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I'd like to take the time to reflect on the crazy year that was 2017 for cryptocurrency investors, and weigh in on what we've learned over the past year, while also making a few predictions for the future.
One year feels like a decade in crypto, and so many various forces finally cumulated together in 2017 that we had an explosion of activity that left me feeling both exhausted and exhilarated. We saw LTC go on Coinbase, we saw an ICO rush with new issues like Bancor raising 150mil in 3 hours, we saw the absurdity that is cryptokitties crushing the ETH network, we saw Bitcoin Cash and the shitshow surrounding that, we saw Segwit and the long awaited Bitcoin futures. I will always remember where I was at the moment I watched Bitcoin pass $10,000 on GDAX. I will never forget the sweat as I watched the Gemini Auction for my BTC and then waiting for the payment to settle. And I will never forget the flurry of questions, advice seeking and inquiries from people in December as the media spotlight made cryptocurrencies a mainstream concern. We've come a long way, from the days of being considered oddball technogeeks to now being the vanguard of early adopters.
Some major trends in 2017 and lessons learned
- The Mainstreaming of Cryptocurrencies: This was the year that the "normies" entered crypto in astounding numbers, especially later in the year and cumulating in December. From Ice Tea companies to my hairdresser, everyone wanted to be involved in crypto. New naive money will continue to pump into the market this year, and its important we welcome them while also keeping their expectations grounded in reality. Encouraging new investors with stories of how they can double their investment in a week is not a sustainable method of keeping them interested in crypto.
- ICO Craze: For many 2017 was the year that the ICO. People made a ton of money by getting into ICOs early before a coin became hyped by the marketing efforts. Sites like ICOBench sprung up and provided people an easy way to find new ICOs to invest in, and those who got in could get a handsome profit by buying the coins for pennies then selling them for dimes a few months later at an exchange, with many ICOs offering pre-sale discounts for early registrations. I suspect that this trend will actually die out in 2018 as there seem to be way too many coins coming out now and they won't all be able to pump, we're already seeing ICOs recently getting dumped hard the moment they start trading on an exchange.
- The rapid development of altcoin investment: At the beginning of the year the marketcap for altcoins as just $2 billion. By the end of 2017 it grew to over $370 billion. This was the year that investing in cryptos became about more than just Bitcoin. We saw an explosion of new promising altcoins, Binance launched in July, LTC was added to Coinbase and Ethereum really came into its own as a dominant force. I suspect that this focus on altcoins will continue as its now easier than ever to research and obtain them.
- Resilience in the face of regulation: China banned initial coin offerings and bitcoin exchanges in the first weeks of September. The ban caused a precipitous drop in cryptocurrency flows worldwide and invoked panic within me, with Bitcoin going down to almost $3K. However we recovered surprisingly quick. This is why I wasn't too concerned with the recent news that Korea may crack down on exchanges. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized and distributed, and while government actions certainly can hurt the price in the short term, I think any attempts at increased crackdowns will result in a recovery within a few months. Crypto seems to be a lot more resilient than most people realize to laws trying to destroy it, so don't freak out when you hear a story about increased regulation in the Far East.
- Institutional money coming in: We saw the speculation of an ETF not come to fruition, but in December the CME Group and CBOE started trading futures on Bitcoin. The lead up to this event and the subsequent decline and relative stabilization of Bitcoin will lead to a cascade of effects. We now have a genuine price discovery mechanism that will put downward pressure on BTC with its futures contracts. McAfees predictions of a million dollar BTC are not going to come to fruition now that you can short it.
- Chase for the "next bitcoin": Lambo psychosis dominated and continued into the new year with nearly every coin in the top 100 showing a steep parabolic rise. This is actually something a lot of long term investors find deeply troubling, because now people are hungry for crazy x10 gains within a month and that is simply unsustainable.
Some predictions for the year 2018Decline for Bitcoin
I have a long-standing emotional connection to Bitcoin and really do want it to succeed. But by now even the early adopters have come to accept how far away we are from the original vision of the currency. We are now seeing a decrease in adoption among ecommerce sites, which a sad state of affairs. I'm not so confident that Lighning will be enough at this point. Lightning likely wont be here for at least another 1-2 years and the problem will be user adoption. Segwit gave users a 40% discount on fees, and was a relatively simple upgrade, yet its 2018 and only 8% of transactions come from Segwit addresses. LN is way more difficult to implement, so don't expect it to be useful for at least a year after release. Core developers should have followed through with the New York Agreement and increased the blocksize to 2 MB. It's actually much more practical to scale BTC through miners than users, as most miners abide by the rules of a small set of mining pools and use the same software. Segwit2X was doomed to failure but it had 90% support among miners before the campaign against it started, and even after it had over 70% miner support. I think 70% miner support before a fork is vastly better for initiating a change than 8% user support.
Core team really needs to wake up right away and realize that the continual declines in market dominance are a reflection of Bitcoins failure to find utility, and that the first movers advantage and name brand will not last forever. Unless it solves the problem of insane transaction fees, ballooned mempool size, long transaction times and most of the accounts not even being able to afford to move the balance out I don't see BTC doing anything but declining in market dominance.
Ethereum will become an even more dominant force
I can see the long awaited flipening come in 2018. Ethereum already processes way more transactions than anything else, it already is basically THE platform for new coins and powers so much of the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem. The Constantinople fork and Casper Proof-of-Stake changes should take care of the TPS limitations for the next few years, and I expect to see an explosion of dApps in 2018. Ethereum has tons of developer support behind it and POS means people will want to hold it for the long term. Its already become my #1 core/safe-haven position and I think a 3-5K range in 2018 is completely reasonable.
The emergence of transactable business-oriented blockchains
The last few years were about theory and technological innovation, but I think 2018 will be the year that cryptocurrencies finally start to demonstrate value in solving business problems.
Ultimately a cryptocurrency is pointless if it doesn't solve some transactional problem or alleviate some inefficiency in the value-exchange process. There are several sectors/cases for business users that are ripe for blockchain technology: supply chain, settlement layers between intercurrency transactions, payment processing, offloading processing tasks onto blockchains, identity management...etc.
I expect that transactable coins that actually have functionality will be the big winners. ICX, WTC, VEN, NEO, XLM and others that target enterprise-oriented use cases will likely be the focus over the next year.
The rise of a DAG coin as a standard for transfers between exchanges, most likely Raiblocks (XRB)
Lets be perfectly honest: Right now the vast majority of transactions being conducted on the blockchain is simply moving cryptos around various exchanges. Its quite a nerve-wracking process, watching thousands of dollars sitting unconfirmed on the blockchain explorer for hours is not a pleasant experience. If you move your balances a lot you will end up losing substantial money to transfer fees. This is why I can see a light fast DAG becoming a standard for inter-exchange transfers of funds, specifically XRB after it gets listed on Binance. Being a DAG the process of onboarding isn't as simple as just adding another ERC20 coin, but once the Raiblocks team figures this out on Binance I suspect that adoption will follow quickly to other exchanges. The quick transactions speed and no cost will make it the ideal coin to exploit arbitrage between less liquid and more liquid markets.
The rise of "dividend" coins"
The next year should be one where the stretched valuations are questioned, and those coins that pay out a form of dividend and can thus be easily valued will become a safe harbor. NEO, EOS, ARK, VEN,OMG among others should gain favor. We actually saw NEO do particularly well in this recent downturn. I expect to see a lot more also following this dividend payment model.
**The move away ...
Every once in a while, this questions pops out:submitted by CryptoGuard to Particl [link] [comments]
What makes Particl stand out from its competition, and why is it better?I thought I'd make a quick rundown on my opinion on the matter!
Private-by-Design? Built With Privacy in Mind from the Ground Up!Unlike all of its competition, Particl is built from the ground up to be entirely private/anonymous, following the true crypto roots. To accomplish this difficult prowess, it uses several methods to keep its users within an optimal privacy environment, such as the RingCT and CT privacy protocols, metadata stripping, IP address anonymization through Tor (and many more protocols in the future, including Dandelion++), private escrow system with no intermediate, encrypted and private messaging (using SMSG and eventually more scalable and leading-edge DSNs such as Loopix, IPFS, and etc), and much more. With all the data leaks and hacks, privacy is becoming more and more mainstream (link to case for privacy).
Furthermore, we all see that the government and big companies have developed very effective blockchain tracking software that makes tracking public cryptocurrency transactions quite trivial. Indeed, it may be just as bad in terms of privacy to use a public blockchain than say, a bank or payment processor. This is why having a product built with privacy in mind right from the start (vs patching privacy into a non-private blockchain) is extremely important. Every day, the "if you have nothing to hide, you don't really need privacy" kind of thinking is becoming obsolete as people realize just how much privacy is important even for "good behaving" people. Plus, there is definitely some kind of people that do require a more private environment, which they’ll want to use a solution that’s been designed with this as a prime aspect.
But why does that even matter?As broken down in an earlier article of mine, privacy is becoming a hot subject in the mainstream world. Gone are the days where privacy was associated to people who had “things to hide”.
In light of the recent and now too regular cyber attacks on tech giants like Equifax, Facebook, Deloitte, Yahoo, FedEx, Uber, Under Armour or even Pizza Hut, the poor communication and, even in some cases, cover-up of the unfortunate facts, the public confidence towards the tech industry has been severely eroded within the last couple of years. -The Case for Privacy in the Tech IndustryBreaches of personal data are becoming far too common, and a good solution to fight this issue is to stop sharing your data with big companies that do not respect your private life. However, opting for blockchains instead can be just as bad, if not worse, than relying on trusting a big corporation. Why you ask? Because blockchains are usually open for all to see by default. Indeed, transactions on public blockchains are getting easier to track by the day, and for vendors and buyers alike, this isn’t good. Buyers obviously don’t want everyone to know what they’re buying and just how many coins they hold, information that could be obtained simply by analyzing a decentralized marketplace based on a public blockchain. Vendors, on the other hand, do not want anyone to analyze their sales data, statistics, and revenues.
Particl is built as a private-by-default marketplace, meaning that users do not need to go through several steps to protect their personal data. Everything happens automatically, under the hood, and as smoothly as you would expect from a public blockchain.
Built as a 100% Decentralized & Trustless SolutionAnother advantage is that the Particl Marketplace is designed as a 100% decentralized and trustless solution, which most of its competitors aren’t. Just as an example, Syscoin's Blockmarket interface is closed-source and moderated by Syscoin staff. Escrows on Syscoin are arbitrated, meaning there needs to be someone acting as escrow agent in case a deal turns sour. This can quickly lead to bias, collusion, or other similar types of issue born from the simple fact that a third-party basically has full power over the settlement of a dispute. Talking to various vendors, this quickly becomes an issue for vendors on eBay, for example, because eBay/Paypal will most of the time side with the buyer, even when it shouldn’t.
On Particl Marketplace, there is literally no counter-party at play. The escrow is based on smart-contract functionalities and uses the MAD game-theory to keep both parties honest, no moderator required to settle disputes. The marketplace itself will be entirely governed by the community, making sure no person or group of person is held liable for the content published on it or collude with either vendors or buyers. This is much closer, in my personal opinion, to the original, crypto-anarchist vision and reason of why Bitcoin was created in the first place.
Fun fact, did you know that Satoshi Nakamoto had started working on a 100% trustless and decentralized marketplace and that there was even some code about it in some Bitcoin's repository?
Much Better & Intuitive User InterfaceParticl has a beautiful UI/UX that is built with accessibility and ease-of-use in mind. This top of the line wallet looks modern, slick, and is very easy to understand as well as being very smooth and responsive. The same can’t be said of most wallets in the crypto sphere, most of them being far too geeky or barebone to be used by mainstream, non-crypto users.
Additionally, Particl plans on developing a web & mobile interface at some point in the future, which they already have a good idea of how they would go about it. In order to break into the mainstream, the marketplace will need to be as easy to use as any other online eCommerce platform, therefore a web and mobile interface are absolutely required. While this isn’t currently part of the roadmap, it certainly is a milestone the team plans on tackling after the mainnet release of Particl Marketplace.
Particl Marketplace Alpha:
The Coin Actually Makes Sense to HoldThe Particl coin is one of many perks. While it currently still is at the mercy of speculators, it is designed to eventually decouple from the speculation and get its value organically through the demand the marketplace will generate for it.
It first serves as a privacy coin, with CT already on mainnet and RingCT on testnet (currently being academically reviewed by the NJIT Dept. of Technology). Particl is indeed the first coin ever to modify RingCT, the privacy protocol made popular by Monero, so that it could be implemented on top of the Bitcoin codebase (or any codebase other than Cryptonote, for that matter). This implementation will unlock RingCT’s potentialby making it possible to be used in smart-contracts and decentralized applications as well as over the Lightning Network (that of which Particl is working on), atomic swaps and advanced multi-signatures. We all know how Monero is a great privacy coin, and Particl is actually taking it a bit further by adding utility features to this great privacy protocol (RingCT) and supporting it with a truly decentralized infrastructure. Imagine if Monero, in all its greatness, could have its own marketplace that cannot be shut down or censored…That alone is a huge reason why Particl is a great coin to hold.
It can also be used as a nice passive income source . Indeed, you can cold stake your PART coin using PPoS (Particl Proof-of-Stake, which has cold staking and hardware cold staking (cold staking on Ledger Nano S) enabled) and make a minimum of 4% yearly interest (that decreases over time until it stabilizes at 2% in 2 years). On top of that, stakers will earn 100% of the listing fees, as well as transaction fees, and of course, all revenue derived from the other Particl dApps. One thing that is often overlooked is how Particl is a decentralized application platform, but doesn’t offer tokens. This ultimately means users looking to use Particl’s applications generate demand for the PART coin, even though the Particl platform is designed to accept almost any coin and (eventually) more traditional means of payments.
The Particl coin is also used as "gas" required to run Particl smart-contracts and is used as the de facto currency in the Particl Marketplace. In fact, Particl Marketplace does accept almost any coin , either through the use of atomic swaps (already on mainnet since 2017) or through third-party implementations (i.e. Changelly). The “catch” though is that the escrow needs to use PART to keep users private (because it requires RingCT and the escrow actually is a Particl smart-contract), so even when shopping on the marketplace using Bitcoin or your favorite coin, they end up being automatically transferred into Particl with no extra step required by the user. In other words, even using other coins to purchase items off the marketplace generates demand for the PART coin.
Finally, but not least, PART coins also grant users moderation powers over the Particl Marketplace as well as the ability to vote on any community proposal through the decentralized governance system. In fact, no central authority, company, or team has moderation powers over the marketplace. Particl instead delegates that power to the very community using the platform. This is a much more scalable (no need to hire staff), secure (no legal liability put on moderators), and fair (the very users of the marketplace are the one with the power to steer the ship) way to do it.
Particl is Much More Than a Decentralized MarketplaceIn the end, Particl is actually much more than just a marketplace, it is a full-blown privacy-focused dApp platform. Indeed, the team has put in its roadmap the release of a developer SDK toolkit which will allow any developer out there to easily build their own application on Particl. Whether it be a social media/Twitter-like application, a decentralized gambling Dapp, or even the addition of a penny auction section to Particl Marketplace, the SDK will truly allow the network to grow into much more than just a decentralized marketplace.
The goal here is not to directly compete with other smart-contract platforms like Ethereum, it’s more about being a decentralized platform where dApps can all be interacted with directly from the wallet in order to create something akin to perhaps an operating system. Imagine the wallet (Particl Desktop) as an Android OS and each Particl dApps as Android applications. The Particl Desktop wallet is kind of like the wrapper which contains the dApps that make the Particl decentralized economy, and these applications are designed to fit right into it in a very intuitive and user-friendly fashion (in contrast to other Dapp platforms which are generally pretty barebone).
One of Particl's goal is to take crypto a step further by not only decentralizing currency, but also to decentralize the entire infrastructure surrounding said currency (and that, obviously, includes the eCommerce infrastructure on which the coin can be spent).
Top-Tier Development TeamThe Particl development team is definitely a top-tier team. They are indeed ranked 6th in one of the most thorough code quality review ( https://medium.com/darpalrating/darpalrating-github-audit-for-200-blockchain-projects-march-2018-3c6b839abdaa ) that did review up to 200 coins (in comparison, Syscoin is currently ranked 36th, BitBay is 192nd, Safex is not even active enough to be ranked). The code quality review takes a lot of things into account, and disregards community and marketing, solely focusing on the code itself. This is something the Particl team is extremely proud of! Indeed, the Particl team was the first reach accomplish many achievements such as true cold staking, hardware cold staking (Ledger + cold staking), first blockchain to be natively implemented with Segwit, first to implement the RingCT and CT protocols on top of the Bitcoin codebase, and always the first to update it's codebase (currently on 0.16.0.2 with 0.17 ready on testnet) to the latest Bitcoin Core version (after Bitcoin itself, of course). They have had a lot of other accomplishments as well, though they were not the first to execute them. It is, overall, a very talented team that is not afraid to push the limit while never sacrificing privacy, security and decentralization.
To see the incredible development work made over time, watch the Github visualization videos included in this blog post: https://particl.news/particl-development-timeline-video-520d8f9c0513
Particl Project Development Timeline
Many Decentralized Marketplaces Could and Probably Will Co-ExistAs we are seeing with privacy coins right now, a lot of them are identical or almost identical, yet each of these coins has their own dedicated community. Same thing with eCommerce platforms. We have Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Etsy, and etc…all co-existing and making profits within their own community or niche. I think we'll see the same happen with decentralized marketplaces. Wise vendors won't limit their business to one platform, as that would end up limiting their potential customer base. Instead, I see many decentralized marketplaces all co-existing and all sharing a share of the decentralized marketplace industry. This is not a winner take all kind of scenario, as long as a marketplace can offer good features, good UI/UX, low or no fees, and of course, products for sale AND customers, these platforms stand a chance to survive even though they are not alone in this space.
What I do find very interesting in Particl compared to other decentralized marketplaces is how its native coin is designed to be scarce and in high demand. As such, even a small volume of marketplace transactions could increase the value of Particl considerably. That is because:
Third-Party Building on the Particl Protocol (Mubiz)Another big thing about Particl too is that Mubiz, a decentralized marketplace aggregator and web gateway, is actually working on implementing the marketplace. What this means is that Mubiz will render the marketplace available on the web only a few days after its initial release and will offer its customers a whole array of services not readily available on Particl Desktop. These services include escrow management on behalf of the user (read…no need to deal with the escrow, all in the background and the user experience is no different than eBay), customer support & product returns, shipping management (vendors can ship their products to Mubiz), traditional means of payments (credit/banking cards, eventually Paypal and other fiat payment methods), reviews, SEO for listings, and etc.
Mubiz currently only operates with OpenBazaar, and Particl will be the second marketplace they’ll be hosting on their platform. They mentioned in an interview I conducted with Albin, Mubiz’s Founder, that they had identified issues with OpenBazaar (since it’s the first decentralized marketplace ever, it does have flaws that can be improved upon) that were not present or that were fixed with Particl, hence why they’ve decided to integrate the marketplace into its platform.
Mubiz is, in my opinion, going to provide a crucial set of services that will make Particl as easy to use as eBay or Amazon. The only difference? Vendors will be making more money (they will make 100% of the sales proceeds), in turn allowing them to lower their prices to score more sales and outplay their competitors. The end result is more profits for the vendor, more sales, and cheaper prices for the customer. Surely this should be an attractive solution for most?
What’s your biggest reason why you think Particl stands out from its competitor? I most probably forgot some stuff in there, so curious to see what you all think!
submitted by blockspin to Bitcoin [link] [comments]
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