3 Reasons Blockchain Startups Will Boom Or Bust In 2018
2017 was an incredible year for blockchain adoption — but we ain’t seen nothin’ yet…
Smart-contract crowdfunding (ICOs) raised three times more money for startups than traditional Venture Capital. That fact alone indicates deep global business disruption.
And of course: regulators are snooping around the corner… competition is hot on your heels… and so-called ‘innovative ideas’ are cheap-as-chips as we say in the UK.
In that red ocean of risk, three critical success factors will determine which projects gain market share in 2018:
2. Scalability, and
Buckle your seatbelt and let’s explore this tornado of opportunity that blockchain technology has stirred.
Critical Success Factor 1: HYPER-AGILITY
I don’t feel overzealous claiming that blockchain is on the cusp of entirely defacing the global geopolitical landscape.
Think of what flight did for travel.
…what email did for communications.
…what credit notes did for global trade.
Yet, never in all of human history have we experienced such a rapidly advancing marketplace as right now. In large part due to the creative destruction unleashed by blockchain technology.
’97 saw the idea of hyper-competition emerge; when market conditions are changing so rapidly that it becomes near-impossible for one company to maintain a competitive advantage for long.
In today’s blockchain economy the bar is being raised even higher.
You’ll need hyper-agility: the capacity and courage to pivot your product and positioning frequently enough to keep up with the blockchain race.
By 2020 the business world will be almost unrecognisable compared to 2015…
Law, insurance, invoicing, international trade, remittances, banking, holiday rentals, even governments — wholly replaced from today’s clunky bureaucracy with automated smart contract efficiencies.
That spells Opportunity with a capital O… and Risk with a capital R.
Many blockchain startups will struggle to reach viable market adoption, blinded by short-term thinking, ‘not invented here’ syndrome, and the arrogance of ‘our product idea is so perfect we don’t need to ask what customers think’…
I mean… who has time to ask for customer feedback, right?
There’s just so much else to do!
In September 2017 at the Dash London Conference and Blockchain World Summit, I met popular YouTube influencers including Crypto, Arcane Bear, and The Dollar Vigilante; all positioned to become legends of mainstream blockchain mass adoption.
I also spoke with AI genius Dr. Ben Goertzel (wiki page), whose list of credentials is longer than my arm, about his approach to a blockchain-powered distributed marketplace for artificial intelligence.
I spoke with many other brilliant, forward-thinking and hard-working individuals and teams pursuing the next big thing; seeking answers to the what, where and how of getting ahead in the age of blockchain.
And then it occurred to me…
Critical Success Factor 2: SCALABILITY
Imagine to my surprise a moment in the Dash Conference when the buzz reminded me of an old MLM AmWay conference; where a handful few flaunt newfound wealth, others appear satisfied with modest success — and the majority are secretly desperate to reach a breakthrough.
At times (such as the Panel Discussions about Regulation), the buzz, fear and excitement in the air became palpable.
I rate the buzz somewhere around a 4-out-of-10 on my Oozing-With-Success-O-Meter, because of what’s about to emerge…
* Entire industries reshaped in the blink of an eye by blockchain tech
* Business relationships that build entirely new tech stacks with global reach.
* Blockbuster ICO launches that make 2017 appear as childsplay.
* Distributed teams creating cash-rich companies in mere months… weeks….. even days.
* Machine-to-Machine economics and the Internet of Things… and so much more.
Life changing opportunities for millions of investors and opportunists to dive head first into the micro and macro economics of decentralised business and governance through blockchain.
And just wait until consumers start shopping on the basis of IoT, M2M and blockchain implementation…
…Or when retail investors realise their equity portfolios, hedge funds and pension funds are nose diving under the quash of hyperinflation due to accelerating political instability.
All while the value of many cryptocurrencies and tokenised assets begin to skyrocket.
New payment solutions will flourish.
The Wirex / SBI joint venture in Asia is way ahead of that curve.
Which brings us to…
Critical Success Factor 3: COMMUNICATIONS
From conversations at the Dash Conference and Blockchain World Summit, many ICO startups really haven’t got a grasp on modern marketing principles or techniques, let alone authentic blockchain development or strong enough business partnerships.
They see millions being raised by ICOs, and they invest all of 3 weeks writing a gimmicky whitepaper while investing $1000 on a Wordpress website and $10,000 on banner advertising.
What about the blockchain platform?
What about the customer?
What are the best routes to a blockchain market?
What joint venture partnerships will accelerate success?
Here’s a few specific questions I was asked by ICO hopefuls at the Blockchain World Summit about marketing communications specifically:
Q1: How do we change our marketing now that we’re going to pivot our [product concept] over to blockchain? We’re concerned about telling our marketing team that we’re changing our product to be blockchain based.
A: That depends on the sophistication of your market category, how competitive it is and what kind of differential advantage you need to demonstrate for your target audience to choose you rather than a substitute product. Have you tested your communications?
Q2: Are there any agencies that you recommend for promoting our ICO?
A: Fair question but your agency selection or marketing resourcing process depends on the nature of your target audience. I could suggest a couple of agencies but it may not be the right fit for your business model or product at all. The days of running basic banner advertising campaigns and sponsored news stories for blockchain startup launches or ICOs are almost over. A comprehensive community driven marketing plan is going to be required, including influencer outreach. This is not something to simply hand over to an agency. Find partners.
Q3: We have a really brilliant mobile app that nobody is doing. Here take a look, cool huh?
A: Yeh, cool. But who would really use it? How often and for how long? Have you tested with any initial user groups besides your own team? How do you know that the marketplace will actually adopt it for regular use?
Which brings us to a conclusion…
If done well, communication is how you leverage both the disruption and the scale now being created by the blockchain marketplace.
Communication both with your target audience and with the entire value chain of your niche; from suppliers, distribution channels, financial service providers, and so on.
Wirex provides corporate financial services that will form the backbone of many successful blockchain startups in the next few years.
My personal expectation is for bitcoin to surpass $10,000 in the first quarter of 2018.
The masses suddenly recognising bitcoin as not just
“something my tech friend mentioned”
“something I must invest in ASAP!!”
That shift will open the floodgates to market opportunity the likes of which the world has never seen.
Blockchain startups that succeed will select best-of-breed solutions and partners in a multi-layered value chain; from the point a token is minted or mined, to the instance a customer benefits from a smart contract transaction in real-world applications.
Property will be rented and sold using blockchain — (Propy, Emphy)
Advertising will be administered via blockchain — (QaazQaaz, AdX)
Decentralised graphics processing will operate via blockchain — (Render)
Major industry players will benefit from the shared leverage of partnership to position ahead of market adoption, just as Wirex announced with Dash: a partnership that will see a full-featured Dash wallet integrated into the Wirex platform.
Wirex has new partnerships in formation that will shock competition and attract more growth opportunities from companies looking for strategic joint ventures in the blockchain space.
The Wirex liquidity pool is quickly becoming a close-knit network of 3rd party integrators with global reach.
Edit: Here’s a diagram that our strategic partner in Asia recently published about our position within their far reaching Asian ecosystem:
If you’re working with our competition, we wish you luck. You’ll need it to survive — let alone thrive.
If you’re a Marketeer, eCommerce Director, business owner, senior executive, fund manager, blockchain service provider, or trading exchange, get in touch with our team to explore opportunities for partnering in the Wirex-Payment-Network.
If you happen to see me at a blockchain conference, do say hi. I would be thrilled to hear about your project and share a few thoughts on blockchain marketing and the Wirex ecosystem.
And if you thought 2017 was a big year for cryptocurrency, my market insight systems are all flashing strong signals for 2018 being a bonanza of growth that will push the Oozing-With-Success-O-Meter up to at least a 7.