AI Finance Awards 2018

Acquisition International - 2018 International Finance Awards 17 Cryptocurrency Outlook in developing a comprehensive and balanced regulatory framework for cryptocurrency. If institutions become more confident that regulations can help them meet their fiduciary duties, even small allocations from reputable endowments, pensions, and corporations could unleash a new wave of investment in cryptocurrencies. 3. Bringing the Technology to Scale Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are still developing the capacity to function at a mass scale, which will require processing tens of thousands of transactions per second. But technology such as Plasma, built on Ethereum, and the Lightning Network, a second layer payment protocol compatible with Bitcoin, are being tested, which could enable cryptocurrencies to execute faster, cheaper payments and settlements than any other payment method. Though developing applications that bring cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum to scale may not happen overnight, I think sooner or later; developers will get it right. Making cryptocurrency scalable would probably unleash an explosion of new applications. That would boost adoption by allowing consumers and businesses to more easily take advantage of cryptocurrency by seamlessly integrating it with debit and credit payment systems – again, to execute transactions, update mutual ledgers, execute contracts, and access records. Such financial activities would likely happen more quickly, cheaply, and efficiently than ever because there would be no banking intermediary needed to validate the transaction and take a cut of the fees. This could improve the cost and efficiency of commerce – between businesses, between businesses and consumers, between governments and consumers, between non-profits and consumers, and in every combination thereof. The seeds for this transformation of commerce have been planted, and like the internet before it, can innovate in ways we can’t fully anticipate. 4. Meeting Developing World Needs At its current technological stage, use of cryptocurrency adoption as a payment method could grow fastest in emerging markets, especially those without a secure, reliable banking infrastructure. Many consumers in such regions have a strong incentive to transact in cryptocurrency -- either because their country’s current banking payment system is inefficient and unreliable, and they lack a bank account altogether. Globally, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked. Two-Thirds of them own a mobile phone that could help them use cryptocurrency to transact and access other blockchain-based financial services. Data underscores the receptiveness of Developing World consumers to cryptocurrency as a transaction medium. The Asia Pacific region has the highest proportion of global users of cryptocurrency as a transaction medium (38%), followed by Europe (27%), North America (17%), Latin America (14%), and Africa/The Middle East (4%), according to a University of Cambridge estimate. Although the study’s authors caution that their figures may underestimate North American’s proportion of global cryptocurrency usage, they cite additional data from LocalBitcoin, a P2P exchange platform, suggesting that cryptocurrency transaction volume is particularly growing in developing regions, especially in: • Asia (China, India, Malaysia, Thailand) • Latin America (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela), • Africa/The Middle East (Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Turkey) • Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine). As more applications launch in the developing world to facilitate the use of cryptocurrencies to buy and sell goods and services at lower cost and in expanded markets -- and more young people receptive to such new technologies come of age -- cryptocurrency adoption could well rise exponentially. Remember The Internet - Investment Bubbles and Bursts Will Identify The Winners High volatility is inherent in the investment value of this nascent technology, due to factors including technological setbacks and breakthroughs, the impact of pundits, the uneven pace of adoption, and regulatory uncertainty. Bitcoin, for example, generated a four-year annualized return as of January 31st, 2018 up 393.8%, a one-year 2017 performance up 1,318% -- and year-to-date, down 52.1%. Bitcoin has experienced even larger percentage drops in the past, before resuming an upward trajectory. I believe roughly thirty percent of Bitcoin investors over the past half year are speculators since the cryptocurrency has dropped on the negative news by as much as a third. In my view, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will experience many more bubbles and bursts, in part, fuelled by speculators, who buy on greed and sell on fear. But as the dot-com era underscores, the bursting of an investment bubble may signal both a crash and the dawn of a new era. While irrational investments in internet technology in the 1990’s fuelled the dotcom bust, some well-run companies survived and led the next phase of the internet revolution. Similarly, despite periodic price crashes, I believe a small group of cryptocurrencies and other blockchain applications, including Bitcoin, will become integrated into our daily lives, both behind the scenes and in daily commerce. Overall, although “irrational exuberance” will continue to impact the price of cryptocurrencies, this disruptive technology represents the future not only of money but of how the world will do business.