The mainstream adoption of Bitcoin gets closer every day as its technology finds new uses in different industries. Consumer adoption will extend from video games, decentralized databases, produce sourcing verification, crypto mining household electronics, to artificial intelligence, and more. Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the upcoming Bakkt exchange stated that “Bitcoin would greatly simplify the movement of global money, and It has the potential to become the first worldwide currency.” A substitute for money is the most popular reference for Bitcoin but the concept extends through a larger utility spectrum. However, implementation will not be immediate; instead, its path is slow and methodical.
Contrary to what most people believed and expected, 2018 was never going to be a year of crypto adoption. The technology is not yet mature to integrate with current payment systems. The biggest platforms and projects like Ripple, NEO, Cardano, EOS, ETHOS, Ethereum, and others were not ready to achieve implementation. And the rest like IOTA, NANO, ZeroX, Kyber Network, and others were far too ambitious to realize in a single year. Therefore, 2018 was going to be a year of further development. Intense competition for programmers and developers created a vacuum of talent which slowed down progress in most, if not all projects. Another major interference was the focus on money raised during the ICO stage and speculative trading, rather than advancing the established goals.
In 2019 the Bitcoin market will enter the consolidation phase. This era will see projects join forces to accelerate development and achieve common ends. Instead of costly competition, companies will collaborate and projects will merge. For example, Samsung SDS is working with Dutch bank ABN AMRO to develop a common logistics blockchain to track shipping containers from Korea to Netherlands. The project will fuse the Samsung’s Nexledger and AMRO’s Corda platforms to best track multi-modal transport of shipments through their routing systems. Tron, a content distribution platform recently purchased Peer-2-Peer sharing network BitTorrent for $140 million. This merger will bring the two similar services together under one company creating efficiency and enhanced service.
Before the future is overtaken by the blockchain as many presume, there must be a transition phase. And that will begin with the hybridization of current and crypto systems. Nowhere will this more apparent than in payment systems. VISA announced that it is integrating its natively developed blockchain with IBM’s Hyperledger to facilitate large cross border payments. Banks and exchanges are setting up the foundation of future hybrid trading and investing platforms. The Bakkt, Gemini, and Fidelity exchanges are keen to build systems that are compatible to both fiat and crypto currencies. Wallet, remittance, and currency exchange services will ultimately have full atomic swap capabilities where any crypto or fiat currency will be interchangeable.
Once merged concepts mature and reach sufficient capability, the application phase will follow. This is where point of sale machines, blockchains, crypto phones, and related products become operational. They start to become part of everyday business and civic life. As with previous example, the Silsal project is a blockchain designed to interlink management of cargo, trade, and supply chains between the ports of Abu Dhabi and Antwerp. The application of a blockchain improves time, cost, and integrity. FedEx and UPS are also exploring the use of blockchains to improve their own operations. Crypto currencies will undoubtedly play a role in bridging the cost of services in micropayments between companies and the IOT instruments used.
The use of crypto technology in its many forms will slowly become commonplace in everyday life. Stablecoins backed by major banks will serve as an alternative currency where speed and obligations become necessary. That is when payment is attached to a [smart] contract which is executed when the agreement is met. The Adoption of crypto currencies is almost inevitable due to the intimate possibilities of use they offer. Customizable, IA driven smart contracts and blockchain add to the potential of crypto technology.