What’s in store for 2018 ?
2017 was a big year for cryptocurrencies and blockchain. A weird one, but a big one. A lot has changed since the start of 2017. David Cassidy, Tom Petty, and Roger Moore were still alive. Russia was still in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Cryptocurrency investing really changed in 2017. It changed from an activity that was largely on the margins of the financial world to a massive global community filled with jokes, symbols and idiosyncrasies.
But even as blockchain and cryptocurrency have fully hit the mainstream, there’s still been a good amount of unique, strange, interesting, and downright absurd projects that have incorporated crypto in 2017.
One of these endeavours actually seems pretty serious. Anton Doos’ Lotus Network hopes to take advantage of the blockchain to roll out something called Karma Tokens. These tokens would be used to essentially cut down on corruption in the Buddhist world by giving students a way to pay teachers or a school, and then make sure their money is being used for good.
Doos says “any religious institution that accepts donations or deals with money ought to be using a cryptocurrency…in order to establish a transparent audit trail for its followers.”
In addition, cryptocurrency and blockchain became the focal point for several interesting artistic expressions over the past year. One of these projects was called Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain, which was published by a U.K. arts and technology center called Furtherfield. The book is a combination of speculative fiction, interviews, illustrations, and theory that delves into an eclectic mix of topics- including an overview of mining in contemporary art and the Hippocratic oath of a blockchain developer.
One of the novellas associated with the anthology is called Bad Shibe, which is a story published in 2017 about a young shibe who begins to “question the underpinnings of the tokenized-reputation system that governs their world.”
Another artistic project called Max Dovey’s Respiratory Miner lets people use a spirometry to mine Monero, (with the hashrate adjusted for the number of breaths). The interactive exhibit is scheduled to be shown again in January 2018, and was recently set up at Generator Projects in Dundee.
2017 also featured a laundry list of weird, useless, and generally scammy tokens in all shapes and forms. One of the stranger ones was the aptly named “Useless Ethereum Token” (UET). The project raised 310.445 ether after calling itself the first “100 percent honest ethereum ICO.” The project’s whitepaper discussed the necessity in this day and age to “entirely collapse the distinctions between ‘fraud’ and ‘performance art’”.
Some of 2017’s more creative token offerings also included BTCwizard’s “Initial Troll Offering”, which had a goal to give the Bitcoin wizard a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal.
One of the year’s seemingly strange blockchain projects actually made a lot of people very happy. When cute digital kittens made their first appearance in the CryptoKitties game at the end of October, no one really gave them much thought. But the cats, which are really just small bits of code on the Ethereum blockchain, started to take off in a really big way.
The game soon became immensely popular and started to clog up the entire Ethereum network. CryptoKitties accounted for just about 11% of all network traffic on Ethereum in early December. A massive influx of users on the platform quickly turned CryptoKitties into a virtual kitten mill, and some of the cats have even sold for thousands of dollars. The total dollar amount of virtual transactions has already easily eclipsed $1 million.
One entrepreneur from Austin Texas said in mid-December that his time spent on CryptoKitties had netted him more money than what he has made from his IRA retirement account. Even WikiLeaks jumped onto the CryptoKitties train, saying just a few days ago that those looking to support could buy some of the offspring from the purebred WikiLeaks CryptoKitties.
The team also announced plans to send two of the first-generation cats to President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. They specifically noted that ‘Trump’s Tender Tabby’ would “become federal property to be enjoyed by future presidents via custodians at the US National Archives” since it would have to be declared as a gift by the President.
Many are hoping that 2018 is a big year for cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Let’s hope it’s also equally as creative as 2017.