By Khadija Azhar | Cryptocurrency may attract divisive opinions, but it has played a pivotal role in pushing blockchain technology and its disruptive influence on the global economy to the forefront of our cultural discourse. Industries all over the world have forever been changed in the past few years, as businesses are applying blockchain tech in increasingly innovative ways.
With help from Funderbeam, Tech.eu, and Oddup, Hong Kong-based investment firm Click Ventures recently released its inaugural Blockchain Ecosystem Report to detail developments within this space, from emerging players to current market leaders. The report uses data from multiple sources, including social media profiles, media outlets, blogs, and startup company websites. The data is then structured and run through fine-tuned algorithms to maximize credibility.
Click Ventures Founder and Managing Partner Carman Chan explains the intent behind the report is to monitor developments in blockchain tech given its potential to revolutionize all industries.
The report’s findings can be summarized as follows:
- BlockOne, a Hong Kong-based company producing EOSIO blockchain platforms for the development of decentralized applications, raised US$ 4 billion with its Initial Coin Offering (ICO)–the highest amount ever to be raised in an ICO
- Most ICOs with the highest earnings were recorded in the first half of 2018; there was a slowdown in the second half, as the cryptocurrency market crashed and firms adopted Security Token Offerings (STOs) over ICOs
- The U.S. attracted the least amount of ICO funding in 2018, while Asia bagged the third spot and Europe the second; the rest of the world collectively raised the highest aggregate ICO funding
- In terms of industry, financial services had the highest number of ICOs in 2018, while Cyber Security ranked second, and big data and AI ranked third
- Various regulatory changes about cryptocurrency were implemented throughout numerous countries and can be accessed here
Project Lead Frederick Ng points to the decline of ICOs in the second quarter as one of the more striking trends observed in 2018. He also mentions Asia’s transformation into a core blockchain region, citing initiatives in Singapore and Hong Kong, which he predicts will gain more traction as Asia develops a robust legal framework for blockchain use.
“As regulators across Asia push out clearly defined guidelines regarding tax, token classifications, investor participation, etc., more projects will likely be attracted to the region,” he explains.
According to Ng, an interesting point to note in the coming year is how corporations are considering using blockchain technology to streamline their processes. For example, JP Morgan and Santander seem interested in digital tokens to conduct cross-border payments.
Despite the burgeoning potential of blockchain tech, it’s still in the nascent stages of development. Not only are blockchain networks slow in processing transactions compared to Visa or PayPal, but information stored on different platforms is not transferable between protocols. Privacy is another area of concern, since all blockchain network users can preview past transactions and activities. Although considerable progress has been made within the ecosystem, concrete results are yet to be seen.
“Much capital has been poured into the space and projects need to start producing some form of working products to prove blockchain’s real value to the world” Ng adds.
As the world settles into a new year, the hope is that these issues will be addressed to facilitate more creative applications of blockchain tech. It can undoubtedly help the global economy innovate at an unprecedented pace if implemented sustainably.