Blockchain Vision-2020 brings us the start of a new decade, and with it comes the gradual maturation of blockchain technology, bringing it down from the stratosphere to tangible impact on real-world problems. We may be a turning point for the industry.
These seven trends are bellwethers for the industry’s health that I will be tracking in 2020, as we move from experimentation to implementation:
1. Blockchain, naturally
A challenge I have found over the past several years of educating blockchain entrepreneurs in over 130 countries in my work at MIT and University of Oxford is the need for more compelling use cases. Not just any use case, not just any scenario where distributed ledgers might be applicable, but natural uses cases where blockchain is clearly a superior platform versus other database technologies. I am hopeful that 2020 will bring a more acute perspective from the industry on where blockchain is best used and scaled.
2. Games people play
John D’Agostino, founder of Digital Assets Working Group, says, “Gaming and commodification of the gaming experience” is what’s in for 2020. He goes on to state that he sees opportunity in “combining the theoretical fungibility, transparency and security of blockchain databases along with the ease and portability of tokens to create new markets for digitally native assets and experiences like online gaming.”
(What’s out, asserts D’Agostino, is “blaming securities laws for your bad business model.”)
3. Bitcoin is back (or it never left?)
Bitcoin remains the most financially successful blockchain project to date, with a market capitalization of more than $130 billion at this writing. For the longest time, heeding the words of my collaborator Meltem Demirors, I would tell people that you can train a mediocre bitcoin developer in a year or a competent ethereum developer in a month.
Bitcoin is idiosyncratic, a hack of hacks, a giant kludge that outgrew itself a long time ago. Ethereum and other newer protocols were developed more self-consciously with third-party development in mind. And yet. bitcoin is suddenly top-of-mind again, and I have anecdotally been hearing of various bitcoin-protocol projects under way.