Prediction #1: Valuation metrics for crypto will become more mainstream
FALSE. Crypto valuations has made a lot of progress this past year , including:
Prediction #2: The ICO “Distressed” opportunity will emerge
FALSE. We expected there to be M&A, tender offers, activist campaigns (we even unsuccessfully attempted one) and just plain distressed value investing (like buying tokens where cash value in Treasury was greater than token value). But none of these have materialized yet. This is partially due to lack of transparency from token projects, but is mainly due to a lack of capital into funds dedicated to these strategies - the legal bills alone will be massive. There is a still a huge opportunity here, and only a select group of former Wall Street-run crypto funds are positioned to take advantage of these dislocations.
Prediction #3 Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash will not become a Medium of Exchange
TRUE. Thus far (at least in developed countries). Stablecoins have and will become mediums of exchange, whereas Bitcoin will continue to be a store of value, and other select digital assets will simply be quasi-equity like assets. We believe this can change in the far distant future once tax consequences are loosened, mobile “banking”-like apps become more user-friendly, and volatility subsides. As such, Bitcoin’s progression will be SoV->MoE->UoA.
Prediction #4: Value accretion will switch from service providers to applications
MIXED. On the one hand, equity valuations of crypto service providers (exchanges, miners, data providers, trade systems, custodians, OTC desks) have been trending down because the market has way too many service providers relative to the people/firms that they service. On the other hand, we still haven’t seen many “killer apps” develop. This shift is starting to happen - it’s just taking longer than expected and there are fewer success stories. For example, companies like Brave, Flexa, HXRO, and Lolli are growing users at a rapid clip and have increased their equity valuations, but this is still a small sample size of everyday crypto apps that have penetrated the market.
Prediction #5: The market will separate into “Haves versus Have nots”
TRUE. We’ve been pretty vocal on this topic, and it has been quite accurate. There are far more losers than winners in 2019, and this has largely been based on themes. Bitcoin aside, most of the legacy decentralized digital assets that took the market by storm in 2017 have largely died out or moved out of favor with the possibility of never recovering, while new up-and-coming companies that utilize tokens have moved into favor. We think this trend will continue.
Prediction #6: ETH will underperform ETH-related tokens
TRUE. We made this argument pretty succinctly, and took a lot of heat for it from Ethereum fans, but we were pretty accurate. Ethereum is one of the most important developments in all of crypto, with so much of the ecosystem built on top of, or connected to the Ethereum blockchain. But the ETH token itself has failed to capture this value (negative 2019 return), while tokens of projects that are derivatives of the ecosystem (MKR, SNX, LINK, etc) have performed much better.
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