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Four Big Things

Welcome to The Block. I’m Jeremiah Lewis, crypto-enthusiast and early adopter. This is a twice-weekly

The Block

April 2 · Issue #29 · View online
Weekly curated #cryptocurrency news and commentary.

Welcome to The Block. I’m Jeremiah Lewis, crypto-enthusiast and early adopter. This is a twice-weekly email digest comprising one or two short topical essays followed by a manageable collection of curated links.
If you know anyone who’d be interested in this kind of content, forward this email, or they can subscribe here.

A Sea of Red
In one of the worst sell-offs of 2018, every single one of the top 25 cryptocurrencies (by market cap) ended last week with double-digit losses (with a couple of exceptions). The total market cap of all coins currently sits at $260 billion, down from its all-time high set back in January of over $700 billion.
Basically, the bears are all dancing around singing “I told you so.”
This, of course, is a prime opportunity for a classic comeback story. Everyone loves a good underdog overcoming the odds and battling their way to the top. But who is the villain in this story? Is it the various world governments and their pesky regulatory bodies? Is it the whales, those silent, hungry, manipulating beasts who mercilessly plunder whole markets with a simple wave of a fin?
Or is the villain of the piece the individual investor who bought into a concept and technology they didn’t fully understand, driving up prices to unsustainable highs without the backing of a viable, real-world product?
One thing’s for sure, the reckoning has come due for many, and the outcome, while still uncertain, is far from rosy. Despite all that, there’s reason to remain optimistic, at least if one is willing to look through a telescope. If one has the fortitude to stay in the game long enough, she might find there’s a few things 2018 still has to offer that could right the ship and get cryptocurrency back on track.
Four Big Things in 2018
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.
Links of Note
SXSW 2018: 10 Crypto & Blockchain Takeaways
The Ancient History of Bitcoin
What Is a Bitcoin ‘Death Cross’ and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?
Don't Buy Bitcoin
The moral of the video below is Don’t Buy Bitcoin. But watch the whole thing, because it’s only 56 seconds of your life, and it may save you from making a huge mistake.
Don't Buy Bitcoin. It's Going To Crash!!!
And as a natural followup:
Why I think the Bitcoin downtrend line everyone keeps talking about is overrated.
Bitcoin Prices Tank as Global Cryptocurrencies Shed $500 Billion in Value in 2018
What the Fed Could Learn From Bitcoin
It’s Too Late — Nothing Can Stop The Bitcoin Protocol
US Pioneers Blockchain Election Voting With West Virginia Mobile Trial
A $29 Million Cryptocurrency Donation Just Funded Every Project On Don
Counting Cryptocurrency Gains And Losses Without Running Afoul Of IRS Rules
Wrap Up
That’s it for today. Thank you for reading! Did you find this newsletter useful and interesting and think someone else would enjoy it? Please forward it to them! Subscribe or read back-issues here. If there’s a topic you’d like me to write about, let me know.
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