element of greed, will play key roles in ensuring this transition."
Final Thought: "Full decentralization is a fantasy, a phantom that will always remain unattainable if any semblance of accountability or regulation is to exist on the crypto market."
Ken Kavanaugh, Co-founder at Moon Assist
"We're entering a new phase in the development of the crypto trading sector. As a result of SEC enforcement actions, the industry's barriers are rising, which will leave existing under-funded non-compliant exchanges, of which there are hundreds, with 3 options in 2019:
1) raise money in order to become a compliant broker-dealer with ATS (alternative trading system) license to satisfy regulators (investors will flock to the first movers and to quality so this won't be easy for hundreds of the exchanges);
2) avoid the stress & fiscal struggles in becoming compliant by selling the business;
3) shut down, voluntarily or involuntarily."
Final Thought: "The early 2000s were a period of consolidation as a result of the bust that followed the Web 1.0 bubble. I'll bet you $100 bucks we'll see this same dynamic in 2019 with regard to the ICO boom/bust. It's an organic response to these cycles."
Jessica Higgins, JD MBA BB, award-winning author, public speaker, and researcher
"There are many concerns over cryptocurrencies in use right now. For the average person, ‘what is crypto’ ranks top of that list. We see crypto volatilities, ICOs, new currencies, and the entire thing feels pretty science fiction.
What I do know, is we are in our third major technological revolution. There was the personal computing revolution, the communications revolution (Wifi!), and we are now in the storage revolution. This is precisely where big data falls, and it is powered by blockchain technology.
What does this all have to do with cryptocurrencies? The answer is: we don’t know. The currencies here today may be gone tomorrow, as new currencies are launched and consumer trust in primitives disappears. On the other hand, as consumers become more comfortable and safe with bitcoin, etherium, and others, they may well continue forever."
Final Thought: "There is no question that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Whether ‘today’s’ cryptocurrencies survive is the only question. What I do know, is that ‘ease of use’ is everything, and I am excited to watch this new payment platform launch."
Kyle Asman, partner and co-founder at BX3 Capital
"We will see a US legislative bill in 2019 that will advocate for light-touch regulation, and will place the authority to regulate the digital asset markets under a certain regulatory body. The positive regulation and clarity coming to the U.S. will set the stage for further institutional adoption, approval for a crypto-backed ETF, and the rebound of prices in 2019."
Eric Brown, Founder and CEO of Aliant Payment Systems
"I predict that blockchain payment technology will continue to advance, and be one of the biggest trends in 2019. In 2018 we saw merchants from many industries begin offering cryptocurrency payments, and the technology has come a long way in a short amount of time."
"The technology will be used in government, especially with taxes (this is already being implemented), private sector, and medical, as well as aerospace. Blockchain will also become commonly used for everyday transactions, including home and car titles, legal contracts, government contracts, retail inventory and distribution. I could go on and on."
Crystal Stranger, EA, author of ‘The Crypto Island Tax Guide’
"2019 on the crypto side will be the year of the STO (Security Token Offering), and this will extend far beyond the types of companies who used ICOs in the past. You will see many token offerings by more established companies who will be using the STO structure to raise funds rather than an IPO or Series B/C offering."
"On the tech side, I expect 2019 to be the year of niche protocols. This is because the generalized protocol platforms always have a tradeoff between scalability and security or decentralization. But if you restrict the types of activities on a platform to a certain type of company, there is less of a tradeoff, as the blockchain can be optimized for the type of usage."
James Song, CEO at Shadow Foundry
"Rampant market manipulation will continue to oppress cryptocurrencies in the near-term, and I would not hold any digital tokens with the expectation that returns will be acceptable. There may be three or four price spikes throughout 2019, as is usual when manipulation activity changes strategy, but they will be followed by hard, steep drops in price."
"Some of the problems we see going forward are foreign interference through IP-based attacks on blockchains in the United States and elsewhere. I think it's an immense issue that will be talked about much more in 2019 — that U.S. patent applications for blockchain technologies increased at least 400% in 2018, and most of those applications came from Chinese companies, but Shadow Foundry's ramping up its development work and I think we can do at least 50 filings for our inventions in response. The war for blockchain supremacy will get real in 2019."
Ian McClarty, CEO at PhoenixNAP Global IT Solutions
On Blockchain: "The most significant use case of blockchain is going to be as a tool for authentication, authorization, and encryption — not crypto."
"Fundamentally, until blockchain is tied to a monetary policy of a nation, there is no way it’s going to gain mass adoption. It’s a hobbyist technology at best. Monetary policy is how economies exist, and as long as blockchain (the currency) side tries to position itself outside of that policy, it will always meet roadblocks to adoption."
Ryan Fyfe, CEO & Co-Founder at workchain.io
"Stablecoins will continue to play a growing role in the crypto ecosystem as people want the benefits that come with crypto — decentralization, speed, security — without the volatility. We'll continue to see accelerated adoption in use-cases where crypto is easily and obviously superior to Fiat, cross-border payments for example."
"Hype will continue to deflate and the buzz surrounding ICOs will die as the market matures and moves to a more traditional equity funding model similar to the mainstream tech world. Organic demand based on platform utility will eventually push the industry beyond the death of hype-driven valuation and set it up for long-term viability."
Jan Sammut, ICO Launch Malta
"Security token offerings will grow in popularity, as they allow asset owners to fractionalize illiquid assets and create a market (and price discovery) for esoteric physical assets (such as niche art, collectible wines etc). Factionalizing these assets via the blockchain democratizes the investment market, and allows retail investors to participate in opportunities which they would have otherwise be priced out of."
"90% of current crypto companies will fail. This is a positive development, as just like during the dot-com bubble, there are thousands of companies in the sector peddling nothing but vapourware. The ones that survive will be the amazons and googles of the crypto world. Prices will start to rise in Q4 2019 just ahead of the next BTC halving."
George Waller, CEO at BlockSafe Technologies
"Enterprise IT and data professionals are increasingly looking at blockchain technology for its decentralized, cryptographic and immutable qualities. As a result, 2019 will no doubt witness a rise in the adoption of blockchain technology by enterprises globally.
However, as the implementation of blockchain technology scales, so will the level of sophistication that hackers employ to break into this supposedly secure technology. Hackers are already stealing $9 million every day from individual crypto wallets and have already developed techniques to install malware onto enterprise blockchains.
In addition, it will be a year that will continue to see more intervention from regulatory bodies with newer ways in place to monitor and control bad players in the blockchain space."
Ilya Bere, CEO at Changelly
Stablecoins: "Stablecoins became a trend back in 2018, and in 2019 this trend is likely to increase. There will probably appear new stable actives backing new stablecoins. Chances are that crypto investors will be burdened with new regulations to avoid a repetition of the situation with Tether."
Security tokens: "After the first wave of ICO and a massive number of scam projects using the ICO scheme as an opportunity for easy money making, the emergence of STO became a breath of fresh air for many crypto enthusiasts."
AML and KYC policy strengthening: "There is still a lot of controversy around the AML and KYC subject. However, it must be recognized that only the observance of a clear AML policy and KYC particular implementation will provide us with a healthy environment for the crypto industry’s further development."
Mass adoption (as we all hope): "Perhaps, it is still too early to talk about global crypto mass adoption. However, using the example of Japan and Turkey, we can observe how countries with entirely different economies and legislations open their doors to the wonderful world of blockchain and crypto."