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2018: The Year of Blockchain and the BitEconomy


These days it feels like 1994 all over again to me. It has been a very long time since I have felt so close to the edge of change and disruption. While the era of the “dot com” boom helped usher in new millionaires and billionaires, the era of Blockchain and the Token Economy will usher in billionaires and for the first time, trillionaires. The opportunities in front of us are just at an order of magnitude greater than anything we have ever experienced.






The advent of the commercial Internet in 1994 signaled the introduction of the BitEconomy. This was a change to business as usual and sent the world down a path where business models as they were understood at the time would eventually be disrupted. We are on the threshold of a similar moment -- it is no secret that currencies are going digital, and inevitably this will come to include the world's major currencies.

What I find especially disruptive about the advent of the BitEconomy is the potential for the pace of innovation to accelerate because individuals are ever more empowered to directly drive value. The disintermediation of capital formation has made it more accessible and available to support emerging ecosystems that could not have gained access to similar levels of resources, including people power, as quickly or deeply in the past. This will drive innovation to a level we have not yet experienced.

We are on the edge of something so disruptive, it will change the way the way we do business and the ways some of us work and live. It is the next industrial revolution, and it is right in front of us. I am grateful to be living in a time where I can see this disruption unfold and play a role in embracing it. Ever since VoIP happened, I have been waiting to see and feel something with as much or more potential to change the way we interact; this is such an event, on a far greater scale.

The signs have been around for a long time. And I am excited about this.

I first started thinking about the BitEconomy and exploring digital currencies in 1995 when I was co-writing NetWatch and became fascinated by the prospects of DigiCash. At that time, I decided to spend my energy focusing part-time on the prospects of Internet Telephony instead. Looking back, I am grateful to have had a part in helping to change the way the world communicates.

It took a while, but 2017 was the year I did my own deep dive back into the world of crypto, a world I call “Gotham City” amongst friends. While I happen to be close personal friends with Batman (a/k/a Steven Nerayoff), it is proving quite difficult for any of us to leave Gotham City once we get in, because it is such an exciting place.

Looking for ways to profit right now? Build the obvious, easy to use on-ramps and off-ramps needed to enter and leave Gotham City. Just don’t be greedy. Too many people who had the chance to empower these on-ramps have made the process overly complicated, but thankfully, their greed has only encouraged others to do something better. Looking back, 2017 was the year of the ICO and Utility tokens – not the on-ramps and off-ramps. Looking forward, I think the exchange of ideas is only beginning.

In order to reach its potential, I believe it is of grave important for the nascent Blockchain industry to show regulators it can self regulate. It is about time for companies associated with ICOs to engage in best practices. Now is also the time for crypto Exchanges to also follow and share their own best practices. If an industry player suspects something is bad about an ICO, there should be a place to report it. There needs to be both accounting and accountability. The time has come for someone to suggest the GAAP approach for accounting for crypto currencies, for both Utility tokens and Security tokens. Commissions? If we want more consumers to enter these marketplaces, something needs be done about the high commissions the popular sites and applications are charging for each transaction.

My interest in Blockchain technologies grew dramatically when I realized the conference I have been curating since 2016, MoNage, needed to evolve toward “Blockchain + Communications. ” I thank Kik for doing their ICO for Kin, which opened my eyes to what others will be able to do inside the communications ecosystem. Looking ahead, I believe the future of communications includes Blockchain solutions, both public and private. At Spring 2018 MoNage, we will have a number of Blockchain communication startups whose focus is to use the Blockchain to solve some of the bigger challenges facing the evolving communications industry.

In 2018, Blockchain will be the buzzword for businesses, and you will see Blockchain referred to just about everywhere. I am already seeing companies repositioning themselves to be THE relevant players in areas such as real estate, banking, capital markets, art, music, farming, sports, health, adtech and many other verticals. Look for more major corporations to launch Blockchain projects behind their firewalls. And look for Security tokens to become the talk of the crypto world. I am looking forward to seeing the launch of security token exchanges during 2018.

Earlier this year, I joined Alchemist as Vice Chairman. I am living deep inside the ICO ecosystem. I happen to be working with some of the great minds in this emerging space. I am looking forward to the year ahead.

I am ending 2017 checking for messages on two new messaging platforms, Signal and Telegram. As an experiment, you are invited to join me and my friends in the public JeffNet channel on Telegram (t.me/jeffpulvernet).

I hope you have a great holiday season and a great start to 2018. I’m looking forward to catching up with you!

Warm hugs, Jeff

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Thursday, January 11th 2018
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