Investment in Crypto still Hot as Markets Gyrate
Turbulent cryptocurrency markets show no signs of abating with Bitcoin rebounding sharply after dropping to 14-month low earlier this week to $3,474. While blockchain projects are holding back token sales until markets return to a more sustainable upward trend, investment and innovation in the space continues to go from strength to strength.
“We’re focussing on product development,” said Serge Beck, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Optherium, a cryptocurrency exchange and eWallet services provider based in Zug. “We’re product makers.” Optherium is developing an ecosystem that provides businesses with a secure entry point for crypto investing, as plans for a white list and pre-sale Initial Coin Offering (ICO) are postponed. The Zug-based startup, which is a member of the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger, and the Crypto Valley association, has developed a private blockchain that is designed to provide corporations with a portal for speedy conversions between fiat and crypto assets, along with a secure storage facility.
“We postponed the token sale because of the market conditions,” said Beck. “In these market conditions people are not willing to invest, no matter what ICO you have. There is no way you can offer a 300 to 500 percent increase when the market is down 300 and 500 percent. People are losing anyway.”
Mindful of the regulatory scrutiny blockchain currently faces, Optherium is focussing on delivering the digital storage, private key recovery services and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements that corporations have to put in place when making their first forays into crypto, according to Beck. “We’re creating an ecosystem where traditional businesses will feel comfortable performing transactions safe, secure and fast and that’s where our focus is,” he added. “We are digitizing them and we are bringing them on to the blockchain.”
Meanwhile, Carla Bunger, CMO and business development manager at Smart Containers AG, a container provider utilising the blockchain in Zug, said the current state of crypto markets lacks the sufficient “velocity” for new token issuance. “The market has really crumbled and it is incredibly bad to list a token right now,” she said.
A rally saw $20 billion added to crypto markets this week with the total value of cryptocurrency markets standing at about $142 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap. Still, November has been a torrid month for crypto with Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, crashing to its lowest level in more than a year.
Smart Containers uses the blockchain to track and monitor its fleet of containers across the globe. While the Zug-based high-tech container provider has completed an ICO this year, Bunger said it is “waiting for the right moment to hit the button” and list the token. In the meantime, Bunger said a “booming” business meant it made sense to focus all efforts on developing the startup’s logistic operations in the food and medicine sectors. She pointed out that crypto traders made investment decisions based on the performance of a token in the first two weeks after a launch, making timing crucial. “If you have enough trading volume people will think this is a token worth investing in,” she said.
Jutta Steiner, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Parity Technologies in Berlin, said it is deceptive to focus on plunging crypto prices this year, given the huge market growth in 2017. The price of the Ethereum network’s native token, ETH rose by more than 5,700 percent in 2017. The market valuation of Ethereum recorded a 64-fold increase from $700 million to $45 billion.
“Just because the tokens and ICOs are down it has no implication whatsoever on whether or not blockchains are useful or not,” said Steiner. “People are disappointed in the market performance and say it is somewhat down on last year. But if you look at the overall performance of the last two years it is still massively up. So even on that side, people take a very narrow view.”
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