While some of the panels could have done with better moderation, it was still well worth attending, and the networking was great.
We also managed to level up our Crypto and Blockchain knowledge, and came back home with a few takeaways, which is always the point of attending these events in the first place.
The following post covers some things we thought were worth sharing with the rest of you. Some of them were things we already knew, but wanted to reiterate.
The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be seen as investing advice. Our opinions on this site are only that, if you are considering an investment into cryptocurrency or anything we speak about on this site, please advise a trusted financial professional first, before doing so.
1.) Ai Seems Increasingly Promising
Out of all of the sectors within crypto, AI is one that we are planning to dig deeper on. It seems likely to be very disruptive to the world over the next few decades, and if it can go hand in (bot) hand with blockchain projects, these could be some of the ones with the most potential.
At this early stage, most AI plays are likely to be speculative at best, but then what isn't mostly speculative in the crypto space right now?
2.) A Lot Of Use Cases Are Questionable
Naturally, there were a lot of ICOs pitching their projects over the course of the conference, and we got to wondering whether Blockchain is really necessary for all of them.
Just because something is decentralized or distributed, does that automatically make it better? Just because you CAN do something with a smart contract, does it mean you should?
Let's not forget that a huge percentage of money in crypto right now is speculative, so whether or not a project has long term viability, you could still back it and make money doing so if you wished.
There just seems to be this unquestioned belief in the crypto world that blockchain makes everything better. People call it more efficient, when evidence tends to disagree. It's called revolutionary, which it sure is, but does that mean everything is better on the blockchain? Does it mean everything is better decentralized?
There are still a lot of good use cases for blockchain and smart contracts in general, but that doesn't mean everything is worth investing in just because it appears disputive.
On that note...
3.) Not Everything Has To Justify It Token Beyond Just Accessing A Product
Just like blockchain doesn't make everything better, we don't feel every project has to justify its token in some blockchain manner. This might sound counterintuitive, but bear with us.
There are many projects where a token seems like it's just been added into a project just to justify an ICO. You should absolutely question whether or not a token is needed.
However, you shouldn't walk away from a project if the only reason it has a token is for people to use their platform.
As was rightly pointed out by Ryan Wang, during one of the panels, an ICO isn't just a fund raising device. It's also a fantastic way to perform user acquisition and to develop brand evangelists. Yes, you still need to deliver on the project and perform marketing afterwards, but if your ICO process can create a few thousand users who want to see you succeed, then that's fantastic.
Creating a token for your project is a great way to reward those early adopters. They gave you the funds to help your project succeed, then when other people want to use your service or product, and pay more for the tokens than your investors did, you've given them their money back plus a reward.
Why do you need any more reason to have a token than this?
So a project doesn't necessarily need to use a Blockchain, but that doesn't mean it can't have a token. As long as it makes sense that people will want to use the token, that should be reason enough for you to be interested.
4.) Focus On Usage
Some panelists were estimating that as much as 90% of money in crypto is speculative right now. While we don't want to put a specific number on it, we definitely agree that the majority of money is in crypto purely to make money.
Does this mean it's a bubble? Who knows.
What it DOES mean is that over time, many projects will need to start attracting users in order to survive. There are many projects out there now which have large market caps, but if the money is focused on "growth potential" or hype, and not focused on adoption, who is to say how long those projects will be around.
When you see something like Cindicator, which requires you to use its token to access its tools, then you can assume that a large percentage of token holders are doing it because they want to USE the token, and that's a good thing.
On the other hand, when you look at other projects, like Ripple, you have to wonder how much of the money in there is speculative.
Note: These two were picked purely as examples of usage vs speculation and we're not promoting or criticising either project.
So when picking your investments, particularly your long-term holds, you have to ask yourself if people are going to adopt the platform in the long term.
And to do that, you have to...
5.) Focus On The Problem Being Solved
As we mentioned above, just because blockchain is a disruptive technology, doesn't mean everything is better on the blockchain. When assessing a project, ask yourself what problem they are solving.
For example, is BeeToken, the Airbnb of crypto, really solving a problem? If it is... is blockchain appropriate for solving it?
We don't know the answers to all of these things because we're still discovering the technology's full potential, but these are great questions to have, and we're thankful for being reminded of them at some of the panels we watched (William Bao Bean pointed this out very well).
Conclusion - Try To Ignore The Hype
We all want to see cryptocurrencies revolutionize the world, but bear in mind that not everything is going to be a revolution. In many cases, an ICO is just a way for a software company to get funded, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Whatever your investment strategy, it makes sense to focus on things that will definitely grow and gain adoption. This means looking past "Err...because blockchain?" as a reason for a company to have an advantage over the more traditional markets its trying to disrupt.
Also, look into projects which are most likely going to be adopted by crypto enthusiasts as well, like protocol layers (Ethereum, Neo, Qtum etc), interoperability tokens (Wanchain, Icon, Loopring) or exchanges to name but a few.