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.
Edward Lee, Director, Line’s Bitbox:
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Where do you see bitcoin heading in 2019 and why?
ANSWER: We believe that the current bear market will see the return of the bull. Not just for Bitcoin but for cryptocurrencies in general. We expect this to be a continuous cycle as the market finds its equilibrium. We’re seeing more projects including ourselves, with LINE’s digital token LINK, increase utility of cryptocurrencies to build the economy and platform everyone has been trying to . build. Hopefully in 2019, these efforts will help bring more stability to the prices of cryptocurrencies.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Have recent crypto plunges affected your outlook and/or plans for 2019?
ANSWER: No. We are still very much focused on building up an ecosystem where LINE users can benefit from blockchain technologies. BITBOX is just one part of that plan and our focus will remain on bringing more confidence to traders while increasing the value of LINK (LN) through adding utility functions for it.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What role will stablecoins have in the market in 2019?
ANSWER: The introduction of more stablecoins should help to calm the market more, as traders have a place to maintain their holdings in times of aggressive market fluctuations. We are beginning to see more stablecoin options in the works that are not only pegged to the US dollar, but other fiat currencies. This should allow traders in different markets to trade with more confidence as they can avoid sporadic fluctuations across cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies that could affect the value of their portfolio.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Which sectors – energy, e-commerce, gambling – do you think will have the biggest impact in the blockchain industry in 2019?
ANSWER: It’s still too early to say which industry would have the biggest impact from the development of blockchain technologies. We believe there’s still a lot more room for improvement in the financial sector that current blockchain technologies have yet to overcome. Online consumer services that would benefit from more transparency, such as review-based services and user generated content-driven services, would be one of the key beneficiaries of the adoption of blockchain technologies. That’s where we hope to contribute in building best-case services on blockchain in order to drive mass adoption of these new technologies.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What event would you like to see happen in 2019?
ANSWER: More solid products! More services that are actually used by users should be coming out and LINE will play a big role to it. The adaption is crucial so that this whole industry can focus more on the utility of cryptocurrencies instead of just the trading and speculation of them.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Is the ICO dead as an effective fundraiser? Why or why not?
ANSWER: LINE did not go through an ICO for the launch of our token LINK (LN). While the ICO model has proven to be a short-lived method for massive fundraising, we believe this model will continue to evolve to become more sophisticated. Potentially, we would see a hybrid model, comprising of token sales and equity fundraising, in the near future.
Ray Youssef, CEO, Paxful.com
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