New York Blockchain Week 2019 has come and gone for the Big Apple. For most of the newer attendees consisting of government folks, corporate types, and the regular crypto newcomer, it was all about Consensus. And this year compared to last, there was almost a tangible difference. It was no longer about speculation, but real use cases and large institutional players entering the market. So, what does that mean for mass adoption?
The Price of Bitcoin Went Wild
Aside from all the hustle and bustle, events, and networking, Bitcoin making it to $8,000+ during the week put smiles on the faces of many traders. Finally, the markets got a break from the crypto winter and all types of industry players were there. From content creators like Kenn Bosak to noted traders like Tone Vas, and even lawyers flying in from the west coast and as far a Singapore.
Based on announcements made during the past week, there’s no denying mass adoption wasn’t just a catchphrase used back in 2016. This year, we saw both corporate and government come out–and the price of Bitcoin react accordingly. In fact, we’re now officially in a new crypto bull market.
Blockchain and off-chain companies made some pretty massive announcements from eBay to Whole Foods. One of the majors was Microsoft building on the Bitcoin blockchain. There’s no question, the crossover is happening.
Institutional Players Are Entering the Space
For any conference, no matter the industry, one thing holds true. Paying attention to the main stage is what you do when you want to hear the press release announcements. But when you want to listen to what’s really going on, that’s where the “hall-cons” come in. Well, that’s if you couldn’t make it into a private meeting room.
For Consensus, the Hilton’s lobby was where it was at. That’s where the buzz was happening. Lawyers were flying in from all over looking for corporate clients. IBM had a booth for the same reason. It’s about the brand association, and they realized they had to be there to engage with other established companies in the space.
Microsoft announced it’s building Digital Identification (DID) on the Bitcoin blockchain was huge. A well-established industry player embracing an anti-establishment technology is likely to be one of many catalysts to mass adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. MS has the power to take the technology to its huge corporate user base and, eventually, to end users.
Bitcoin, blockchain, Ethereum, crypto… these will no longer be just words that people feel like they’ve heard, but actual technologies they use in their daily lives. We’re starting to cross the chasm and more people in the space can only be a good thing for every project in it including Digitex. More users, more traders, and even more liquidity upon launch.
Even Legislation Is Shaping Up
Warren Davidson US Rep (R) Ohio sat on stage telling the audience about a bill called the Token Taxonomy Act. As he stated, it’s intended to give “legislative certainty, light touch that keeps the capital formation happening…”. Whether the bill passes and becomes law in its original version or not is a totally different story though.
SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, otherwise known as “Crypto Mom” had no news about Bitcoin Exchange Trading Funds (ETFs). But she was present and gave interviews. These are clear signs that the U.S. government’s position is changing, and mass adoption is coming. The gate guards are attending events they would have stayed clear of two years ago.
Another Sign of the Coming Change
Polymath held a one-day event right next door to Consensus. The most exciting thing to note as a sign that the blockchain market is turning around is the company that organized the event. It was a Canadian-based company called Untraceable. Tracy Leparulo’s brainchild was launched during the crypto winter of 2018.
If you’re not seeing the dots connect, here they are: Leparulo looked to start a company that deals explicitly with blockchain and crypto related events. During that time, the overall sentiment was low for the space.
Companies like ConsenSys were downsizing, while others were just closing their doors. This is a real-world example of secondary-layer business development. Companies like Untraceable provide services to companies that work directly with blockchains and cryptocurrencies. The ecosystem is growing.
Questioning the Hype
With all the corporate faces walking around Consensus, one could think there was no question of the establishment coming into the space. But there were still many who remained suspicious of the institutional-level money now coming in. They were asking the more critical questions about smart contracts and what they really mean in the context of the law.
The Bitcoin Center’s Satoshi Square had its own event hosted by Crypto Finally with special guest, former Congressman Ron Paul. The audience was ecstatic. Paul was one of the first politicians to be a supporter of Bitcoin and what it could do for everyday people and society as a whole. Having been in the political arena for so long, he made sure to bring up his concerns about allowing traditional financial institutions to come in.
Wrapping it Up
New York Blockchain Week 2019 wasn’t about schilling your idea of a product or token. In fact, depending on what event you attended, it was clearly stated no schilling allowed. It marked a lot of maturity in the space. There were plenty of positive announcements made at the various functions, as well.
More importantly, the writing is on the wall. The government, traditional tech, and financial institutions are all making their moves to get in.
Is mass adoption guaranteed by 2020? Probably not. But this past week in New York marks a noticeable change in the mainstream, corporate, and private sectors’ perception of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. And that, in itself, is huge.