Thoughts on Crypto and Blockchain/DLT 2019

Waffle-time

Crypto is a brilliant story to follow. It’s one of global reach and impact, potential fascinating disruption, fast-moving tech, price and greed, community development (plus tribalism and rivalry), law and order and sometimes even, real and effective, emergent utility.

Then there’s the social media sniping between mainstream and marginal media. You could also say it’s the generation gap again; the pompous and dismissive attitude from disapproving or frankly ignorant (or puppet) stalwarts who have been asked for their views about tech that young people are delving deeper into every day, and starting to use without thinking.

There are so many snooty FT articles and all sorts of journos who’ve decided to be trendy and put out an article with ‘impact’, still while having no idea of what blockchain is or how it works. It’s improving, but we’re still a long way off informing the public, and there are many dismissive or sensationalist FUD-ders who should really not open their laptops (or put pen to paper).

It really is like internet all over again, where the young had to educate the old in the tech, while the old had to educate the young in terms of business and economics. With crypto it’s even more complex, and they’ll be huge errors on both sides because of the multi-faceted nature of crypto. Right now the tech, idealism and utility is again in the realm of younger people to middle-age, while the token economics (and blockchain governance) ideas would be more deeply understood, and criticised, by the older and wiser, often without a very flexible approach.

On top of this, you have a whole load of coin disciples (bitcoin or bitcoin cash maximalists) who are inflexible to alternative cryptocurrencies, divisive, and still believing in the prospects and development potential of bitcoin. The trouble is, we don’t have a coin yet that can tick all the boxes yet, despite the trust in bitcoin, and now we have a host of projects on the scene that show how payments will only be one tiny part of what digital money can do.

Meanwhile, if you ask me, every ‘successful’ trader has lost a ton of time and money to get some success, and some have lost their souls. Traders know that price doesn’t reflect value, that old chestnut about Betamax everyone remembers (see wikipedia, under Legacy). But there are trends, and value that forms over time.

Sticking with what you (personally) want to use or explore, or what you find the most promising, should be the wisest course of action, when it comes to crypto, and any investment. If you can recognise or be part of a solid trend, underpinned by some solid tech, then the price won’t escape from you.

One, ‘ultimate’, all-in-one Facebook or online ‘home’

For example, if there was an ‘ultimate Facebook’: decentralised, (secured and empowered by crypto) with all the clean features for managing friends, family, present (and past) posts, and also features for a person’s (more public), creative or professional contributions, surely you’d invest in that today. But instead there are a variety of platforms, all different, with different token ideas, interfaces etc. and all focusing on certain aspects of sharing and managing our output and relationships.

It’s likely that such a ‘home’ will exist on one of these emerging blockchain networks, but DLT architecture has synchronicity issues that prevent blockchains inter-linking with others. Therefore, it’s hard to say which will become the biggest network, with the most flexible nature that allows it to adapt in the future. This is not to say Facebook will not still be around, but a decentralised network-based alternative, that governed itself with the best token economy will probably attract a lot of attention. The trouble is, Facebook has the ultimate moat: everybody’s lack of willingness to abandon all their friends and jump to another ship. That network was joined right at the start, and it never let go of us. The trust in that architecture however, on a network that size, is growing thin.

Bending in the Wind

That would be nice. Who has the time and patience to bend? Everything is shifting and in flux. There are folk watching the markets every second, and increasing in Bitcoins in the hope that Bitcoin price will overtake all others (allowing them to use it buy up the other cryptos). Risk, risk everywhere.

It’s really easy to become blind to other projects and when to pull out of fave ones. For those lucky enough to have enough cash to spare at this blossoming time, they’ll have at least 2 portfolios. The projects they love or can experiment with, and the projects they trade. A heap of crypto in hardy wallets earning staking rewards, inflation or whatever… plus a heap of cash on an exchange for actively trading with stops, for accumulation.

Just like flying a plane, that flexible mindset towards crypto is essential, so variables (and stop-limits) can be adjusted to suit the prevailing winds. You will miss many huge gains, and they will stare you in the face while you wait for your move to (never) materialise. But sometimes it does. The trick of preventing losses by moving to the right project and riding a new trajectory is never easy. It’s much nicer to have chosen that impending trajectory beforehand…

But what makes a good crypto project? Right now, it’s a race of experimentation, and survivors will depend on a network’s community, as much as the tech. Right now, Tronix (TRX) has been blossoming, at the same time as a rival blockchain claimed its technology was poor. There are many confusing signals.

Watching…

Below are some of the following things I’ll be watching in 2019,  partly for personal reference, and to explore in this blog over the year.

It’s nothing more than a quick-list of possibility, so you’ll have to investigate further yourselves. Let me know if you agree, or have any more ideas…

TEZOS (XTZ)

This big-backed blockchain is still waking up, and isn’t even on Binance yet. As ever, a lot will depend on dev, community, (on-chain) governance flexibility, decision-making and security. With the mainnet up and running, now is the time to start staking and ‘baking’.

Price in January 2019: £0.353855 GBP

 

BNB (BNB) utility token.

As the big daddy Binance exchange continues to grow, its token will also have value in its new decentralised exchange and other Launchpad etc. projects. It also has its own blockchain planned. As long as there are no issues during and throughout this development, the token will not take a beating.

Price in January 2019: £4.73 GBP

 

CHAINLINK (LINK)

Oracles connect blockchains to data in the real world. Pick up some LINK today.

Price in January 2019: £0.289611 GBP

 

EOS (EOS)

Some solid dapps on the horizon, as long as the network can resolve some if its governance issues. New incentives for users to vote should help reduce corruption. Advent of REX will allow for ‘renting’ tokens to developers.

Price in Jan 2019: £1.88 GBP

 

Other trends to watch:

  • Bitcoin: it may rise, it may fall, but do not underestimate the level of adoption that Bitcoin has achieved. Unexpected development and acceptance may arrive.
  • Stellar and Ripple: cross-border payment and progress.
  • Tron: like it or lump it, the hype train is pulling Tron forwards. Can the security and tech bear up to more scrutiny? Dapp development too.
  • Freelancing (dapps/sites).
  • Ethereum dev and scaling solutions.
  • Steem: can the strength of its dapps and community help it continue to gain users and become a little more user-friendly (and with tech that is improved for speed and scalability). If not, then it could be eclipsed by EOS etc. dapps.
  • Filecoin and IPFS
  • Telegram and TON
  • Photochain
  • Noia
  • Gaming – successful gaming dapps.
  • Real Asset-backed tokens, Propy, Berry etc.
  • Nexo – crypto-backed loans.
  • Buying stocks with crypto.
  • Red Pulse and Factom (data on the block)
  • Hashgraph and Radix – unique protocols that look to see DLT evolve further down the line. Help these networks start to scale up by joining now.
  • Stablecoins – backed and protected, they are trusted and very useful. But are they totally secure from attack?
  • Textile.photos

 

Note: These are all personal findings, so any comments, ideas, or corrections are really appreciated.

Published also on Steemit.

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