Marcus Swanepoel, CEO at Luno gives his insights into the future of bitcoin and how digital currencies are going to evolve.
“One big challenge we believe the industry still faces is that of instant gratification. Everyone wants cryptocurrency to be the same or better than the existing financial system overnight. The reality is that the existing financial system was built over hundreds – if not thousands – of years and we’re not going to build a new financial infrastructure overnight. While we believe that cryptocurrency will one day be all of these things (and more), we need to be patient and take it one step at a time. The stakes are high and it would be irresponsible and potentially outright dangerous to rush things.
Despite talks of a ‘crypto winter’, which tend to be fixated on the price, we’re gearing up for an exciting year ahead.
More regulators around the world are providing clarity for cryptocurrency companies to operate either within existing frameworks or with new licenses. This will help increase trust, weed out most (if not all) of the bad actors, and form the foundation for large-scale institutional money to come into the crypto ecosystem.
While we don’t believe we’ll see mass institutional adoption in 2019, we do believe that there will be some early movers like Fidelity, and BAKKT (who, interestingly, also attracted investment from our own lead Series A investor, Naspers) that will get the momentum started. We do, however, see smaller fintech and other tech companies entering the space via partnerships with existing cryptocurrency companies like Luno.
The much anticipated ‘real use cases’ of cryptocurrency will start showing some skin in 2019. This is driven to a large extent by the amount of infrastructure that was built by major cryptocurrency players across the world in 2018, as well as addressing many of the scaling issues of the past.
Don’t expect miracles or ‘killer apps’ – we know by now that cryptocurrency itself is already the ‘killer app’. But, what we will see is more implementation of use cases that are used in niche products, services and communities, in particular where they demonstrate things that cryptocurrency does that the existing financial system cannot do at all (for example, immutability, traceability and so on) and in countries that don’t have a highly developed or competitive financial infrastructure, in particular emerging markets.”