Every year in May, industry leaders, head developers, and early adopters in the crypto space meet in New York City for all things cryptocurrency. This year, thousands of individuals worldwide, representing companies and startups throughout the entire crypto and enterprise spectrum, connected through a number of conferences, panels, workshops, and meetups. While their interests are as diverse as they themselves, there were three common topics that discussion turned to time and time again:
Consensus 2019 kicked off at the same time as perhaps the biggest news in crypto of the year: that Starbucks, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, and other major companies now accepted Bitcoin. The start of Consensus also gave way to a rumor that eBay might be going crypto, through an advertisement in the venue that read: “Digital Collectibles. It’s happening on eBay.”
Since the early days of cryptocurrency, brick-and-mortar merchant acceptance has always been a primary goal towards “mainstream adoption”. Now, in 2019, the potential and capabilities of blockchain and crypto have expanded immensely, but that early aspiration towards everyday use has remained at the forefront. While many in the space argue that they’d rather hold crypto and spend fiat, this news of adoption continued to spike buzz from everyone discussing and networking in New York.
2. Tokenized Ownership
Digital asset ownership is not a new concept to cryptocurrency, and has already seen integration by major corporations. Major League Baseball rolled out digital bobbleheads on Ethereum in 2018. Now, eBay suggests it’s going to list digital collectibles on their marketplace. But beyond tokenized collectibles and video game assets, the conversation regarding tokenized ownership continues to expand.
Having taken place, the conversation has perhaps been biased, but many individuals attending Consensus and other events have continued to talk about the role in tokenizing assets in both the real estate and fashion industries (two of the largest industries in New York). Both stand to gain immensely. Tokenized real estate would improve the process of selling, renting, and leasing properties significantly. In fashion, tokenized products can be used to ensure authenticity and defend against a counterfeit goods industry worth over US$100 billion.
1. DeFi (Decentralized Finance)
The main theme of Consensus 2019 was DeFi, and for many enthusiasts and actors in the space, that was the focus that drove their conversations and connections throughout the week. A niche that is currently led by MakerDAO, the DeFi theme was formulated early in the week, when over 500 drinks were purchased with DAI at the DAI Hard Drinks event through a state channel payment solution.
The idea behind decentralized finance is that individuals will be able to service one another with their financial needs and capacities, no middleman required. In the Maker ecosystem, users can take out loans in DAI directly through the autonomous organization. As it stands currently, DAI loans can only be issued against Ether collateral. But in the future, collateral can potentially be collected through any asset- crypto or traditional. Beyond just autonomous lending, some services encompassed by DeFi that might take hold in the future is decentralized insurance pools, banks, and venture capital.