At the end of 2018 there are more than 2,000 crypto assets, compared to around 640 in January 2017. Photo: iStock
At the end of 2018 there are more than 2,000 crypto assets, compared to around 640 in January 2017. Photo: iStock

It was almost to be expected. When cryptocurrency charts went parabolic at the end of 2017, a market crash was virtually inevitable. What few expected was that the crash would last the entire following year. Despite this, industry experts remain optimistic, and have their reasons why 2019 will be much brighter for the crypto industry.

In the run-up to the new year, a number of prominent figures in the crypto and blockchain industry spoke to the media about their predictions and thoughts for the coming year. Among them was PwC China and Hong Kong’s Henri Arslanian, who told Bloomberg that a greater number of banks and institutional investors were expected to enter the space in 2019.

Arslanian thinks some will seek new partnerships with existing crypto firms while others will unveil their own products and digital currency related services. He also anticipates much more investment in the sector, citing the Goldman-backed Circle as a prime example.

These sentiments echo those made by Coinbase chief executive Asiff Hirji, who told CNBC that 2019 will “continue to be a good year for institutions heading into crypto.”

Hirji continued with his consistent message that clearer regularity is needed, especially in the US where waters have been muddied by mixed signals from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Larger investors will have a greater layer of comfort with clearer and better defined regulation, he predicted. Hirji added that there are some bipartisan initiatives trying to make the US more competitive when it comes to crypto assets

Regarding the year-long bear market he stated that it has “cleared out some of the noise” from the sector, referring to the slew of spurious initial coin offerings (ICOs) that flooded markets at the beginning of the year. Many of these have now fallen by the wayside having emptied their war chests after failing to meet their targets.

A cleaning of the digital wheat from the chaff is necessary for crypto and blockchain projects to survive and prosper. A glance at now reveals that there are over 2,000 crypto assets compared to around 640 in January 2017.

PwC’s Arslanian also talked up stablecoins, which are digital currencies pegged to fiat ones. There will be more of these emerging in 2019, he said, along with security tokens which are backed by tradable assets such as real estate or commodities.

As a final thought looking back at the year he said that “crypto grew from being a baby to a toddler in 2018,” with more growth expected in 2019.