Crypto is getting serious.
Before now, cryptocurrency enthusiasts were stereotypically geeky, young folks with a lavish lifestyle. These so-called “bitcoiners” were quick to lavishly display their crypto millions at superstar-themed crypto events.
But times are changing.
Cryptocurrency world seems to have gotten new priorities as noticed in the recent blockchain events—the Blockchain week in San Francisco and Ripple’s Swell event.
In many ways, these events signaled a shift from the “geeky” and “wild” approach to blockchain meet-ups to a more rounded presence featuring suit-wearing bankers and investors.
This is not unexpected given the growing interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency among Wall Street firms. This, coupled with an increased mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency, has morphed a mature crypto community markedly different from what used to be the case.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency hold great promise for several industries. The financial—or better put Fintech— the industry has become the most important constituency to feel its impact. Cryptocurrency is the future of money, many say.
A myriad of blockchain-enabled fintech solutions that promise to revolutionize financial systems are not going unnoticed by major financial players who are coming to terms with the possibilities DLT technologies opens up.
There was so much buzz last week about the keynote speaker for Ripple’s swell event. If there was a message to be made, Ripple hammered that home by having the former U.S. President Bill Clinton on its stage.
Although many have argued that it was more about the speaker than the speech, the man did have some timely messages for cryptocurrency adoption. Message like, “you can’t apply an old regulatory regime to a new technology,” pointedly hits regulatory uncertainty especially in the United States which many have warned could stifle the growth of this emerging technology in the country.
Ripple’s event which was strictly by invitation, was attended mainly by bankers and players in the financial sector. The organization used the platform to officially launch its financial product x-Rapid, a blockchain-based cross-border payment and settlement solution.
The x-Rapid more than any of its other products is very important to the cryptocurrency markets as it directly makes use of the XRP tokens. News of the planned launch saw ripple price soar which saw the Ripple [XRP] displace Ethereum as the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, albeit for a brief spell.
Currently, most financial institutions adopting Ripple’s solution use its x-Current solution which facilitates cross-border transactions and settlement using blockchain but not the XRP token.
When these banks get on xRapid—and Ripple’s CEO is confident they will—they will source liquidity from XRP on cryptocurrency exchanges around the world. This is only one of the many ways the world of cryptocurrency is merging with the corporate finance world.
This marriage means that cryptocurrency must also look the part.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency events, therefore, cannot afford to be known for lavish display of wealth, parties, and overly geeky themes. Rather, these events now focus on commercially viable solutions, partnerships, and investment opportunities.
Christian Laang, CEO of supply chain management platform Tradeshift, describes the need for this shift:
“Blockchain is an extremely powerful idea, but it’s very far from being a mature technology. If people are becoming millionaires from ICO, they’re disincentivized to create the next generation of technology. There’s a little bit of a bubble with all the short term-ism.”