A $100 investment in Bitcoin in 2009 would have been worth over $28 million as of Dec. 12, 2017. Only two months later, the father of cryptocurrencies — as of today, there are 1,384 — has dropped dramatically, losing roughly half of its value.
Bitcoin’s notorious market volatility and paralyzingly slow transaction times led payment processor Stripe to drop support for the cryptocurrency in January, ending a brutal month, in which many established coins, such as LiteCoin and Ethereum, became virtually indistinguishable from the hundreds of shitcoins – the…technical term for “altcoins” that became worthless over time or turned out to be scams, further reinforcing the false perception of crypto as a “Ponzi scheme.”
Despite the current downward trajectory, many investors and analysts remain surprisingly bullish on blockchain, the underlying technology that powers these currencies, with Hackernoon/Inc. Magazine writer Nicolas Cole boldly publishing an article titled, “2018 Will Be The Year Blockchain Technology Goes Mainstream. Here’s Why.” While Cole sees Ethereum, Bitcoin’s latest rival, eventually becoming the new leader in the crypto market, he also speculates that blockchain technology will lead to higher values for all the established coins.
Computing platform ArcBlock has emerged to help crypto engineers create and deploy blockchain applications for many new blockchain-powered technologies outside of the crypto space. IBM is a partner, and has publicly stated they believe blockchain tech will disrupt many markets, including real estate, logistics and agriculture.
Vnesheconombank (VEB), the Russian state-owned development bank, has finalized a deal with the regional government of Kaliningrad to launch a new blockchain-based payment system. They plan to collaborate to bring modern IT solutions to the region, focusing on emerging blockchain-based “social payments” and electronic services “to improve the efficiency of public and corporate governance.”
Russia has shown an ongoing interest in blockchain technology. In 2017, VEB unveiled a blockchain product strategy and a blockchain-focused research center, both aimed at improving the institution’s knowledge of the technology, while providing an environment to test and document potential use cases.
Russia isn’t the only region interested in blockchain tech. Most notably, Reuters recently published a report on the groundbreaking completion of an international agricultural trade implementing blockchain tech among five entities that included Louis Dreyfus Co., Shandong Bohi Industry Co, ING, Societe Generale and ABN Amro. The Easy Trading Connect (ETC) platform was tested with a transaction involving Louis Dreyfus as the seller and Bohi as the buyer. Russell Marine Group and Blue Water Shipping also participated in the process, issuing all required certificates. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided insights on how to include phyto-sanitary certificates in the process. The cargo: U.S. soybeans. The destination: China. The result:
“We noticed very significant efficiency gains … far beyond what we expected,” said Robert Serpollet, global head of trade operations at Louis Dreyfus, adding that time spent processing documents and data had been reduced “five-fold.”
Blockchain technology resulted in significant savings in both time and money in what these same naysayers labeling Bitcoin a Ponzi scheme call “the real world.”