A Brief Note from Block 2 The Future
It's been a busy week in the digital currency world — busy enough to make the average investor's head spin.
India smacked down on crypto, Ripple was accused of bribing Coinbase, and the SEC went after Longfin for insider trading over its blockchain debacle in 2017.
Amid all of this hubbub, our research team was in San Francisco attending Block 2 The Future, a digital currency and blockchain-focused conference.
Block 2 The Future provided our research team with an opportunity to talk to some of the biggest names in the digital currency space.
And since this is the blockchain industry, where the motto seems to be go big or go home, these conversations took place on the deck of a retired aircraft carrier... the USS Hornet, to be exact.
Over the course of three days, there were pitches from CEOs, regulators warning against a coming storm, and a whole slew of new digital currency products.
Here are just a few of our takeaways...
Takeaway #1: More Crypto Chatter from the SEC
These days, regulation in the blockchain space is a pretty hot topic.
At the start of 2018, the digital currency and blockchain market began to hurt under the weight of coming regulatory measures.
Many ICOs went running for the hills with the SEC hot on their heels. As a result, the price of reserve digital tokens like Bitcoin and Ether dropped alongside the rest of the market.
And it's looking more and more likely that this regulatory phase is just getting started.
The SEC has confirmed that it plans to get more involved in the digital currency space, and this has left many investors unsure about the future of the market.
That's why our team was excited to see former SEC Senior Counsel Zachary Fallon take the stage at Block 2 The Future to talk about digital assets and regulation.
His talk brought some much-needed clarity for both investors and companies pursuing initial coin offerings.
At this point, Fallon has moved away from the SEC and is working in the private sector.
That said, with an impressive resume in tow, which includes serving as the Senior Counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission for over a year, Fallon offered conference-goers unique insight into the developing regulatory space.
In his panel, Fallon reminded companies seeking to launch an initial coin offering that they should contact the SEC with questions.
One of the biggest questions any company (or investor) should be asking is whether or not a token is a security token or a utility token.
In these cases, Fallon emphasized that the burden of proof falls on the company launching the ICO. They have to show that they have done the legwork in order to avoid regulatory measures in the future. This legwork can include contacting the SEC for clarifications before ICO.
This sets a positive tone for interactions between the growing digital currency market and lurking regulators. They simply have to set aside their differences and work together.
Takeaway #2: The Rise of Crypto-Specific Cybersecurity Software
Over the course of 2017, the digital currency market gained billions in value.
However, to the great dismay of many investors, huge chunks of that profit were skimmed away by hackers.
And the hacker problem isn't getting any better.
These days, over $1.5 million in digital currency is taken from users every month. That's a matter of thousands every other minute.
Luckily for investors, there are startups out there that are trying to make that better. That includes Metacert, a rapidly growing company whose goal is to improve safety in the cryptocurrency community.
Metacert's API provides a powerful layer of security that can help protect consumers against the wide range of attacks that take place on the internet. It works a bit like this...
Metacert's API checks the reputation of HTTP requests in real time. This allows users of the API to be notified of lurking threats BEFORE they open suspicious links or engage with shady websites. Users of the API can also sift through content and make sure certain things are blocked on their applications.
Metacert has taken a very confusing and complex topic and made it simple. All individuals have to do is download the program onto their browser.
It's that easy.
The Token Authority team was pretty impressed with the Metacert team and hopes to have them on our Coin Chat podcast. We also plan on publishing a resource page to help investors safely download this software. So keep an eye on your inbox for updates.
Takeaway #3: The Emergence of New Blockchain Trends
Before we close our update, we want to share some blockchain trends we noticed with Token Authority readers.
Blockchain for Identity
At the conference, there were multiple startups using blockchain to target the issue of personal identity. Identity theft is a big issue in this country. Outside of that, it's hard for individuals to keep track of the dozens of identity documents they need: Social Security, driver’s license, birth certificates, etc.
One startup looking at the identity problem is ShoCard. ShoCard announced its upcoming initial coin offering for its digital currency ShoCoin. The goal of the cryptocurrency is to provide users with a financial mechanism to make identity-based transactions with less friction. You can learn more about the project here.
Blockchain for Education
When it comes to education, blockchain can be used in quite a few ways.
It can be used to store and track educational information. It can also be used to disperse educational content. One startup in the education and information space is Everipedia, a branch of Wikipedia focused on decentralizing knowledge. Everipedia plans to airdrop tokens later this year. You can learn more about the project here.
Blockchain for Real Estate
If there is any industry out there that really needs blockchain, it's real estate.
Blockchain can be used to track data critical to a house sale. It can also be used to connect buyers and sellers and reduce costs. All that considered, it should come as no surprise that blockchain startups have started to venture into the space. One of the ones our team noticed at the conference was Slice.
Slice aims to connect smaller real estate buyers with the larger market and provide investors with institutional-grade private market returns with public market liquidity. This high liquidity means investors can exit the market at any time. There is a lot of promise in the concepts of this project, and we will be keeping an eye on it. You can learn more about it here.
At this time, it's worth noting that the Token Authority team has not sunk its teeth into any of these projects yet. In the future, we plan on writing more research reports about specific projects we believe have value.
For now, we hope our conference notes can offer investors some clarity when it comes to the blockchain space's present state and where it is going in the future.
Best of luck with your investments,
@AlexandraPerryC on Twitter
Alexandra Perry is the managing editor of Token Authority and the associate editor of Technology and Opportunity. She also contributes weekly content to Wealth Daily, a free investment research newsletter that addresses a range of market topics. She has multiple years of experience working with startup companies, primarily focusing on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, alternative energy, and biotech. Her take on investing is simple: a new age of investor can make monumental returns by investing in emerging industries and foundational startup ventures.