Welcome back to the weekly update from ListedReserve. Looking forward to 2019 with plenty in prospect for the blockchain space. Let’s take a look at what’s in store.
We featured the Bakkt exchange in our last update. They announced in a blog post on 31 December that they had completed a $182.5m first round of funding.
“I am pleased to confirm that we have completed our first round of funding of $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors who, like us, believe in the future of digital assets.”
If the amount were not impressive enough, the partners certainly are including the Boston Consulting Group, Microsoft’s VC arm, and Pantera Capital.
Again, Bakkt emphasised their focus on institutional access to the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. This will be really important for credibility and growth of the investor base, we’ll follow it closely.
Speculation continues that this year Facebook will seek to enable cryptocurrency payments on their WhatsApp platform. For those familiar with Wechat and Alipay in China, they now account for over 90% of mobile payments. The big chat platforms have a huge captive audience and Facebook doesn’t really monetise WhatsApp at present so this could be a terrific way of doing it without bombarding people with more ads. I don’t see Zuckerberg letting this opportunity pass.
The real question is which currency will Facebook use, an existing one or FB coin? I don’t really think it makes too much difference long term and will be enormously helpful in introducing people to the concept of digital value transfer.
2019 will likely see the the failure of many ICOs who raised money in 2017, so expect a firesale of table tennis tables. The technology that enabled ICOs though will be put to better use through tokenization, these offerings are often referred to as STOs (securitised token offerings).
Tokenization enables potentially infinite divisibility of previously illiquid assets. Expect bonds, equities, property and all manner of other assets to be converted to tokens. Why? because it will be far cheaper to manage ownership and transfer of assets this way, plus there is far more liquidity in a token than a share. For example, you cannot sell less than one share in a stock, with a token you can sell a tiny fraction.
Extending this concept, there is no reason that you won’t be able to exchange a token representing an ownership stake in a building for a cup of coffee via a mobile transaction. In fact, I fully expect this will happen.
There are plenty of regulatory hoops to jump through here and market participants will be keen to keep the SEC happy this time around, it might take time to get traction but once it has been successfully done it will be cookie cutter stuff for everyone else.
10 years on
When Bitcoin first launched in 2009 Satoshi Nakamoto included the headline from front page of The Times in the first bitcoin block. “Chancellor on Brink of second bailout for banks”. Debate rages about whether this was a deliberate swipe at the financial system or just a way of validating the date of the first block. In any event, Hong Kong exchange BitMex honoured the date by taking out the inside front and back covers of the Times on the 10th anniversary – here is the original and the BitMex offering.
Interesting the similarity of themes in the headlines ten years on. Furthermore, and just for fun, I should point out that The Times cost 81 Bitcoins in 2009 (roughly USD 308,000 today) and 0.00054 Bitcoins today.
Happy New Year!