I have tried here to make a list of some cryptocurrencies, events, projects or developments that seem interesting to me to follow this year. All the projects below are likely to participate in the mass adoption of blockchains and cryptocurrencies, but they are above all emblematic of larger themes that in my opinion will dominate 2021.
NB: It is not a question here of predicting the commercial success of such and such a project, and even less of providing investment advice. Financial speculation does not interest me and I focus here on uses.
Diem, cryptocurrency with Facebook sauce
After a serious initial volley of green wood, particularly in the United States on the part of the legislator, will this new currency be again countered by the regulatory authorities? If it sees the light of day, will it be able to impose itself on the crypto scene, where dozens of stablecoins already coexist, including three appearing in the Top 25 of the largest crypto-currencies by capitalization? A project with an uncertain future but who will make a big noise anyway. Carpe Diem — or not.
More generally, the subject of stablecoinssome of which are issued by nations, should be very popular this year.
Coinbase, a flagship IPO
Coinbaseone of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, has announced plans to go public (IPO) in 2021. It wouldn’t be the first publicly traded blockchain/crypto company, but its weight in the market (some analysts mention a capitalization of 28 billion dollars) makes this possible IPO if not a symbol, at least a key event in the months to come.
Effort, a blockchain at the service of energy
effort is a notable startup of 2020 for at least two reasons: the personality of its founder (Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple) and its business model (basically, using blockchains and cryptocurrencies to boost investment in sustainable energy sources, allowing citizens to benefit from energy savings). Without prejudging its success, the idea is original and deserves to be followed.
Beyond this single company, several other initiatives are moving in the same direction and it seems likely to me that the use of blockchains to fight against global warmingbetter optimizing energy resources or better managing the carbon market will be a big topic in 2021.
Atari Token, the video game cryptocurrency
2020 will have been a busy year for Atari, a French company that seems to be firing on all cylinders to once again become the world leader in the gaming industry that it once was. A strategy to win back the market which involves the launch last October of the Atari Token, an Ethereum token destined to establish itself as the preferred currency in the world of video games. Will the oldest and most legendary brand in the gaming industry be able to reinvent itself in the light of tokens and crypto-currencies?
Beyond the Atari case, blockchain games, or cryptos and tokens (NFT) devoted to gaming will remain big topics in 2021 (and well after).
Filecoin, decentralized storage for humanity
filecoin offers an innovative, peer-to-peer (P2P), fully decentralized, blockchain-based digital data storage solution. Although there are similar and older solutions (notably sia and Storj), Filecoin was eagerly awaited, after a substantial and rapid fundraising (more than $200 million raised in about thirty minutes, in 2017). The project seems to have successfully launched in 2020 and made a remarkable entry into the crypto scene: in November, the network reached a rather impressive storage capacity, one million gigabytes (GB) !
It remains to be seen whether the solution will prevail for professional and general public use. With big topics in the background: can we still develop viable alternatives to the cloud storage offered by the digital giants (Google, Apple, Amazon, Dropbox and others) and can we evolve the cloud into “dCloud” (decentralized cloud)which would be a real paradigm shift.
PersonalTokens, a token for every citizen
I spoke at length about the “tokenization of everything” as one of the most important developments of the crypto era, and I also discussed the emergence of unipersonal tokens, created in their name by Internet users. PersonalTokensone of the platforms allowing create your own cryptocurrency (on which I myself created my token $CYRIL in October), had been a bit dormant in recent months but announced in December an ambitious development plan. In particular, it plans to offer the creation of their personal token free of charge to 10,000 people, while facilitating inter-personal financial exchanges.
Other platforms are on the way (including rollwhich should be out of beta this year) and I see it as a potential big topic for 2021, with the possible emergence of thousands of “personal currencies”.
Free TON, decentralize to the extreme
TON, an independent blockchain with its cryptocurrency (GRAM), is a special case in the crypto universe. First supported by the founder of the Telegram messaging system, the project was characterized by a impressive fundraising initial (nearly $2 billion), before being brutally stopped in March 2020 by the intervention of American justice.
But the project is not dead for all that and seems to have resumed, this time in the form of community development resolutely centered on decentralization, including decision-making processes. Free TON could therefore be the first example of a “corporate” cryptocurrency project that has become free and now managed by users themselves.
Being a community from Telegram, which has 400 million users, the development of Free TON and its adoption is certainly interesting to follow. All the more so in the context of the launch of Facebook’s Diem and that of the evolution of encrypted messagingwhile WhatsApp’s recent decisions are not unanimous…
Travel Pass, your health passport on a blockchain
IATA, the professional body which federates more than 80% of airlines, works to developing a mobile app intended to facilitate the return to normal in terms of air transport in the Covid era. The solution, Travel Pass, is already tested in Singapore. In particular, it should be based on a blockchain to store health data relating to Covid-19 tests and vaccines in a decentralized way, and thus serve to “show your credentials” for safe travel.
The subject is likely to generate a lot of debate, but it could be the first example of a consumer blockchain app and non-financial used massively. And it’s also a potential example of decentralized identification logic, another very big blockchain topic that I mentioned recently. To be continued.
Ethereum, on the way to v2.0
December 2020 marked the start of the most important transition in the history of Ethereum: a major evolution towards “Ethereum 2”, which notably promises a more efficient network and much faster transactions. There is little chance that this transition will end in 2021, but the passage of the other intermediate stages will still be to follow.
The opportunity to also say a word about competing Ethereum projects. If I do not believe in the theory of “Ethereum Killers” which could dethrone (or even “kill”) the 2nd cryptocurrency in the world, several projects deserve to be followed: Cardano, Algorand, Elrond or Lisk, for example. These are all serious projects that will participate in the decentralization of systems, services and applications. In my opinion, 2021 is a bit like the year of the last chance for these projects, which will have to convince quickly in order to try to monopolize a significant part of the decentralized application marketcurrently trusted by Ethereum.
Bitcoin, towards mass adoption?
2020 will have been a historic year for Bitcoin, which has just celebrated its 12th anniversary. Despite (or “because of”?) the global crisis, Bitcoin smashed all records : the value of a bitcoin reached $40,000 at the very beginning of 2021 (10,000 times more than 10 years earlier) and Bitcoin weighs globally more than 600 billion dollars – (150 times more than six years ago). The year was marked in particular by the possibility (in the United States) of buying crypto-currencies via PayPal, the main payment processor in the world, and by strong institutional interest. Many large companies have invested heavily in Bitcoin, while prominent public players sang the praises of the world’s first cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin is therefore now essential on Wall Street and in the institutional world. It remains to be seen whether it will impose itself in usage and with the general public, beyond simple speculation and the logic of investment. Whatever, Bitcoin will be on everyone’s radar in 2021.
That’s already a lot of topics to follow, and there will obviously be more…
Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are booming and will be among the dominant (and most hyped) technologies for years to come, starting with 2021 which I’m sure will be a big “crypto year”.
Very happy new year to all!
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10 crypto/blockchain topics to follow in 2021
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