What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is the digital public ledger where cryptocurrencies occur. Through a blockchain, everyone in the network can see every account balance. Every transaction includes a file with a sender, recipient public key, and the number of coins involved in the transaction. The transaction is sent with a private key by the sender in the form of cryptography.

A blockchain is decentralized and is constantly growing with completed blocks. The most recent transaction is added in chronological order, which allows the blockchain participants to keep track of the transactions without central recordkeeping.

Blockchain was created by the same developer who invented Bitcoin in 2008. Since the creation of cryptocurrencies, while the digital money may not be embraced by everyone, blockchain technology has grown in popularity, along with many other financial technology innovations.

Most of the news surrounding blockchain is attached to cryptocurrency but there is more to blockchain than just cryptocurrency. It is fairly agreed upon that blockchain will grow beyond than just cryptocurrency. Big banks have been making deals with major technology companies and even small startups to develop ways for blockchain to work for them. The technology has also been utilized for accounting and cybersecurity.

While many may think that blockchain technology has reached its limits, others are saying we are just getting started. Let’s take a look at what is being predicted for blockchain in 2019.

Blockchain to Look Out for

There are major shifts expected to take place this year in terms of how blockchain tech works. One expected change is in speed. Faster payments, settlements, and on-boarding are predicted. This is great news since speed is quite important in terms of user experience. With faster speeds, less frustration will come.

More people are also predicted to catch onto blockchain. People are what makes the industry grow. As more people are attracted to the product, the more developments will be seen. This includes product managers and designers. Rationality and elegance will enter an industry that not only wants it, but also needs it.

Blockchain advocates and developers are also hoping to reach one goal this year. That is mobility. The technology up to this point has been a desktop game, which isn’t very lucrative since most of our major technology these days is mobile. Developers are beginning to create mobile-first, or even completely mobile, technology for blockchain.

One blockchain to keep your eyes open for in 2019 is Hybrid blockchain. It’s hybrid because it takes the best features from both private and public blockchain. Government entities will find this especially attractive since they can’t go completely decentralized with a public ledger but also cannot be 100% private since they need to interact with the public. Hybrid blockchain can also allow companies to provide customized solutions while making proper use of what blockchain can offer in terms of transparency, integrity, and security.

Another blockchain technology to look out for this year is BaaS, or Blockchain as a Service. This cloud-based service changes the way startups and enterprises work with blockchain technology. The service allows customers to create their own blockchain-powered products like apps, smart contracts, and other features. It also allows for companies to utilize blockchain without the hassle of the initial investment.  Amazon and Microsoft already provide services like this and the use will only increase throughout 2019.

Federated Blockchain is another blockchain innovation expected to make an appearance. This gives private blockchain more customization. With Federated blockchain, the chain is not controlled by one organization but rather by many authorities and pre-select nodes. The group of nodes ensures the block is validated. This will come in handy with insurance claims, financial services, and supply chain management. Walmart has already used federated blockchain for food traceability.

We can’t forget about cryptocurrencies. Stable Coin may be growing this year. Stable Coin is not your average cryptocoin because it is not affected by the market conditions and has stable prices. Some Stable Coins are fiat-backed but others are backed by commodities or cryptocurrencies.

Space Travel?

Yes, you read that right. Blockchain technology is being used for space travel. The future of space exploration is no longer completely in the hands of government organizations like NASA. Spacebit is a company that is using blockchain technology to give the possibility of space travel to people and change how we see space travel.

Spacebit is tokenizing commercial space missions around the world which creates a new ecosystem for public involvement. The company’s other mission is to democratize access to space and give humans access to space destinations such as Mars and beyond.

Beyond Blockchain

The shift we are seeing is that of a digital age. Tech-savvy individuals are seeking easy access, convenience, efficiency, and speed in every part of their lives, including their finances. Having the ability to make transactions from the convenience of a phone or other electronic platform is what is creating this strong push towards Fintech.

Looking beyond blockchains, we are seeing technology have a hand in simple things such as payment and holding money, and more complex life aspects like investment advising. Some companies are even developing ways artificial intelligence can assist in hedge fund managing!

Where We Come in

Fintech is a fairly new area of investment and combines two of the most promising sectors in today’s world: finance and technology. It is highly popular among small businesses and startups.

There has been a recent shift for those looking to manage their finances that has drawn people to using technology to help them with the task. With this push, fintech startup companies directly help with traditional banking and financial institutions. In several countries around the globe, fintech companies are slowly taking over, providing services and products that were once found only through financial institutions.

If you are ready to make the leap into the world of fintech, Alpen Partners can help. Alpen Partners Wealth Management International AG, the sister company of Alpen Partners Wealth Management AG, is now a registered investment advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Together with our partner Swiss private banks, our company can now offer the full Swiss private banking experience to American clients, both resident and non-resident.