2018 was a roller coaster ride in the world of the blockchain. Cryptocurrencies skyrocketed at the beginning of the year, only to tank at the end, with a complete uncertainty looking forward. Major technology providers like IBM, Oracle, and Amazon, got in on blockchain-related services. Other companies have started trying out the technology, establishing the first use cases and proofs-of-concept for the technology. After such an exciting year, what can we expect next?
1. Asia Rising
While a strict regulatory environment might still repress China, other Asian countries seem to be taking a very open and innovative approach towards blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Thailand has set out to be the leading regional blockchain hub: the government is very outspoken and welcoming towards blockchain initiatives. We see a growing interest from South Korea, where the government is completing its blockchain-based voting system already this year. But there are also other countries like Japan and Singapore, who are open to new technology, and with clear regulations, they can offer an excellent base to attract blockchain businesses.
2. Proofs-of-Concept in Business
In 2018 some innovative companies were already dabbling around with blockchain, completing their first try-outs in operation. Two thousand nineteen will not bring mass adoption yet, but we can expect more companies developing use cases and prototypes of blockchain in an enterprise. In 2018 it seemed that blockchain was a one-size-fits-all solution to all problems; in 2019 we will see a clearer image of which situations will blockchain enhance, and where will other technologies take the lead. We also expect the rise of conglomerates overarching organizations powered by blockchain technology- such as supply chain and financial transaction networks.
3. Scalability and UX Development
In 2018 we needed to realize that we do not have the technology ready for mass adoption yet. Firstly, the scalability issue, which became evident at the end of 2017 with Cryptokitties almost crashing the Ethereum network, has still not been solved effectively. Scalability and performance hurdles affect both enterprise and public adoption. Promising solutions, like sidechains or innovative platforms, are expected to become more sophisticated and adapted in 2019. Secondly, many blockchain applications now have a mostly complex user interface, which is far from intuitive for the average, non-tech user. In 2019 we expect to see solutions, which are capable of mass adoption both in technology and design.
4. Governments Catch Up
The regulatory environment has been nothing but exciting in 2018, and we are in for a ride in 2019. We can expect to see the SEC in the U.S. continue their hunt for ICOs disguised as security sales while developing a framework for crypto as an investment class. European countries like Switzerland, Malta, Lithuania, and Lichtenstein will find competition around the world as more and more states will push for more favorable regulations around blockchain and crypto-ventures. Malaysia, for example, is already planning in Q1 to review its crypto and ICO regulations. Lastly, governments will start to explore what blockchain technology can do for them and look for possible use cases.
In 2019 we hope to finally see a separation between cryptocurrencies and blockchain for the general public. As of now, many think the two are interchangeable concepts, and associate blockchain with volatile crypto-market and shady transactions. Because of this misconception, many stay away from blockchain technology as a whole. In 2019 we expect better education from the industry, which will open the minds of many towards the possible uses of blockchain beyond the financial market.
Looking back at 2018 now, it was impossible to pretend all of the twists and turns in the market when we started this year. We expect an equally exciting year for 2019, and while we believe these predictions will stand their ground, the market might trick and turn. One thing is for sure: Blockchain Flash News will be here to update you about whatever happens in the blockchain market in 2019.