Hello to our Dear Readers. We’ve been working hard here at Crypto Mouse on some research, so apologies in the delay in getting our thoughts down after NYC’s Blockchain Week.
The conference was held at the Hilton in midtown Manhattan with three, count em, three (rented) Lamborghinis parked out front. Not ostentatious enough? The Crypto Mouse team saw Ledger Nano S wallets being marketed as “collector’s editions” in gold and diamond options at their booth inside. There was also a Crypto Cruise where two Astin Martins were given away, and two rap performances (Snoop Dogg performing at Ripple’s party in the Meatpacking District and Busta Rhymes headlining at Crypto House).
Over the top? Definitely. But when you cut through the next level extravagance, here are our main take away’s (with no disrespect to Snoop or Busta):
Consensus 2018, the anchor event for Blockchain Week, hosted by Coindesk was more than twice as large as 2017. For reference, this event began in 2015 with fewer than 500 people. This year the total was closer to 8,000, with an estimate of over half from outside the US.
Why does this matter, dear readers? Not only are people more aware of the space in general, but they are willing to travel the world (and incur the expense) to discuss cryptocurrencies.
So are cryptocurrencies mainstream now? Not by a long shot.
The general theme at various talks was that 2017 was a game changing hear for the space. Not just in terms of global awareness (international attendees Crypto Mouse met included those from China, New Zealand, Australia and even Antarctica!), but in terms of industry diversification as well: students, full-time crypto investors, consultants, startups, businesses, regulatory agencies and financiers. All coming together to exchange ideas and compare outlooks.
What was most interesting to the Crypto Mouse team were the big corporate names present. These are the firms who will drive adoption, form consortiums, and have the capital for large scale research and development: IBM, Hewlett Packard, Deloitte, and Federal Express. All either presented demos or participated in panel discussions.
It was also interesting to see who did not make an appearance. Most notably, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, who said he would be boycotting the event because of Coindesk’s coverage of Ethereum earlier.
So has Consensus reached a saturation point? With breakout sessions called “Blockchain 101” and “Blockchain 102” to accommodate the new to crypto attendees, many complained the event had become “too cosmetic”, barely scratching the surface of cryptocurrencies.
For us at Crypto Mouse though, the more new people who invest in cryptocurrencies, the more good it does for the investments we hold, so we took it as a win win.
That being said, where was the Consensus Bump this year? Typically, prices rise after Consensus, but that did not happen this year. There was one point that Tuesday where bitcoin rose to ~$8,700, and it looked as though markets could be recovering. Instead, this triggered a sell off. By taht Wednesday, the price of bitcoin was back down to $8,200-$8,300.
Is it time to panic? Hardly. Discount shopping is in full effect.
Team Crypto Mouse buys on dips: even though most people expected an opportunity to take profits this week, the market gave us an opportunity to buy instead.
In closing, here are the six key takeaways Team Crypto Mouse had from Consensus:
- Regulation. While some companies have been leaving New York because of increased scrutiny, both the New York City Economic Development Council and the nation of Bermuda actively recruited blockchain companies. Regulation is a much needed step towards mass adoption.
- Privacy. A lot of talk surrounded the Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal, marketing companies collect and use personal data in ways we might not be aware of or comfortable with. Privacy and data management will be mission critical for crypto in the future. Side note: during the conference, the Gemini exchange announced it will be listing zcash. The value of zcash rose 47% to recent highs.
- Frictionless Payments. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Cash App, spoke of universal internet cryptocurrency. He said that we should embrace it, and says it will help serve the underserved and underbanked. The president and CEO of the St. Louis Federal Reserve spoke, cautioning Consensus attendees about multiple cryptocurrencies, warning that this has happened before. Early in American history, each bank issued its own note (read more here). People didn’t like it. They want clarity and simplicity for payments. Crypto payments need to be frictionless, too.
- “Year of Pragmatism”. A phrase crafted by Deloitte, stating that there are plenty of blockchain ideas and projects, but now itls the time to produce and release. People are tired of a “blockchain for everything.” This will be the year to make it a reality. Expect many big companies to get involved.
- Blockchain adoption. There was a lot of discussion of blockchain use cases, moreso than that of cryptocurrencies.
- Enterprise adoption. Ledger announced its “Ledger Vault.” This is an enterprise-grade storage and custody solution, and perhaps one of the most important releases of the conference. Institutional funds cannot come into cryptocurrency without proper custody and storage options and the Ledger Vault will be one of those solutions. This release prepares the market for big money to make its entrance, further encouraging mass adoption.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures summed up the conference best with this quote: “There are some things that have been unlocked here, the global financial model… I don’t know how you put the genie back in the bottle.”
He went onto say ICO market is “version 1.0 of the new capital markets”, meaning we are still early in cryptocurrency.
We at Crypto Mouse believe this is inning two for cryptocurrencies. It is time to accumulate the best cryptos at discounts and add to them at dips.
2018 will be a year of regulation, of institutional money coming into the system, and of people starting to produce on the promises of their ICOs. Many will fail, the markets will fluctuate, and as we said above, Crypto Mouse will be ready for more discount shopping.