What a month it’s been… The irrational exuberance in me is desperate to rattle off a hundred reasons why Ethereum, Bitcoin and others are going to change the world, but now is not the time. We are seeing a bubble that dwarfs the Bitcoin rally and subsequent crash of 2013…
But the famous last words – “this time it’s different” – may actually have some merit, as for the first time ever, a number of cryptoassets are demonstrating value beyond simple speculation.
This week was awash with major industry conferences in the United States; including Ethereal 2017, Consensus 2017 and Token Summit (New York – May 25th). These conferences, combined with recent global developments seem to have fuelled the latest explosion in cryptoasset and Ethereum adoption. Ethereum’s price and “market cap” has near quadrupled in weeks. Here’s my take on a handful of the latest developments:
1. Enterprise Ethereum Alliance
This week started as it was meant to go on. The EEA, which held a summit earlier this year, announced that they had added a handful of new founding members to their board, including Credit Suisse, ING and BP among others. The EEA sets out to collaborate on blockchain use-cases in a private (“consortium”) setting, however new innovations and technologies are openly shared with the public blockchain (and vice versa).
2. ShapeShift announces Prism
Popular cryptoasset exchange ShapeShift – which allows frictionless trading of tokens like Ethereum and Bitcoin – announced earlier this week that it had launched its Prism exchange (currently in beta). Prism is a cryptoasset portfolio platform which operates on a network of smart contracts with no counter-party risk (smart contracts are – in theory – highly secure). The base currency of this new platform is Ethereum, which is used as collateral for making trades on the platform. Bitcoin is also expected to be integrated following the live release of Rootstock (expected later this year) which enables smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain.
3. Token sale hype
Those looking to invest in blockchain startups and platforms are able to do so through a “token sale”, often referred to as an “initial coin offering” (ICO). Access to these investments require that the investor sends Ether (or Bitcoin) to a specific address in return for tokens of the business or platform. A number of hugely successful token sales from the likes of Gnosis, TAAS, Aragon and Storj.io has attracted new investors and in-turn increased demand for Ether and Bitcoin. Note, these platforms have yet to generate any “real” return beyond trader speculation.
4. Update May 25th: Mystery “mainstream” initiative revealed
Chat service Kik announced its plans for launching a new token built on the Ethereum blockchain. Kik’s token – “Kin” – will be launched as an ICO in summer 2017 in an effort to generate a new “ecosystem of digital services” for its millions of users. The full story can be found on the Kik blog.
As we touched upon earlier in May – there are plenty of other stories to be excited about. Here are a couple more noteworthy mentions:
- Fidelity CEO explains why blockchain will ‘change’ markets
- Bistamp exchange has announced plans to list Ethereum in the coming months
How to buy Ethereum
Over the last few weeks I’ve received several emails per day requesting details on how best to purchase Ethereum. Unfortunately, it really is not straightforward. For that reason, I am currently working on some short documentation that will provide information on purchasing and securing this cryptoasset. The docs will also provide high level insight into the basics of Ethereum, why it has value and the protocol’s development roadmap for the months ahead.
To sum up the exciting future in front of us, I’d like to share this quote from Erik Vorhees – ShapeShift Founder and CEO…
Some day, we imagine, nearly all financial infrastructure will be built upon open, objective, non-discretionary code. The ability of a human to decide not to fulfill a transactional obligation (either by mistake or malice), will seem quaint. Inevitably, an economy is more efficient, honest, productive and fair to the extent it is built upon the laws of code and mathematics, instead of the laws of men. Pre-blockchain, that was impossible. Upon products like Prism (itself built upon the pioneering work of blockchain protocol engineers), it is our hope that some day it won’t merely be possible, but indeed the expectation, that finance itself becomes provably fair; not by the decree of politicians, but by the demanded security and supplied innovation of a marketplace set free. Society deserves nothing less.