The biggest disrupter of 2018 will be blockchains, mainly due to the proliferation and movement of cryptocurrency.
Anybody who has followed the wild ride of Bitcoin has to recognize that cryptocurrency will cause a major disruption in the currency landscape. This has just begun and 2018 will see a myriad of changes come about. Not that hard currency is going away any time soon, but cryptocurrency will become a force to reckon with. 2018 will see cryptocurrency gain significant traction and widespread acceptance.
Blockchains are the engine behind cryptocurrencies; thusly they will see significant traction, as well. From the IEEE’s electronics360: In short, a blockchain consists of one digital ledger that is distributed across the network (the blockchain). All transactions are logged with the time, date, amount and participants, and grouped together with other transactions that happen within a certain time frame. Those transactions are identified with a mathematical computer-generated code, and linked to the previous block of transactions.
A blockchain’s characteristics include:
There is a huge fog of uncertainty around these platforms, especially with mobile payments. Not what they are but how they are going to fit into today’s society. These are uncharted waters for the mainstream, although there is a wealth of knowledge of their functionality in certain area (the dark web, for example).
The next 12 months will see the traditional financial infrastructure take a hard look at cryptocurrencies. Banks and regulators realize they are here to stay so M&A’s will begin to broaden. As well, applications will begin to appear and the benefits of them will become attractive to many players. Security will improve, wallets will replace exchanges and rules and regulation will be a top priority. How long it will take for all of this to play out is unknown. For example, the latest 451 Alliance report on digital wallets shows slowing of adoption, of them by consumers.
The spoiler here is the chaos in the platform and how long it will take these issues to sort out. The coming year may not, likely, see this segment move as fast as some predict. The reasons for that is that there are literally hundreds of different cryptocurrencies out there and more on the way. How to apply a universal set of rules and create order from chaos, in the segment, is a real challenge. 2018 will start to sort that out. Additionally, a significant spoiler vector is the lack of regulation. That is a major issue that has to be resolve before cryptocurrencies go mainstream.
Nevertheless, cryptocurrencies are here to stay. It is just a matter of when they go mainstream.
Ernest Worthman is the Executive Editor/Applied Wireless Technology. His 20-plus years of editorial experience includes being the Editorial Director of Wireless Design and Development and Fiber Optic Technology, the Editor of RF Design, the Technical Editor of Communications Magazine, Cellular Business, Global Communications and a Contributing Technical Editor to Mobile Radio Technology, Satellite Communications, as well as computer-related periodicals such as Windows NT. His technical writing practice client list includes RF Industries, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Agilent Technologies, Advanced Linear Devices, Ceitec, SA, and others. Before becoming exclusive to publishing, he was a computer consultant and regularly taught courses and seminars in applications software, hardware technology, operating systems, and electronics. Ernest’s client list has included Lucent Technologies, Jones Intercable, Qwest, City and County of Denver, TCI, Sandia National Labs, Goldman Sachs, and other businesses. His credentials include a BS, Electronic Engineering Technology; A.A.S, Electronic Digital Technology. He has held a Colorado Post-Secondary/Adult teaching credential, member of IBM’s Software Developers Assistance Program and Independent Vendor League, a Microsoft Solutions Provider Partner, and a life member of the IEEE. He has been certified as an IBM Certified OS2 consultant and trainer; WordPerfect Corporation Developer/Consultant and Lotus Development Corporation Developer/Consultant. He was also a first-class FCC technician in the early days of radio. Ernest Worthman may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.