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Development ‘On the Chain’ to Promote Off-Chain Blockchain Adoption?

What does the next decade hold for blockchain? Institutional adoption, portfolio diversification, fundraising schemes and IoT.

In the last decade, blockchain and distributed ledger technology has had an immense impact on a multitude of industries, with 84% of organizations experimenting with the technology, with more than half (52%) of blockchain projects in the research and development phase, according to the PwC Global Blockchain Survey

The industries making important strides forward with blockchain include financial services, manufacturing, energy and utilities, health care, as well as government sectors, but the potential of the technology is limitless. Ultimately, any business that is looking to simplify the processing method of large volumes of transactions while ensuring the verifiability of these transactions — stands to benefit from the use of blockchain technology. 

So, what does the next decade hold for blockchain, and what barriers are there to overcome in order to see true mainstream adoption?

Cryptocurrencies: The next-generation portfolio diversifier

Blockchain technology has often been mistakenly associated with Bitcoin’s volatility. While blockchain is indeed the underlying technology powering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it has little to do with its peaks and troughs. 

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency price volatility is primarily driven by investors’ perceptions of the security of their holdings along with the prospects for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to become a reliable portfolio diversifier as institutional adoption increases.

In the last year alone, gold has risen by 10%, while Bitcoin has soared by over 180% against the United States dollar. The U.S. Federal Reserve’s recent slashing of interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis signals a return to monetary and fiscal stimulus in the form of quantitative easing, which could negatively impact confidence in fiat currencies. If this ends up being the case, we could soon witness capital flight that could result in a decline in the performance of the U.S. dollar, should there be a significant loss of trust in central banks.

One-year crypto performance

One-year crypto performance. Source: coin360.com

Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, have proven to be one of the top-performing assets since the start of the year, outperforming other, more traditional asset classes, such as stocks, commodities and real estate. While it might not be prudent to put all of one’s eggs in a single basket, the case for including digital assets as a long-term portfolio diversifier is stronger than ever, but it remains to be seen how cryptocurrencies will perform during times of extreme macroeconomic or market stress.

Facebook see, Google do? The business case for blockchain

When Facebook says “Jump!” users ask “How high?” However, it is not enough for companies to hop onto the blockchain bandwagon without further investigation into the viability of blockchain and whether it is the right solution for a business. 

The applicability of blockchain very much depends on whether a business fulfills a number of criteria, including whether multiple parties share and update data; if the business has a customer database, whereby there is a verification requirement; third-party intermediaries adding complexity that blockchain could potentially remove; whether interactions are time-sensitive; and if transactions interact.

Connected devices (billions)

Blockchain stands to see far greater adoption when organizations’ and institutions’ approaches and application methods of decentralized ledger technology become more targeted, as opposed to adopting a one-size-fits-all framework. This allows companies to mitigate the risks associated with integrating blockchain into their businesses unnecessarily.

New kid on the block(chain): The Internet of Things (IoT)

The increasing spread of internet connectivity to things in our everyday lives — such as smart thermostat Nest, Philips Hue smart bulbs, wearables like Garmin smart watches — means that there is a vast amount of data being collected that could benefit from being stored in a secure and verifiable manner.

This is where blockchain comes into play. With the overall number of connected devices projected to grow to 29 billion by 2022 (18 billion of which will be IoT-related), there is an increasingly urgent need to safeguard the sheer volume of data that will be collected by them. Blockchain eliminates single-point failure with its distributed network of computers, as well as potential inefficiencies as a result of overburdened centralized systems. Blockchain’s additional layer of security also means that personal data — including the data collected by implantable cardiac devices (!) — is far less vulnerable to being hacked.

The future of fundraising: From ICOs to STOs to IEOs

July 31 marks the sixth anniversary of the introduction of the first ever initial coin offering (ICO) in the blockchain space, with J.R. Willett launching Mastercoin (now Omni). As the industry matures, the nature of fundraising in the space has changed. We’ve witnessed a shift away from ICOs, with security token offerings (STOs) launching in public markets and a further progression toward initial exchange offerings (IEOs) in 2019.

While ICOs require reduced upfront capital and have lower barriers of entry for investors, they were plagued by fraudulent token sales and scams, which ultimately scared investors off. This was followed by a significant shift toward regulatory compliance, which is essential if these fundraising practices — and blockchain in general — is to see widespread adoption. Unlike ICOs, security tokens issued during an STO are supported by an underlying asset that reflects a monetary value, which offers investors greater transparency.

Oversight by various regulatory bodies — such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority — can provide some measure of protection. On the flip side, these same regulatory guidelines mean that participation in STOs is limited to institutional investors. So, what might the future of fundraising look like in the blockchain space moving forward?

IEOs — i.e., token sales conducted directly via an exchange, with issuers paying a listing fee — are the newest form of fundraising. While they are slightly less regulated than STOs, Know You Customer and other checks are mandatory, with exchanges ensuring due diligence before a token is listed. Also, as all transactions take place via an exchange, this method of fundraising is seen as being more secure compared with ICOs, whose project websites may lack the necessary security measures.

As blockchain technology transitions from being reserved for the high-tech elite to a technology that can be applied to the masses, we will undoubtedly witness a shift in perception on a global scale. As the market matures and the technology follows suit, we will see real-world applications across industries, redefining the way we do business. 


Alexandra Tinsman is president of the NEM.io Foundation, which aims to introduce, educate and promote the use of the NEM blockchain technology platform on an international scale to all industries and institutions. The focus of the NEM.io Foundation in 2019 is to support the commercialization and launch of Catapult, the next iteration of the core NEM engine.

With more than 20 years’ consumer and B2B product marketing experience, Alexandra has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands in software, hi-tech gaming, entertainment and online services, including Microsoft Xbox, Xbox LIVE, Bing, Windows Phone, Skype and MSN, in which she developed, executed and managed global marketing campaigns and go-to-market strategies. 

She also worked on some of the world’s first tradable digital assets used in Pokémon Online, Magic: The Gathering Online, League of Legends and the Xbox Digital Marketplace. 

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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Ex-Goldman Sachs Exec Confident ‘Nothing Else Has Payoff’ as Bitcoin

Former Goldman Sachs executive Raoul Pal praises the potential profit that could be made from investing in Bitcoin, even if the chances are low.

Raoul Pal, a former head of equities and equities derivatives at Goldman Sachs UK office and the founder of Global Macro Investors and Real Vision Group, believes that Bitcoin (BTC) is worth betting on in the long term — even if it’s just a 1% chance. This and other insights Pal shared while speaking on the Stephen Livera podcast this week. Pal said: 

“I know all these macro guys, they’re all in it. They get it. They get the optionality. They may be complete believers, part believers, partial believers. But even then, if it’s a 1% chance of being right and the upside is 100x from here, you’d do this all day.”

Potential rewards outweigh the risks

According to Pal, the potential reward of buying Bitcoin far outweighs all the accompanying risks. In his abstract approximation, $8 trillion is a possible figure the BTC market cap could hit in the future. He explained: 

“So if it’s worth 80 trillion dollars, let’s say you have a 10% probability, that’s 8 trillion dollars. It’s currently worth 200 billion dollars. So even if there’s a 1% chance of it working […] what it’s telling you is that it’s ludicrously underpriced if any of these probabilities play out.”

He adds that these numbers are “crazy attractive” and “that’s why it’s sucking in so many of these macro guys, because they’re like, ‘Damn, nothing else has this payoff’.” 

He also referenced crypto analyst PlanB’s tweets containing a couple of different stock to flow models based around the tapering off in supply due to scheduled halvings of BTC block reward.

Bitcoin is predicted to increase to $1 million in coming years

Notably, the most recent PlanB’s chart suggests the Bitcoin price will increase to $100,000 after next year’s halving. And to an astonishing $1 million after 2024, which Pal says is not impossible. 

“Yeah, it’s an option,” says Pal. “And, okay, it’s less of an option than it was when it was much cheaper, but if you look at PlanB’s stock flow model, stuff like that, you can see the comparative upside. And if you try and get your head around the digitization of everything, if you try and get your head around an alternative financial system, even if it has a low probability, right?”

Early $200 bet on Bitcoin turned out to be prophetic

Ex-Goldman Sachs exec also mentioned that he has a long history with Bitcoin and was “probably the first person to put together a valuation using the above-ground supply and below-ground supply of gold, and imputing that into Bitcoin, which was basically the Stock-Flow model at a very simplistic level.” 

Pal says that he first found out about BTC when it was still at 17 cents. He said

“I first discovered Bitcoin […] because some of my clients had begun to mine it when it was at 17 cents. They were running a hedge fund, and they happened to have electricity included in their office space, and somebody talked to them. They were very, very early adopters […] So, I wrote an article. I got long, around $200.”

On July 30, former Bitcoin bear Joe Kernen also predicted that BTC could hit $55,000 by May 2020, the date of next halving.

At press time, Bitcoin is trading at around $10,000 — up 2.12% on the day, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

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Breaking: Binance Lists Meme Crypto Dogecoin (DOGE) at Long Last

Dogecoin Gets Nod from Binance

Welp, Binance has finally done it. Announced early Friday morning, Dogecoin (DOGE) will soon be added to the top crypto exchange, which has registered over $2.2 billion worth of volume in the past 24 hours.

According to a blog post on the subject matter, Binance will be listing Dogecoin against Binance Coin, Bitcoin, Tether, Paxos, and USD Coin starting on the fifth, which is just about now. Funnily enough, the listing fee for the project is “0 BNB”, presumably due to the fact that there was no paid, concerted effort to get the popular meme crypto asset listed on the exchange.

Upon the release of this news, some of crypto’s top analysts lauded Binance for its step to accept DOGE, which has been widely regarded as a joke of a digital asset. Crypto Bitlord infused a reply with some rocket ship emojis; Squeezy posted a classic Shiba Inu meme.

As a result of this news, the value of Dogecoin has absolutely surged, meaning that the so-called “Binance Effect” is clearly in action as of the time of writing this. As you can see below, the minute the announcement was unveiled, the crypto asset gained around 20%. Nice.

It isn’t clear exactly why Binance decided to take the plunge into the world of meme cryptocurrencies. But notably, both Vitalk Buterin and John McAfee, the founder of Ethereum and a prominent cybersecurity guru-turned-crypto promoter, respectively, have mentioned and lauded Dogecoin in the past few days. And, who could forget pro-crypto technologist Elon Musk’s short stint “working” for DOGE.

On April 1st, stakeholders of the cryptocurrency industry were more than happy to participate in April Fools’ Day. What flew under the radar, however, was the official Dogecoin Twitter handle’s joke vote to choose a new chief executive of the decentralized project.

While Buterin and two other industry executives were named, Elon Musk was thrown into the poll as a wildcard. The wildcard won.

Musk received the most votes of the other ‘candidates’ for the stint, and he the Tesla visionary was sure he wouldn’t be remiss to miss his mystery lap. In response to the poll, Musk claimed that Dogecoin, a long-standing digital asset for fun-loving, meme-centric netizens, might actually be his favorite cryptocurrency.

In the hours that followed, Musk took the mantle as the first (and last) ‘CEO’ of Dogecoin. The entrepreneur quickly replaced his Twitter biography with a short “CEO of Dogecoin.”

Photo by Andrew Leu on Unsplash

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Why is Bitcoin (BTC) Here to Stay? Former Bear Explains

Why Bitcoin is Here to Stay

To most in the Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto community, mainstream media is viewed with intense skepticism. Case in point, the leading cryptocurrency has been declared dead over 360 times according to 99Bitcoins.

Most of these attacks come from mainstream outlets, from CNBC and Forbes to the New York Post and Bloomberg. For instance, one Bloomberg op-ed headline published in January 2018 reads: “Sorry, Bitcoin Fans. Digital Currency Is Still a Dream.”

This recently changed, however. A Bloomberg columnist and prominent economist going by Tyler Cowen recently gave a few nods to Bitcoin, releasing an article titled “Bitcoin is (Probably) Here to Stay”. Here is a quick compilation of his thoughts on why BTC is, after all, a viable asset in today’s ever-changing economic climate.

Geopolitical Tension: US-China Trade War

Firstly, the US-China trade war is likely to drive Bitcoin’s long-term value proposition. This is because it is widely believed that Chinese investors, namely those looking to bypass currency controls, are putting their capital into BTC and other digital assets via backdoor on-ramps, suggested to be Tether (USDT) and over-the-counter trading desks.

As reported by this outlet previously, Blockchain.com’s research division found correlations between periods of Chinese Yuan devaluation and Bitcoin growth, further corroborating this theory.

And more importantly, there has recently been a massive uptick in interest for Bitcoin in China, as made apparent by data from Tencent (WeChat), Baidu (China’s Google), and other outlets that suggest cryptocurrency is, once again, starting to grip the hearts of investors in the nation.

Libra Validates Bitcoin

Secondly, Cowen believes that Libra’s launch validates the idea of cryptocurrency. While he is skeptical of the Facebook-backed project’s ability to “get off the ground”, he noted that Libra is “backed by a pretty striking and radical innovation”, this being the potential for transactions to cost much less than their predecessor. He concludes on this specific matter:

The idea that transaction costs on remittances and other fund transfers can be lowered significantly by defining a new medium of payment, piggybacking on older media of exchange… Crypto still holds this promise.

Left-Leaning U.S. Politics

Thirdly, he remarks that the Democratic Party in the U.S. continues to lean left on many matters, especially in regards to wealth and taxes. Thus, he notes that a need for offshore banking, which can technically be Bitcoin or other decentralized cryptocurrencies, is likely to grow with time. This is because the nation’s sovereign debt continues to grow due to the need for more government services, necessitating the government to take more from taxpayers.

This catalyst is similar to one in Italy. For those who missed the memo, a prominent Italian minister recently proposed a wealth tax of around 15% on citizen’s safety deposit boxes. As some have put it, Italy could be the best thing to ever happen to Bitcoin, as investors would seek to store their money in an asset that the government cannot exactly confiscate.

Need for a Portfolio Hedge

Lastly, Cowen writes that there is a need for a hedge in today’s geopolitical and macroeconomic climate:

One final possible explanation for the resurgence of Bitcoin: Populism is spreading, the Middle East is not calming down, and the world is not solving its geopolitical problems. 

This is obviously in reference to the idea that Bitcoin is a proper replacement for gold.

Photo by Zoe Ra on Unsplash

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Crypto Apps Stagnate Despite Bitcoin (BTC) Rally Past $10,000

Crypto Not on the Rise on Google or Apple’s App Store

As Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto assets started to rally in April and May, users started to suggest that search interest for “Coinbase” and “Blockchain” on the Apple iOS App Store was on the rise. Indeed, many reports corroborated the fact that if you were to look for apps that were “trending” last month, cryptocurrency wallets would have graced your screen.

The thing is, data published via Bloomberg suggests a very different story than the aforementioned points. Per a recent article from the outlet, which cites data from App Annie (an analytics provider that looks at apps downloaded from the iOS Store and Google Play Store), the download count for crypto-related applications is nearly the same for H1 2019 and H1 2018, at 67 million and 65.8 million respectively. This comes despite that Bitcoin has rallied over 200% since the bottom, which is stellar compared to BTC’s dismal performance in the first six months of 2018.

Similarly, Google Trends states that search interest for the “Bitcoin” and “crypto” terms remains less than 20% of what was seen at 2017’s peak, meaning that the mainstream has yet to pick up on this space in spite of BTC’s recent growth.

crypto

These data points could imply that investors that left the space are entering once again, or that institutions, most of which presumably don’t use mobile applications to store and track crypto, are finally starting to foray into the industry. Whatever the exact specifics, the App Annie and Google Trends data points aren’t bearish per se.

China, A Different Story

Interestingly, it’s an entirely different story in China. Instead of institutions driving crypto interest, it seems to be a primarily retail audience. Chinese source cnLedger recently pointed out that according to a number of “online data service providers”, a crypto asset-related app is trending on China’s iOS App Store.

Exchange giant Huobi’s mobile application is now, according to the sources, the seventh most searched for keyword in the aforementioned marketplace. Considering that Apple sells some 40 million handhelds each year, this is quite the statistic. This implies that tens of thousands, maybe more, were (and are continuing to) searching for the crypto app.

Simultaneously, WeChat keyword analytics have accentuated a massive uptick in the volume of “Bitcoin”. More specifically, as Twitter user Louis Aboud-Hogben notes, the past ninety days have seen keyword volume for the Chinese term for “Bitcoin” skyrocket by five times.

It is unclear why this has been occurring, but there are a few theories: Firstly, comments from Chinese technology legends about Libra have presumably increased interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Secondly, as the US-China trade war has raged on, investors have begun to seek a safe haven in Bitcoin, especially after safe haven media lauded it. And thirdly, the simple bullish price action led to increased interest.

Photo by Yura Fresh on Unsplash

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