The cryptocurrency market was on a tear in 2017, and 2018 looks like it will be even bigger. Blockchain tech has made its way into the mainstream, even though the only people who use it are drug dealers and traffickers. It has gained its notoriety through Bitcoin, the largest of the cryptocurrencies that use this underlying technology. Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, has been on a tear lately, eating into the market share of Bitcoin. Mainstream adoption has included coworkers sending me Dilbert cartoons about blockchain implementation and the editors of Dilbert actually creating the cartoon. Variations of the technology have created an ICO bubble, with too many competing tokens, coins, and currencies. The staggering market capitalization of the crypto world is over $700 billion at the time of writing, and the exponential growth in 2018 should continue with many of the utility tokens coming to market. Many of these companies will be releasing their products around March. I suspect we will have industry disruption this year, and it couldn’t happen at a better time. Several companies have released their products already, and the use cases are overwhelming. There are many of these companies out there, but one that I am an investor in is Propy. I participated in the ICO because Propy is a company that allows you to buy and locate real estate on the blockchain from around the globe. The PRO token allows you to buy and sell property all over the world in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. Propy has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, several Dubai editorials, and a host of other mainstream publications. It was recently launched on Huobi, an exchange centered around the Asian markets, which took the average volume from 1 million to around 28 million.
The newest technology that I see entering the ICO and blockchain world is in companies that specialize in decentralized, peer-to-peer exchanges. What we saw with Coinbase and many of these centralized exchanges is that insiders still have the ability to front run markets. Look for these peer-to-peer exchanges to make major runs in 2018. This will hopefully mend the mismanagement of this new space and fix the problems that we face in the regular financial market, where market makers buy options and slam stop losses to get volatility. Banks and financial markets will stop at nothing to keep this market contained, as evidenced by several major crypto companies owning 10+ bank accounts in an attempt to move money around. Banks suspend accounts, locking people out from playing this game and trying to slow down the momentus growth. Unfortunately, in the crypto space, fiat for crypto and paying taxes in fiat are weak links. The banks still control fiat, which gives them control over this new industry. This has recently happened in Australia, where several banks have shut down user accounts that were associated with cryptocurrencies. Australian banks include Northern Australia Bank, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Westpac. The user agreements stated that they did not allow international money transfers to destination accounts that were connected to fraud. Other banks are willing to do cryptocurrency transactions, but they do freeze accounts on occasion to verify money was not withdrawn fraudulently. I believe that the world is changing, the big institutions see what’s happening, and they will end up being open to what’s happening because they will not be able to control the mass change forever.