Things have changed a lot for the crypto market in the last 5 years. The main change is that the dominant cryptocurrency Bitcoin BTC is no longer a currency like described on the white paper that started it all, but now BTC is digital gold instead. Another big change is that not only regular people are buying Bitcoin, corporations also started adding them to their balance sheets.
There are thousands of cryptocurrencies, tokens, platforms, and crypto projects. New projects keep appearing, and older projects keep dying. Ideas get recycled under new names, new people join looking to make gains. Focus is being lost, and the network effect is being diluted. Is all part of a learning cycle, we need to see what things work and what things do not. At some point, enough people will understand what works, and ideas will start to consolidate and create strong network effects that will perdure.
There are many interesting projects, yet my focus remains on Bitcoin as digital cash. A peer-to-peer digital currency that will replace FIAT currencies and be used by billions of people around world. Digital cash that is easy, fast, and cheap to transact with. That was the idea that got me into crypto and the one I believe is here to stay.
When Bitcoin was turned into a settlement layer, also known as $BTC digital gold I was very disappointed. I was working on some crypto projects, but the high fees killed them. So when a group of people decided to keep the original plan alive with Bitcoin Cash $BCH I was quick to join the community.
After being on crypto for over 5 years, here are 5 things I believe will happen over the next 5 years with the cryptocurrency market.
There are over 4000 crypto-related projects listed on coinamarketcap. I will be very surprised if more than 40 of today's active projects remain active in 5 years. I'm certain that the following projects will remain at the top of the list: $BCH, $BTC, $ETH. These projects will have created some strong network effects and also merchant adoption in the case of $BCH and $ETH.
The changes that were made to $BTC in order to change it from a digital currency into digital gold will stagnate its growth. As BTC price increases, it disincentivizes new users from joining. BTC's higher price means higher transaction fees, higher minimum purchase, higher minimum wallet value, higher minimum transaction value, and also lower upside. All people buying into the digital gold version of Bitcoin are doing so expecting higher prices to make gains on the money they risk ("numbers go up"). That is the BTC use case, but the numbers won't always go up.
$BTC holders have an incentive to move away into a blockchain that offers more upside and this will ultimately result in $BTC losing its top place on the coinmarketcap. Interesting to note that the corporations that are buying Bitcoin as digital gold may be left holding a very heavy bag. Regular users moving away from Bitcoin digital gold to another blockchain reduce its network effect while strengthening another blockchain network effect. $BTC may end up becoming the blockchain of the corporations while doing 3 transactions per second and consuming a great deal of energy and resources. Not the greenest idea! Perhaps corporations should consider a greener approach to Bitcoin instead. The network effect created by corporations will be tiny when compared to the network effect created by people.
On the other side, most people and merchants joining Bitcoin Cash are doing so because is useful to send and receive money (digital cash). Unlike $BTC digital gold, Bitcoin Cash version is fast, reliable, and works with tiny fees. A price increase is certain and important and is the result of the currency's usefulness. It is great as a medium of exchange, is extremely fungible and liquid so all this makes it a great store of value. This is the big difference between Bitcoin $BTC as digital gold and Bitcoin Cash $BCH as digital cash. Bitcoin Cash focus is adoption through usefulness, while $BTC focus is adoption via an economic incentive that fades away.
Many years will have pass since LN was supposed to be ready for adoption. It will remain broken and with little to no merchant support. $BTC users will be pushed into using custodial wallets not different than Paypal. We had previously warned people on how $BTC will move away from the well-known maxim "Not your keys, not your coins".
Ultimately this could turn to be similar to how the USA uses the Imperial system, while the world is on the metric system. The USA would be tricked to use Bitcoin via custodial wallets no different than bank accounts, while the rest of the world uses peer-to-peer electronic cash. Some $BTC supporters will finally realize they were bamboozled into believing LN could work with small blocks and ask for the $BTC block size to be increased to no avail.
Once the more savvy users realize Lighinig Network was a trap they will start looking for an alternative. Finally what we had been telling people for years will click on their minds and they will rush to buy back Bitcoin Cash.
As today only a small percentage of the people of the world have a cryptocurrency and most of them won't like the idea of paying a high amount of money for a slow currency with high fees. They are certain to start using cryptocurrencies on their phones as replacements for banks. They will want to make payments with a cryptocurrency that is fast, reliable, with small fees, and that is easy to use.
Once the time comes people will sell their $BTC for something useful and with a better increase of value potential. I think that will likely be Bitcoin Cash, and the reason is that the community is focused on creating the best digital payment blockchain. Bitcoin Cash work great from the merchants is fast, reliable, and easy to use. Compare that again with Bitcoin as digital gold where transactions can be stuck literally for months! Where transactions can easily be double-spend due to Replace by Fee. Were transactions are extremely costly due to small blocks.
As the network effect of Bitcoin Cash grows, adoption will accelerate ultimately resulting in a bull run of users moving from $BTC to $BCH.
Merchants around the world will realize how easy is to receive payments with Bitcoin Cash and start not only accepting it but keeping as a store of value instead of exchanging it for fiat. The rapidly growing numbers of users with Bitcoin Cash wallets will accelerate the merchant adoption of cryptocurrencies. The world will be replacing fiat currencies with peer-to-peer electronic cash. We are not going back to Banks, most of the 7 billion people didn't really have access to good banking until Satoshi wrote that white paper for peer to peer electronic cash.