Blockchain: the Best of 2018 and What to Expect in 2019
In the year 2018, we saw more improvements for blockchain.
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Blockchain has been the talk of the town for the last few years. The year 2017 was a groundbreaking year, considering that the price of Bitcoin reached nearly $20k. This indirectly helped make blockchain reach more people, and in the year 2018, we saw more improvements for blockchain.
In this article, we will be exploring the best news of blockchain in 2018 and speculate what to expect in 2019. Let’s get started.
Blockchain Improvements in 2018
To make sure that we can list information in the right way, we are going to divide the improvements into two categories, i.e. cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Let’s get started with the blockchain technology aspect first. We will also have a separate startup section where we will try to discuss how startups are trying to change the blockchain landscape.
If we compare blockchain technology to other technologies, we will find blockchain to be in its infant stage. Yes, it still has a long way to go when it comes to evolution or improvement. 2018 was a year of development and growth where blockchain saw advancements in almost every sector.
Bitcoin, the cornerstone of the blockchain technology, is slowly moving forward. To make Bitcoin more mainstream and accessible to everyone, the Bitcoin Lightning Network was in works. In late 2018, it saw massive improvements close to a public release. Right now, the Bitcoin Lightning Network is in the testing phase where it has been used by 300+ merchants to check its feasibility in the real-world scenario. That’s not all, as its core components including Neutrino and Lightning Network Daemon are also seen updates that are worth highlighting. The team behind the blockchain lightning network is also keen on working together as they released BOLTs specification.
Hyperledger was also in the news thanks to their initiative to improve blockchain technologies. It is an open-source project that aims to develop enterprise level blockchain framework. Big companies, such as IBM and Dell, are part of the initiative to improve the state of blockchain technologies used by companies and startups across the world.
EOS also achieves another important technological advancement in the blockchain. Even though their initial mainnet launch was not that great, they are slowly improving its systems. Their mainnet launch also meant that their ICO has finally over after a period of one and half years, which ended on June 1st, 2018. They managed to raise $4 billion.
There are many startups in 2018 that are aiming to use blockchain to solve problems. Few of them include the Oasis Labs, Sagewise, and so on. Startups are exciting considering they are trying to solve the problems that are not yet been tried yet. The three exciting startups that I think that can change blockchain or crypto landscape is Fidelity, Gemini, and Bakkt. Each of them is trying to solve blockchain or crypto problems in their way.
Cryptocurrencies play a significant role even though it is not directly connected with blockchain. Its price determines how miners react and power a blockchain. The price drop of bitcoin raised concerns among miners. It made many bitcoin miners give up on mining as their revenue fall as much as 22 percent. The hash rate difficulty also increased as much as by 26 percent, which means more investment from miners to get the same profit.
The total market capitalization also dropped from $750 billion to $143 billion at the time of writing.
Blockchain also saw a fair amount of regulations. Different countries reacted differently where many countries including Japan adopted blockchain completely. Countries such as India and China banned cryptocurrency, which had an adverse impact on the blockchain improvement and adoption.
A big player in regulations is the Securities and Exchange Commision(SEC). Their first big announcement came in the form of securities. They announced that ETH and BTC are not securities, which led to a price drop in both the cryptocurrencies.
Another big player included Blockchain LCC, which bought up lands in Nevada. They aim to improve blockchain technology by giving startups the necessary resources with a focus on improving customer’s rights intact.
What We Can Expect in 2019
2019 could be the year when blockchain technology takes a huge leap. We can see blockchain trends such as blockchain as a service(BaaS), the hybrid blockchain, federated blockchain, and so on.
With more and more startups trying to improve the blockchain landscape, we can be sure that we are moving in the right direction. Even enterprises are also keen on working with blockchain, and this is where open source platforms such as Hyperledger comes to play.
With Bitcoin getting an overhaul, we can see Bitcoin more in action compared to what it was in the past.
So, what do you think about the blockchain? Do you think it did well in 2018? And can it improve further in 2019? Comment below and share your thoughts!
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.