My current role in a crypto business is the third blockchain business and the seventh disruptive start up I have been involved with, so I am an experienced passenger on the roller-coaster of adoption. As a regular industry commentator, I am often asked where we are at in the lifecycle, and what this means for crypto prices.
The major crypto-currencies are following a fairly classic S-curve of adoption, from slow early beginnings as the technology establishes itself, an acceleration phase (with a much steeper gradient) as it matures and, finally, to its stabilisation over time (typically with a flattening curve). Bearing in mind that blockchain, the foundation stone of crypto, is nearly twenty years old, it has been a long journey!
The Summer of 2020, despite most societal and economic norms falling away due to Covid, has seen crypto reign triumphant, and we are now at a tipping point, with the technology set to become the dominant trend.
The payments industry has pledged its allegiance. Mastercard and Visa have over 100 patents in blockchain technology between them. The latter is working closely with crypto platforms to bridge the gap between crypto and their 61 million merchants, who serve over a billion people. Paypal, similarly, has announced they intend to offer crypto to their 320 million users. Clearly, this is no longer a niche technology, and the world’s biggest payment infrastructure businesses are investing millions into making their businesses crypto compatible. This exponentially increases the audience for reputable crypto coins.
The titans of the banking industry, long cryptos most vocal critique, are coming to the table. Goldman Sachs, in August, announced it had hired a new global head to oversee its growing digit assets division, and was considering launching its own stable coin. At an institutional level, Fidelity has published a survey that found that over one third of institutional investors are exposed to crypto. For the investment industry to take crypto seriously, it has come of age as an asset class.
At a political level, crypto is making it presence known. The European Union has confirmed it will release a new set of rules by 2024, with the aim to streamline cross-border payments, by leveraging blockchain and crypto-assets. Coupled with 80% of central banks considering digitising their currency it is likely most people will soon be using digital assets. It seems the bureaucracts are being dragged kicking and screaming into the future, and at last, understand our industry, and the problems it can help solve.
All of these bursts of good news are filtering down to retail investors: the FCA reported in a recent research note that a not insignificant proportion of the adult UK population owns crypto assets — 5%, up approximately double from the previous year. It is worth noting that the majority of this growth is in the older audience; 69% of crypto owners are over 35 years old — this audience is investment savvy, and has experience both of incoming new technologies and previous recession cycles.
Crypto today feels to me both like the dawn of the riotous UK property market in the late 1990s or just before the dotcom era of the early noughties. A quick glance at the Sunday Times Rich list will tell you how both those trends panned out!! In my opinion the world is already starkly divided into those who understand crypto and those who do not. Financial literacy will make a stark difference in the returns in the coming 2–5 years for retail investors; educate, therefore, or be left behind.
Adventures of a unicorn is a business blog documenting the daily life of tech startup in hypergrowth. Dacxi is a unique crypto business in the crowd lending space.
All views expressed in this blog are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now or will be affiliated.