In 2018, the market experienced a severe price correction to the extent that some are beginning to doubt the future blockchain technology promises. Still, in spite of all the losses and FUD, the fundamentals continue to grow, and 2019 is promising to be an exciting year in terms of project development as well as cryptocurrencies edging toward the mainstream.
Bitcoin’s blockchain network continues to develop despite the bear market, the most notable aspect of development being the Lightning Network. Bitcoin currently processes about 7 transactions per second. This low transaction speed is the major technical argument against Bitcoin.
Lightning Network is a solution created in late 2017 to help Bitcoin scale and achieve a high transaction speed. The Lightning Network has witnessed steady progress over the course of 2018, gained adoption from a payment processing startup known as CoinGate, and recently grew by 300% with support from over 4,000 nodes. A full-version release of the Lightning Network is expected in 2019. The success of it will then be based on adoption, which will take some time.
Since 2015, the Ethereum blockchain network already has so many dapps and games on its network, that concerns about scaling have been raised.
Ethereum boasts over 2,000 dapps on its platform, and developers have been hard-pressed to create a solution to its scalability issues. Even smart contract functionality must be constantly upgraded, as the blockchain industry keeps evolving.
Ethereum’s next update, named Constantinpole, is designed to improve the efficiency of the blockchain network, reduce block reward for miners and make the blockchain network more ASIC-resistant.
Ethereum plans to have a second upgrade, which will include implementation of the Casper protocol and sharding.
Also, PoS solves the problem of large mining operations having too much power over the course of the blockchain network.
As Bitcoin is becoming a store of value, people might be reluctant to use it in everyday transactions, preferring instead to store it. Litecoin is an alternative created to enable everyday payments.
Litecoin Foundation already has a campaign that encourages this, paywithlitecoin.co, which basically showcases the benefits of paying with LTC, such as high-speed transactions and low fees.
The LTC fees are expected to go much lower with the release of Litecoin Core 0.17. This update was announced in October 2018, and will likely be released early in 2019.
TRON launched its mainnet on June 25, 2018, and has been growing ever since.
Recently, Tron surpassed Ethereum in dapps usage, as well as in the number and volume of transactions put through these dapps.
In an interview, Justin Sun, CEO of the Tron Foundation, says that Tron will adopt zk-SNARKS into the network. Expected to take place in Q1 2019, this means the transfer TRX tokens can be anonymous and private to a larger extent.
Another thing worth mentioning is the acquisition of BitTorrent by Tron in July 2018, which is a move to foster the mainstream adoption of Tron. Tron will use its network to build BitTorrent more efficiently in 2019, a development known as Project Atlas.
Other Upcoming Crypto-Related Products and Services in 2019
IOTA and Volkswagen have scheduled the launch of a digital car pass for Q1 2019. This would be the first working product for IOTA. This is expected to be the first of many, as IOTA already has partnerships with other companies with whom they have plans to create products with their Tangle technology.