2017 was the year all eyes turned to digital assets and blockchain technology — spurring both to pop up everywhere around the globe.
In fact, there are now more than 1,300 types of digital assets with a collective market capitalization of over $700 billion — which is a higher market cap than some of the biggest banks in the United States.
And, these days it seems that everyone has a blockchain. Long Island Iced Tea purveyors of, well … iced tea, decided to move into the blockchain industry and changed their name to Long Blockchain.
So what will 2018 mean for the space? Here are a few of the team’s predictions.
If 2017 was the birth of the ICO, 2018 will be its demise
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has said several times over the course of last year that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are toxic and many investors will get burned — badly.
The first half of the new year will no doubt see this unfortunate prediction come to fruition. Regulators worldwide are already cracking down hard on many illegitimate, fraudulent ICOs and the people behind them.
It wouldn’t surprise us if we see a proliferation of lawsuits, fines, and even jail time for some. We expect this will drive significant volatility in the crypto space, but only in the short term.
Digital assets: the best versus the rest
We also expect this period of uproar to shine a spotlight on the best digital assets (tokens) with the strongest use case, backed by real, legitimate businesses. Digital assets that solve real problems will emerge as winners. Period.
Those that are nothing more than an experiment will scramble to find them. CryptoKitties is just one example of what we’ll see more and more over the next few months — half-baked attempts to find a use case for coins that never had a purpose to begin with.
So while much of the general global public has heard of bitcoin or ethereum, or even Cryptokitties, demand for alternatives to these will grow exponentially.
Which brings us to my next major prediction for 2018: We expect the digital asset market to surpass the $1 trillion mark before year end. And you know what that means…
FOMO and interoperability
Buyers that aren’t already exposed will have major FOMO — and dive in by the droves. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see new funds focused entirely on crypto funds spring up everywhere.
Last but certainly not least, there won’t be one blockchain or digital asset to rule all. Those that think there will be one dominant network or cryptocurrency will fall by the wayside.
In 2018 and beyond, the name of the game will be interoperability.
Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas also offered his thoughts on where the space is headed next year, read about here.