MIT Technology Review: Blockchain Will Become Normalized in 2019

MIT Technology Review has published an article Jan. 2, arguing that 2019 is the year in which blockchain will become mundane. The Review is a magazine that is independent but wholly-owned by the United States Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The article gives a laconic overview of its take on the recent history of blockchain, claiming that the technology was “a revolution that was supposed to disrupt the global financial system” in 2017, but that it was a disappointment in 2018 — in light of the significant decline in the valuations of virtually all blockchain-based crypto assets and currencies.

Nonetheless, the Review argues, on the cusp of the new year, many “innovative-sounding projects are still alive and even close to bearing fruit.” Together with several large corporations’ plans to launch major blockchain-based projects this year, 2019 is thus reportedly set to be “the year that blockchain technology finally becomes normal.”

As an example of the impending transformation of the sector, the Review cites the forthcoming entries of stalwart Wall Street players such as New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) owner Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and investment giant Fidelity into the cryptocurrency business.

Even as the hype surrounding blockchain reportedly subsides, it argues that their offerings of regulator-approved infrastructure for crypto are a major watershed in the sector becoming mainstream.

A further example, the Review continues, is the improvement in smart contract technology that will enable its use in multiple legal contexts — making the crypto adage “code is law” one step closer to becoming an accepted reality.

The article’s final argument is that this normalization of the technology and the sector will entail a significant reshaping of the ideology that gave cryptocurrencies and blockchain their first impetus. Crypto’s roots as an anti-government movement is being upended, the article claims, by the advent of national cryptocurrencies — whether they be Venezuela’s already-launched controversial oil-backed cryptocurrency the Petro, or other states’ plans for their own state-backed coins.

A further example given is the endorsement of exploring the case for central bank-backed cryptocurrencies (CBDCs) by International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Christine Lagarde this fall.

Almost a year ago, in mid-January 2018, an analysis of the heat surrounding the blockchain revolution was published, encapsulated by the lucrative capabilities of a business using technology as a buzzword on its own behalf to capitalize on an over-hyped market.

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