There’s nothing like complete market disruption to get people mulling over the future. The status quo is never the status quo when it comes to cryptocurrency. Amara’s Law
states that, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.
” While I like to think that I am and always have been a long view kind of person when it comes to the effects cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will have on us, it’s sometimes nice to see what will shake out in the short term too. And by short term, I generally think two years or less.
Here are four trends to look forward to as 2018 continues to shake out weak hands and innovators find new ways to exploit and utilize cryptocurrencies to soften the edges.
Better user interaction with the blockchain and easier access points.
One of the more annoying aspects of cryptocurrencies is the user barrier. It’s way too complicated for the average user to use, much less understand. But that is changing, slowly. 2018 should see better wallets and software integration, easier tracking, and more user-friendly interfaces with the blockchain.
More paths into crypto.
The bottleneck into crypto is another consumer-facing problem. Only a few exchanges allow you to trade direct fiat-to-crypto pairs. That will be changing as 2018 regulations get solidified, more vendors will offer more access points. That means trading in and out will become a lot easier.
The rise of stablecoins.
Stablecoins are one answer to the volatility inherent in the crypto market. Huge volatility renders cryptocurrency a, ahem, challenge to traditional forms of value storage. Stablecoins seek to peg the value of a cryptocurrency to a stable fiat currency. Tether is one such coin, but its lack of transparency and alleged misdeeds are well-known. Look to innovators to fill the gap.
Institutional money will begin to buy in.
I’ve written before about how crypto’s total market cap is quite small compared to traditional markets, and that’s largely because the bulk of it is comprised of individual investors–early adopters who don’t mind the huge risks. But institutions, the big money behind Silicon Valley and Wall Street, have largely waited on the side. As the regulatory bodies get a handle on things and make more definitive rulings on how cryptocurrencies are meant to be treated, you’ll see more institutions throwing their hats into the ring.
There will be other things, of course, such as increasing usage of cryptocurrencies with traditional brick-and-mortar businesses as well as online, but I think these four items are significant in that they’ll have a huge net effect on the entire industry, leading to sizable changes in the landscape. By this time next year, it’s likely we’ll look back and remember what it was like back in the days of wildness and uncertainty.