Apparently the community sentiment towards cryptocurrencies is darkening, yet again, due to the recent price drops. The culprit behind these massive sell orders? You already know the answer, Mt. Gox creditor.
Google trends quickly show how the community is reacting to the recent events: people’s interest is as low as it was in May 2017. Pretty damn darn, isn’t it?
If you’re foraging for the slightest light of hope, let me help you: today we’ll focus on the good things, for a change. Forget price, forget volume and forget trading. Today none of it matters, as I’m here to tell you how far cryptocurrencies have come and what they'll potentially enable in the not-so-distant future.
Please, enjoy the ride!
-- this article is not financial advisement, simply my opinion and thoughts. Most of my personal savings are in some form of cryptocurrency so please take whatever I say with a grain of salt. Do not invest what you cannot afford to lose--
There are a couple of points we need to discuss regarding recent developments in the cryptocurrencies world, mainly in bitcoin and the blockchain but not solely, which can trigger a new wave of adoption not only from people in general but also by businesses and governments.
For bitcoin and its blockchain, we can mention the two most important recent developments, being debated by many great minds everywhere:
(a) Segwit adoption: with the successful softfork that happened during August 2017, which implemented segregated witnessing, it became possible to incorporate more transactions in each block as the transactions became smaller. The problem was that segwit wasn’t being adopted worldwide as the transition which had to be made by mining companies and corporate businesses (exchanges for example), was a manual activation. So businesses waited until segwit was proven to be secure and only then activation would happen. There is another version that says activation didn’t happen sooner as the overall fees will decrease for mining companies. How is segwit adoption looking over the last 30 days, at the moment of writing? Take your own conclusions!
(it already more than doubled. Couldn’t resist, sorry)
(b) The Lightning Network (LN): we can finally say it’s going live! It already has more than 1500 nodes connected in the testnet and people have already been making real transactions despite the warnings (I love these folk. They’re the real deal). A recent announcement came this week stating it will finally move onto the first mainnet.
Now Lightning Labs, the company behind the original development, is moving to the production environment, meaning, you will have the option to use off-chain payment channels to do transactions. You can now setup a lighting node, which will re-route payments to other nodes, and get paid to do that. Or you can simply start using it as a final consumer, who wishes to send money to another peer, or maybe make a payment to a business; you can count on escrow payments to be immediately implemented and used. Fees paid will decrease exponentially as miners will only register and validate final balances from the off-chain channels onto the blockchain.
I can’t wait for this to go Live, I’m so excited!
But if you think great technology developments stop on bitcoin and the blockchain, oh boy you’re in for a treat!
Other projects have surfaced and past ICOs are starting to bear some of the fruits. I will mention the four I consider top contenders to become massively adopted (I may be massively wrong, please beware):
1. Ethereum: Obviously the most famous project just after bitcoin and for a good reason. Not only is moving into PoS (although PoW will remain working) with its latest close-to-be Casper upgrade which is already being tested. Congratulations to the team, it seems they’re managing to pull out a rabbit out of a hat, this is, moving from one consensus algorithm to another isn’t an easy accomplishment, I guarantee you. Not only it’s improving its own network but due to the many projects around the ethereum protocol, it’s gaining loads of momentum. Let’s discuss some of them:
- The Raiden Network: it works more or less as the ethereum’s LN. In a recent update they’ve shown how it is possible to do machine-to-machine payments and implement smart-contracts in IoT devices, so that people can interact with them. You really need to watch this talk (if you’re not patient start on minute 10:30). Loredana, one of the main developers, did a great job when presenting the latest developments.
- Modum: this team is building an inter-connected supply-chain for big businesses. They’re working closely with the Pharma industry and already starting to show progress, as Thilo told me when we spoke over email. I would advise you to pay close attention to this project, as it can become one of the best if correctly implemented.
- OmiseGo: another project with the touch of Vitalik, the founder of Ethereum. OmiseGo are developing a decentralized off-chain payment solution, to make it easy for people to exchange value over the ethereum network. It seems to be going quite well, as the team is making loads of new announcements and have a quite interesting roadmap laid out for this year.
- Golem: although it has its own network to monetize computer resources of people connected to it, it uses the ethereum network for payments. They’ve released Brass in the testnet, a CGI super-computer rendering tool that allows designers and artists to quickly render their projects, for a considerably cheaper price than regular rendering farms. Absolutely epic in my opinion, how economic incentives are correctly applied.
2. Cardano: I know they’re still building their own protocol, but honestly the way they’re doing it already deserves its due credit. The idea is to have a fully decentralized protocol that works with PoS and it is easily scalable, even though it integrates smart-contracts. The IOHK team behind Cardano and Ethereum Classic is quite extensive in both knowledge and people. Look at the first Cardano wallet released last year, the Daedalos, which is quite robust and hasn’t had any major problems. The academic approach by the team is brilliant as they participate in many conferences and peer-review their papers. I personally love this project, especially due to the amount of activity and commits on github. Compare it to 90% of any other project and see the difference for yourself.
3. IOTA/Circle: Im mentioning both IOTA and Circle, as although I originally was more pro-IOTA, due to the recent issues with the wallet and the lack of clear response by the development team – and also because of that Microsoft partnership ordeal a few months ago – I started looking at alternative DAG projects, like Circle. Both have the same principal, just different teams and approaches. IOTA has been a great project to pave the way for other DAG currencies to appear, like Circle. David is the smart mind behind the first attempt to implement a feeless network. Hopefully both will improve along time and even each other, as we see so many of these projects using cool ideas, concepts and features from different projects and sources. The openness of the field is driving innovation forward in a much faster pace. I hope I’m wrong about IOTA and the problems get fixed. They’re still in a testnet, guided by the founding team, so I’m expecting to be put to my place in just a few months as more improvements, nodes and people join the network.
4. Monero: the first widely adopted privacy coin is still very much at play and recent announcements make me believe the technology and team are moving development forward. This makes sense for businesses, governments and people who do not wish to have all their transaction history available for the world to see. I understand privacy and I do not associate it to crimes or shady deeds. People are entitled to doing whatever they want with their money, as long as it is legal right?
--on a side note, I did not mention many amazing projects like Neo, Stellar, Upfiring, Status, Santiment, WingsDAO, Monaco or ClearPoll for example--
The most important feature of cryptocurrency will be usability, this is, when it becomes as easy to use as bank cards nowadays, things will definitely flip.
This is how I see it going (danger: pure speculation ahead).
- Regulators and Governments attack cryptocurrency and ICOs as it is an unlawful way of raising money;
- It fails and cryptocurrency bounces back, as it has happened during the last couple of years;
- Banks, Financial institutions and Payments companies attack cryptocurrency as a whole, estimating it is only used for criminal purposes and money laundry;
- People and companies ignore all the warnings as fees become much lower than traditional banking ones;
- Previous ICOs will continue to grow and expand its networks to the point traditional companies cannot compete with the new utility and securities business models;
- Governments and regulators start to adapt and produce new regulation that fosters cryptocurrency growth, as a new way to attract businesses and talent;
- People start to trust cryptocurrencies more and more, as more projects start to yield results. The losses on bad investments and scams will lower because:
(a) People become smarter and won’t fall for basic schemes that easily (learning-by-doing).
(b) Regulators adapt new regulation to meet criteria that takes into account the digital and transparent nature of many cryptocurrency projects (Government protection).
Again, am I being too naive?
Maybe, but this is truly what I think will happen eventually. Price fluctuations will become a normal thing, as people start to understand the value of everything is whatever the market determines, including money. When people say governments won’t have the power to control the currency, they forget even governments can (and should) create their own cryptocurrencies with specific monetary incentives. Want people in your country to use the currency you issue? Easy, just make sure it has a purpose and utility, meaning, people shouldn’t be obliged to use the currency governments decide to accept, but rather the currency that is most convenient to them. Also, if governments want to have more say and control over the total supply of cryptocurrency, let’s say bitcoin, they can go to the markets and buy bitcoin. As simple as that.
As a last piece of advice I would like to leave you with some great people you can follow. Check their content on youtube, medium, steemit and twitter as it will help you becoming a better investor and understand in-depth how this technology works. The only way to ease your mind when prices drop is by having accumulated knowledge on how this technology works, how it will change the world and how there’s no stopping it.
Please do check the below sources and I hope they help you as much as they've helped me:
Let me know what you think in the comments section.
Remember, the force will be with you. Always.