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Blockchain in 2019: Continued mainstream adoption, increased standardisation of platforms and protocols, and survival of the fittest

Thu, 13 Dec 2018, 06:22 am UTC

The ongoing pessimism in the crypto market has not deterred blockchain evangelists about the technology’s prospects in the forthcoming year.

In a report published in November 2018, Outlier Ventures said that VC investments in blockchain space surged from a total of $900 million in 2017 to $2.85 billion in 2018, a 316% increase.

Roger Lim, Founding Partner at blockchain investment firm NEO Global Capital, said:

“From an investment perspective, 2019 will be a promising year for blockchain as projects move away from a “blockchain-for-everything” approach to implementation,” adding that with growing competitiveness, “the blockchain industry is bound to undergo some sort of consolidation and the projects best equipped with a “survival of the fittest” mentality are the most likely to succeed.”

Businesses across various industries from agriculture to healthcare, to logistics, to real estate, to shipping and beyond are aggressively testing blockchain technology. In PwC’s 2018 survey of 600 executives from 15 territories, 84% said their organisations have at least some involvement with blockchain technology.

Blockchain To Go Mainstream?

Nicolas Gilot, Co-CEO of Ultra – a blockchain-based, game publishing platform, believes that the blockchain space now stands to reap the rewards of work put in by industry players, teams, and communities over the past two years.

“Blockchain technology has a bright future but the road to get there will be full of twists and turns. As with any new and emerging technology, there will be plenty of ups and downs before we see mainstream adoption of the tech, but I believe blockchain will change industries as we know them — everything from finance and banking, to retail, education, healthcare, and entertainment,” Gilot said.

“This will only be made a reality as more traditional, institutional investors begin to enter the space, and over the next 12 months, financial behemoths such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan will play an increasingly influential role in encouraging mainstream adoption of blockchain.”

Vladislav Dramaliev, Head of Digital Marketing at æternity – the open-source smart contracts blockchain protocol, said:

“In 2019, I expect we will see the first commercial (i.e., consumer-facing) applications of public blockchains go live next year, and the general public will finally experience the benefits that blockchain can bring.”

According to Nydia Zhang, Chairman and Co-founder of Social Alpha Foundation, the current crypto bear market has created a window of focus on the underlying technology that will drive opportunity for billions of unbanked and excluded lives. Zhang is quite bullish on the technology’s future prospects and expects “record blockchain adoption from the world’s biggest banks, internet companies and even smaller governments” in 2019.

“2019 will be the year blockchain hits the big time with organisations like the UN, World Bank, and major global philanthropies taking major stakes in using blockchain technology to anchor their initiatives,” Zhang said. “Expect to see projects ranging from supply chain, identity, transparency, and governance rolling out of the world’s biggest aid organisations, proving the true value of blockchain.”

Casey Kuhlman, CEO and Co-founder of Monax, said that the industry is expected to shift its focus next year more towards the problems that blockchain technology can solve.

“Taking just one example, the advent of smart contracts offer a technical basis on which scalable, technically enabled legal products can be built and delivered. In 2019, my hope is that we apply the technology not only to the legal sector but to the myriad of industries that can and should benefit from its transparency, speed, efficiency, and reliability,” Kuhlman added.

Max Kordek, Co-Founder and CEO of Lisk, expects the institutional attitudes towards blockchain continuing to shift in 2019 at pace with the technology itself. He said that the forthcoming year will see the technology’s adoption by mainstream business, traditional finance, and even government institutions into their everyday practices.

For the developer community, Kordek said that they will continue to advance blockchain’s capabilities, by creating boundary-pushing proofs-of-concept and new use cases.

“These, on the other hand, will continue to close the gap between the technology and its centralized competitors. However, I believe the disruption this technology will bring won’t be fully realized over the course of just one year,” he added.

Blockchain Education

Kordek further highlighted the need to address industry challenges such as “the lack of formal blockchain education and the need to keep attracting top talent into the industry.”

“The blockchain industry needs to continue driving the technology’s research and development and share their cumulative knowledge through a strong, global open-source development culture,” he said.

Speaking of educational initiatives, Roger Lim said that 2019 will see increased commitment to academia. He added:

“Higher education institutes such as the University of California, Berkeley and National University of Singapore’s CRYSTAL (Cryptocurrency Strategy, Techniques, and Algorithms) Centre, are already involved in R&D and nurturing developers needed to propel the entire blockchain ecosystem.”

Standardization of Blockchain Platforms

Gabriele Giancola, CEO and Co-founder of qiibee, said that moving forward, the industry will see a separation between hype and reality. He noted that the surge in the number of companies trialing blockchain technology will underscore the need to ensure the technology’s security and stability.

Regulation for global distributed ledgers and smart contract audits will become increasingly important. I also believe we will see a push towards increased standardisation of platforms and protocols as this is impeding mass adoption of the technology,” he added.

Sharing similar views, Xinshu Dong, CEO of Zilliqa, said that while it is uncertain if 2019 will see a wave of widespread blockchain use cases, he expects to see some compelling use cases emerge.

“As entrepreneurs and enterprises introduce and implement blockchain technology, a major stumbling block the industry faces is the balance between scalability and security. 2019 may indeed be the year we address the existing challenges, see traction for the technology beyond the testnet phase, and welcome many far-reaching dApps,” Dong said.

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