What a year it has been for cryptocurrencies! I am thankful every day that I decided to jump into this industry early on and then eventually be able to create this resource site for beginners. We have seen some amazing things in 2017 including the rise of the ICO where companies like Tezos raised almost 250 million, the "big 3" (Bitcoin, Litecoin, & Ethereum) have gained in the 1000%'s, and a massive explosion of interest in both the traditional financial markets as well as the consumer markets here in the final quarter of 2017. Now it's time to look ahead to what I think 2018 holds for the cryptocurrency world (no, I am not going to predict the price of Bitcoin!). Follow along as I focus on the trends I think we will see for Bitcoin and beyond in 2018.
I proclaim that 2017 was the "Year of the Fork" and don't think we are done just yet. We have seen a total of 8 forks this year of Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin Platinum (which may be a scam), Bitcoin Silver, Bitcoin Uranium, Bitcoin God, & Bitcoin Diamond.
Because of very successful Bitcoin forks like Bitcoin Cash I think we will see many more attempts at forking coins or "IFO's" in 2018. People have seen how these forks can generate a large amount of value quickly and "Initial Fork Offerings" will become more popular than ever in 2018.
ICO's Follow Suit
ICO's will continue to surge as we enter into 2018 just like they did all of 2017. Looking globally, it seems that governments are much more concerned with regulating ICO's or even banning them altogether than they are regulating cryptocurrencies. In 2018 look for MUCH more on global regulations which will help to weed out the scamcoins.
Major Players Enter
While we have seen a few major players hit the crypto scene in 2018 (like Jamie Dimon who was against Bitcoin all year, but have now jumped in as the price has skyrocketed) as well as Square adding support for Bitcoin, IOTA testing with Microsoft Azure, and IBM working with Stellar Lumens. I think 2018 will be the year that we see major investments from huge multi-national corporations that can no longer stay out of the crypto game.
As Sure As Regulation & Taxes
The US has already started to make moves to crack down on cryptocurrencies in 2017 with the SEC more closely watching the markets, along with the Whitehouse, the Fed, and more. In 2018 I think we will see some heavy handed regulation for ICO's in the US coupled with the IRS making fresh announcements regarding taxes and possible "tax amnesty" that will have huge implications.
There is that big tax reform bill that was approved by both the US House and Senate and is currently being reconciled between the two versions. There is a key piece of new legislation in there called "First in First Out" (I won't go into detail here) that could be VERY disruptive to cryptocurrency use in the US. Overall regulations can be a good thing, as long as implementing them does not go south.
I Like My Privacy
With more and more regulations and requests for US taxpayers info from places like Coinbase and overseas I think we will see a rise in privacy coin use and creation due to increased government surveillance. Look to major players like Monero, Zcash, Komodo, and PIVX to lead the way on this front with hopefully more jumping in and adopting these privacy protocols.
A Mainstream Bitcoin
Bitcoin has been a HOT topic this year and while I knew that we were approaching a more mainstream adoption of crypto I did not anticipate it starting to happen by the end of 2017. I honestly thought this would be the case nearing the end of 2018. Nevertheless, in 2018 I think we will start seeing Bitcoin EVERYWHERE. In stores, at events, and even grandma talking about them at the dinner table!
Advertising On New Levels
As we head into 2018 we have seen some interesting twists on traditional advertising models that step outside of the Google Adsense box and into crypto. In particular, the use of "in-browser" mining of cryptocurrencies while a visitor is on a website. This is something I talked about already (read this article about pirates), but while it has mostly been done without use knowledge I think we will see this explode, but with asking "permission" first. Also, look to new advertising platforms like BAT to take the lead on new and creative ways for content generators to get paid while users don't have to be flooded with ads.
My Fridge Hates Me
If you don't know what the "Internet of Things" is then it is time to do some reading. These internet connected home devices are everywhere now with major outlets like Google & Amazon pushing their IoT devices in our face all 2017. We are just starting to scratch the surface in this area and I think in 2018 we will see major growth in this sector with a big push from the cryptocurrency world. The major push for IoT devices this year will see integrations with crypto in lots of ways.
Banks Are On The Run
In 2017 we have seen large amounts of money (in the billions) leaving the traditional investing world behind to make it's way to cryptocurrencies. This has left some banks doing a scramble to catch up (see my articles about the Fed and Bank of America). Everyone now wants a piece of the action and in 2018 I think we will see more and more people leaving traditional banks behind for storing their wealth and entrusting it to the blockchain.
DEX To The Rescue
With the massive rush there has been in Q4 for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies places like GDAX, Bittrex, & Poloinex have not been able to keep up with user demand and we now have backlogs of ID verification & transactions. While there are quite a few very popular decentralized exchanges right now, I think 2018 is going to be the "Rise of the DEX" (Decentralized Exchange) over centralized ones like GDAX, Bittrex, and Poloinex. A decentralized exchange has SO many more advantages and also supports the mission of a 3rd party-less transaction.
POW To POS
As proponents that still think Bitcoin & cryptocurrencies are a "bubble" proclaim how it is also going to use all the worlds electricity by 2020, we will see a shift from Proof of Work (which is what takes up all that power) to Proof of Stake. Not only will established coins switch to POS, but we will see the majority of new projects also adopting a version of this. While Bitcoin mining's power requirements ARE significant, they will in no way affect our power grid in 2018. If anything, the desire for the cheapest power source will push green tech further than ever before.
The DApp Revolution
Just as 2017 was set to expire we saw an explosive new blockchain based game called "CryptoKitties" clog up the Ethereum network with the rampant purchase of fluffy digital cats tied to the blockchain. This was a great proof that DApp's can work and also be mainstream popular, but it also put a highlight on how far the Ethereum network has to go if one viral game can clog up the entire Ethereum mainnet. In 2018 I think we will see a explosion of "decentralized apps" or DApp's built on Ethereum as well as other platforms trying to capitalize on the craze that CryptoKitties started.
Am I a magical wizard that can see the future?!? No... But these are my thoughts and predictions based on what we have already seen this year as to what we may be able to expect next year. Where the price of Bitcoin or your other favorite crypto's will be, who knows, but no matter where they are at the Blockchain is going to be the big winner for 2018 and nothing can stop it now!