Blockchain is taking the world by storm. Even people who do not fully understand what it is have at least heard of it, along with its sibling Bitcoin. The technology’s transparent public ledger and ability to remove intermediaries has the potential to disrupt numerous industries, ranging from FinTech and medical science to real estate and supply chain management. Its decentralized nature is also ready to revolutionize cybersecurity, ensuring an unprecedented level of data and financial safety.
Will blockchain become mainstream as early as this year? No. There are still too many issues with the technology, including scalability and energy usage. However, that does not mean the buzz is going to die down anytime soon. As long as talented engineers continue to develop the system, investors contribute to projects, and visionaries find ways to apply it, blockchain will indeed become mainstream sooner rather than later.
Investing in blockchain
One of the most popular methods for investing in blockchain projects is through Initial Coin Offerings. When companies want to establish their own crypto payment ecosystems, they generate their unique brands of digital tokens and crowdfund them to give them real value. It’s true that many ICOs in the past have been scams, but that does not seem to deter potential investors: HYPERLINK “https://www.coindesk.com/6-3-billion-2018-ico-funding-already-outpaced-2017/”CoinDesk reports that ICOs have raised more money in the first quarter of 2018 than the entirety of 2017; approximately $6.3 billion.
Most ICOs are open to the public, but their popularity has given rise to what HYPERLINK “https://medium.com/@AlanWunsche/rise-of-the-crypto-accredited-investor-ddf3ac02e0f”Alan Wunsche from TokenFunder dubs a “Crypto-Accredited Investor”:
“Crypto-finance investors combine technical experience with financial and capital markets experience. Many of us actually develop code and generally understand the ICO business models. Crypto-knowledgeable investors may not need the same protection as someone who doesn’t understand the technology.”
Accredited investors are “allowed” to take greater risks thanks to their secure financial positions, so these companies or individuals with enough resources are significant contributors to pushing blockchain into the mainstream. When investors are both financially powerful and technically literate, they have much stronger influence. HYPERLINK “https://cointelegraph.com/news/big-investors-will-make-all-hell-break-loose-in-crypto-in-2018-says-abra-ceo”CEO of Abra, Bill Barhydt, says:
“I talk to hedge funds, high net worth individuals, even commodity speculators. They look at the volatility in the crypto markets and they see it as a huge opportunity… once that happens, all hell will break loose. …Once the floodgates are opened, they’re opened.”
Who else is investing in crypto?
In 2013, an incubator and multi-city angel network known as BitAngels HYPERLINK “https://techcrunch.com/2013/05/27/60-investors-band-together-to-form-bitangels-the-first-multi-city-angel-network-incubator-for-bitcoin-startups/”launched to allow entrepreneurs a chance to invest exclusively in blockchain and cryptocurrency startups. Over 60 accredited investors joined the platform at its inception (there were 500 by July of 2015) and together pooled around $6.7 million in Bitcoin. They even partnered with Keiretsu Forum, one of the world’s largest investment communities.
Other companies have HYPERLINK “https://www.coindesk.com/bitangels-michael-terpin-on-the-long-road-ahead-for-bitcoin/”since followed: Tally Capital (BitFury, Xapo, BitPay), Digital Currency Group, and Pantera (21, BitPesa, Ripple Labs) have since risen to foster blockchain talent.
Where are these investors found?
Do most investors find ICOs online, do their research, and hope for the best? Amateur ones might, but doing so is especially difficult now that Facebook and Google have banned all crypto-related ads. No, the true accredited investors congregate in friendly blockchain-related spaces: events. Events provide opportunities for startups to present projects, thoughtful speaking engagements, networking, and connecting with potential collaborators.
One of the biggest events this year is the HYPERLINK “https://bwcevent.com/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=Search&utm_campaign=BWC&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgszWxd_C2wIVksBkCh1RhAwoEAAYAiAAEgJ35PD_BwE”Blockchain World Conference, scheduled for July 11-13 in Atlantic City. Educators, developers, technologists, exchange representatives, startups hosting ICOs, social media influencers, entrepreneurs, and yes, accredited investors will be (and are encouraged to be) in attendance. It is doubtful that a fraudulent ICO would participate in a professional event; Blockchain World Conference offers a safe and enthusiastic environment for possible investments.
What is preventing blockchain from becoming mainstream?
There are aspects of the technology itself worth investing in if blockchain is to become mainstream. Gaurang Torvekar, CTO from Indorse.io, HYPERLINK “https://www.techinasia.com/talk/discuss-blockchain-mainstream”says that the innovations the crypto space is currently focused on include: improved mining algorithms (such as Proof of Stake and Sharding, which will reduce energy consumption), scalability (the network’s ability to process numerous transactions simultaneously), and increased privacy (which benefits institutional players). Despite the technology’s advantages, the general public will not adopt the system until it becomes more user-friendly.
Blockchain will is going mainstream, but the process requires money and people who have faith in its potential. There are accredited investors who are believers, fortunately, and they are eager to give blockchain the opportunity and legitimacy for broader implementation.