For all the hype and excitement around Bitcoin and blockchain the cryptocurrency industry remains very much in its adolescent phase.
The price of Bitcoin has given up some 60% of its value since the 2017 peak, nonetheless, there was still a great deal of enthusiasm among attendees at Web Summit’s MoneyConf event in Dublin this week.
There was an awful lot to talk about as company executives, crypto investors, start-ups and blockchain subject matter experts converged on the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) venue - not least, what the future holds for Bitcoin now that the so-called bubble has deflated significantly.
Frankly, this remains a very busy and nuanced space. It is fair to say that technical jargon was flowing quite profusely in certain rooms, though, admittedly, the crowd was broadly dispersed between the millennial crypto-enthusiasts and those from a more traditional finance background - who were less buzzword fluent.
Besides Bitcoin, there was greater deal of debate around ‘alt coins’, the array of other less advanced cryptocurrencies. There are some1,800 other digital currencies, with Ethereum and Dash among the most frequently mentioned among them, although the comments about the secondary coins were often in less glowing terms than for Bitcoin which seemingly remains the crypto golden child.
Forward-looking resenters discussed a breadth of topics including tokenisation (essentially digitally represented, tradable versions of real world assets), the controversies around initial coin offerings (ICOs), and, significantly, what does and doesn’t constitute a security when ICOs are implemented to raise capital.
Perhaps the most significant theme consistent through the presentations, talks, and debates centred on the cryptocurrency's challenges around compliance and integration with existing or traditional finance infrastructure.
The industry is expected to mature and evolve in the coming months and years, and, as it does, these will be key issues.
Exactly how will the technology-driven, self-governing and borderless alt-finance sector sit alongside the long-established institutions that have traditionally stood over money?
By evolution or revolution, the view among many at Moneyconf is that some form of convergence is certainly coming.