Internet Trends Report 2018: “Exploding” Interest in Crypto

Avi Rosten
  • The annual report which "tells stories of business-related trends" - identified a massive increase in cryptocurrency interest
  • The report also showed that bitcoin was a popular topic at university

Venture capitalist Mary Meeker’s popular annual Internet Trends Report has this year identified an “exploding” interest in cryptocurrency.

Compiled in conjunction with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Partners and Hillhouse Capital, the 294-page report focuses on “trends around data” to “tell stories of business-related trends.”

Of particular interest, the report showed that academic interest in cryptocurrency hit a new high in 2017 - with a Princeton course on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies ranking in the top 10 most popular university courses for the year.

 

Meeker’s report looked at some interesting stats to illustrate the increase in cryptocurrency interest: data from Coinbase shows their user numbers increasing nearly fourfold between January and December 2017.

coinbase users.png

The chart also shows a particular spike in the frenetic autumn period when bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies rose rapidly - although the chart fails to include the figures for coinbase membership during December when bitcoin reached its all-time high of $20,000.

Moving into the Mainstream

Coinbase have arguably been instrumental in the penetration of cryptocurrency into the mainstream - in particular for retail investors. One of the few exchanges to offer fiat pairings with top cryptocurrencies, the exchange and wallet provider has name recognition that extends beyond the confines of the crypto-world.

With reports released today confirming that Bittrex are set to offer Bitcoin US Dollar trading on their exchange - recent moves by other exchanges towards offering fiat pairings will no doubt increase this movement towards mainstream recognition.

Blockstream CSO Samson Mow's Firm to Launch Security Token for New Sci-Fi Game

Samson Mow, the CEO of Pixelmatic, a Shanghai-based video game development firm, and the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of Blockstream, a leading blockchain and cryptoasset company, is planning to launch a security token on the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain through a sidechain, called the Liquid network.

According to CoinDesk, Pixelmatic will be issuing security tokens for its upcoming science fiction game, called Infinite Fleet. The central theme of Infinite Fleet will involve a humans versus aliens space fighting game.

Samson Mow: ICO Projects Never Intended to Launch Working Products

As mentioned in the sci-fi game’s Twitter profile, its players will be “taking command of a fleet and joining the epic war for humanity’s survival.”

Notably, Mow has criticized the approach taken by many blockchain projects which raised a large amount of funds by launching initial coin offerings (ICOs) that used Ethereum’s ERC-20 tokens. Commenting on the controversial fundraising method, Mow remarked:

My main criticism is there’s no substance. The leaders of many ICOs have no intention of actually creating something.

Dual-Token Model for Fulfilling Multiple Purposes

The former Chief Operating Officer (COO) at BTCC, a Chinese bitcoin exchange that closed down in September 2018, explained: 

That’s why we’re doing a security token, not a token with no obligation.

He added that Infinite Fleet’s cryptocurrency project will be based on a “dual-token model” which will issue two tokens in order to fulfill two different purposes (or use cases). Instead of selling unregistered financial products, Mow’s firm will reportedly be issuing tokenized securities which will adhere to regulations that are similar to those which apply to traditional (financial) securities.

The Blockstream CSO confirmed that Infinite Fleet’s security token sale will be conducted privately. According to Pixelmatic’s management, the game's developers are planning to raise $16 million by the end of this year. They also believe that crypto exchanges will increasingly be listing and enabling the trading of compliant security tokens towards the end of 2019.

Pixelmatic’s team will be issuing a utility token, called INF, which will reportedly be distributed randomly to Infinite Fleet’s players. Users will receive INF tokens based on their “proof-of-participation.” In other words, users will be rewarded based on how much time they spend playing the game and whether they take part in “major” in-game events.

Liquid Network Is “Well-Suited” for Financial Transactions

Explaining why his firm will be launching the new token on the Liquid sidechain network, Mow said:

I do believe in the technology.

He added that it’s “well-suited” for financial transactions because it does not overload the main blockchain with smart contracts.

Mow also mentioned that the Liquid network allows for a greater level of privacy than what’s currently available on the Bitcoin blockchain. This, as Liquid uses “confidential assets” which is an experimental privacy feature that hides the type of assets associated with crypto transactions.