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The end of 2018 was a rough time for the blockchain community, with the downturn of the crypto markets closing out the year on a sobering note. But we’ve turned the page into a new year, and it’s an opportunity for change and new developments for blockchain and crypto alike. According to Raja Sharif, the CEO of FarmaTrust, the future of blockchain is bright.

Investments and partnerships

For one, we’re about to see more institutional investment in blockchain ventures. Although the first wave of blockchain investors featured idealists and crowdfunding campaigns, we can look forward to bigger names and organizations entering the space this year. “There seems to be a clear mainstream acceptance of blockchain and its benefits by mainstream investors,” Sharif said. “Naturally, there will be those that still dismiss it as a fringe concept that does not require any attention… but the reality is that momentum is gaining for various blockchain initiatives.”

And more than just investing, Sharif also anticipates that we’ll see more solid partnerships between traditional companies and blockchain projects. 2018 saw the quick rise and abysmal fall of ICOs, and many blockchain companies floundered. But Sharif sees this as a kind of survival of the fittest. “Now that the mania phase of ICOs is pretty much over, the survivors are likely to be the next Apple, Google and Amazons of the sector,” he said. Those companies that do push through with a unique selling point or real solid added value will attract the attention of big investors and potential partners. “Many companies will buy blockchain companies to prevent competition. And there is likely to be consolidation in the sector, with those companies with complementary offerings coming together to increase market share,” Sharif noted.

Increased competition for blockchain companies

On a global scale, Sharif predicts that we can also look forward to more countries vying to be the home of up-and-coming blockchain companies. This means we can expect more progressive movement in countries that are rolling out the welcome mat for blockchain businesses. “Although Dubai, Switzerland, Singapore, Malta and Gibraltar moved quickly to attract this new wave of technology, I believe that there will be increasing initiatives to bring common regulations, government support and tax incentives around blockchain projects,” Sharif said. After all, tech giants like Microsoft once started out small, and everyone wants to get ahead of what is shaping up to be the next giant of the industry. “These projects will move from fringe, prototypes and PoCs to fully-established, working enterprise solutions. After all,” Sharif pointed out, “Which government would not want the next Uber, Google, Apple or Amazon in its constituency?”

Innovations in crypto

And as for crypto? There’s hope there, too. While it’s true that almost every currency took a major plunge in value as 2018 came to a close, Sharif foresees promise in many of the new, innovative approaches to alt-coins. “Experiments in stable coins, security tokens and regulatory approved sandboxes are likely to bear fruit in the coming year,” Sharif said. Furthermore, we could see migration from traditional markets into crypto. “With the increasing risky situation on the traditional markets, investors might look for innovative high growth companies to get greater returns.”

Of course, not everyone has been as optimistic as Sharif when it comes to the future of blockchain. The naysayers have really come out in recent weeks, citing industry layoffs and a continued bear market. But perhaps for those companies that weather the storm, 2019 will bring sunnier days for blockchain than ever before.

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