Since my articles in August and September last year the world seems to have gone cryptographically bonkers! The market has grown – and subsequently shrunk – by astronomical amounts relative to the size of the market in early 2017. In August/September according to coinmarketcap the overall value of all coins in the market was around USD$100 billion, by 8th January 2018 it peaked at about $820 billion, since then it has been on the decline back to circa $550 billion at time of writing. Whilst, for the bulls this is disappointing, in reality the numbers still represent massive growth in interest, support and investment into cryptocurrency and its underlying technology. In August I wrote about an upcoming coin called Ada - read on for more tips ;-) - which was being created by The Cardano Foundation, it was duly released into the world in early October and established itself at a price of circa 2.5 cents a coin after initial price turbulence. It then sat at around that price until late November, by which time it was getting a little boring when other coins were ‘mooning’ all around. Suddenly trading volumes spiked and the coin started growing steadily in value, then it positively rocketed over Christmas to highs of $1.24. At this point I had friends owning well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of these coins based on a relatively small investment, for example a friend of mine (you know who you are) read my article on Ada, subsequently did a load of research and then moved his earlier Ethereum investment (which was doing fine anyway) into Ada, turns out he’d bought half a million ada coins, his initial investment was apparently $5k into Ethereum earlier in the year – that return in a few months is simply mind blowing when compared with what he would have returned had he left it in the bank!
The last couple of months have been exciting and terrifying in equal amounts, these things really are volatile! For me at least, the volatility is exacerbated by the ease at which it is possible to view price movements on sites like coin market cap, it can get very addictive. I think that part of the reason so many people are shouting ‘bubble’ is because of the ease of access to information about the value of the market, when people see growth charts like the ones we see right across cryptocurrency it can certainly appear as though a bubble is forming which must eventually catastrophically burst. However, if one were to chart the growth in numbers of wheels built in the years following their invention, or perhaps the number of lightbulbs produced once Edison had his, err, lightbulb moment, the graph would likely look similar (I looked for charts on these and couldn’t find any, if anyone knows of a source I’d be keen to see!) As you may gather I am bullish about the medium and long term growth of this marketplace. From my perspective as a London based tech recruiter in the financial space, I am seeing such massive interest and belief in distributed ledger tech that the technology surely can’t fail now that it has reached this level of interest and investment.
Since I started writing about this technology, I have had lots of people ask me about my opinion of the market and what is going to happen next, most of my friends and contacts are now at least interested in what’s going on in the crypto world – such is its march forth into the conscious of most people over the last few months. I am still a relative newcomer to this space and by no means a cryptographer so do not take the following as gospel, all I have is the intuition I have gained from working in the City for the last 11 years.
My thought is that the coins which are aimed at ‘privacy’ will become increasingly marginalised due to pressure from governments and sentiment surrounding anonymity. I don’t think that they will disappear, however the market will grow significantly faster where teams are building their own high performance transaction networks which are working towards integration into or extension of the world financial system. Some teams are aiming to create for example financial inclusion for the developing world or safer and cheaper payment solutions to reduce crime and transaction costs by reducing the need for the expensive middleman. This requires the people behind the platforms to actively engage with governments and the current financial system.
My feeling is that any notion of overthrowing the current financial status quo through the power of anonymity provided by verge and monero etc, whilst romantic to some is unrealistic.
I have been to various events and have heard various influential figures within the community talk about the main challenges facing the industry. Government intervention is often cited as an obstacle, in my view the sooner that governments are on board the better, this will likely be a painful transition for some involved in the movement but surely it is necessary? The actual main hurdle consistently referred to is technical, it’s to do with scale, the moment one team gets their platform to a point where it can process multiple millions of transactions per second and can get it integrated into the world, they will be in the driving seat.
There are many new projects in this space, I mentioned tips earlier, as ever, don’t take my opinion as investment advice, do your own research. However the following have been mentioned to me by what I regard as influential people in this space, or are projects I have come across which look valid and interesting; Xtrade.io, GEMS (mechanical turk project), Trinity, MediBloc, ArcBlock and Swissborg. It’s over to you to assess them and make up your own mind on what you want to do! Standby for an update on how these have done in a couple of months…
Remember to DYOR before you invest, HODL and don’t succumb to the FUD and before you know it; to the Moon!!! I am now a fully fledged crypto nerd it seems.