Bitcoin, Ethereum … what does the blockchain industry really weigh?
After peaking at $ 160 million seen in the first quarter of the year, blockchain investments appear to be slowing in the third quarter, according to the study results “State of Blockchain Q3 2016“, produced by CoinDesk, an American media specializing in bitcoin. With $ 114 million invested in companies in the sector, they are indeed down 18% compared to the same period in 2015. The $ 55 million raised by Ripple in September count for a lot in these quarterly results. The American company has developed a blockchain that reduces the costs of transfers between banks.
Where is the blockchain industry really at? Who are the main players in the sector today? State of play with CoinDesk.
In the report, bitcoin specialists distinguish three main types of blockchain: the public blockchains, which allows its users to carry out transactions without intermediary thanks to a virtual currency, corporate blockchains, which work the same way at the scale of a company but without virtual currency, and finally hybrid models, built on public blockchains and running on closed networks.
Investments in bitcoin more than 100 times higher than those in ethereum
First reminder from the authors of the study, if bitcoin is often taken as an example to illustrate the principles of blockchain, it is only one type of open infrastructure currently in operation.
The share of blockchain projects integrating bitcoin is declining, in favor of other technologies such asethereum, which allows you to create fully decentralized applications. This blockchain is also considered to be better managed than bitcoin, if we are to believe a survey conducted by CoinDesk among 240 leaders of companies in the blockchain sector, the results of which are included in the study. 37% of respondents believe that the governance of ethereum is better than that of bitcoin.
It should be noted that ethereum projects are currently still very little funded by venture capital companies: barely $ 8 million has been invested in this type of company since the start of the year, against $ 949 million in bitcoin (over 100 times more). We will therefore have to wait a few more years before seeing ethereum take precedence over bitcoin, if this were to happen.
Bitcoin, a new safe haven
Another lesson of the study, bitcoin, although competing with other virtual currencies, seems to be gradually establishing itself as a reserve currency, serving as a basis for exchanges carried out in other virtual currencies.
Almost three quarters of transactions carried out in ethereum (by volume) were indeed made from bitcoin, far ahead of those carried out in dollars (16%) or euros (9.7%).
However, the media’s favorite virtual currency still has a bright future ahead of it. Bitcoin’s price has stabilized around $ 600 since the end of July, up 29% from the start of the year. This is better than the evolution of the price of silver (+ 27%) or gold (+ 19%) over the same period, confirming the impression that bitcoin would become a safe haven.
Banking, insurance and trading are interested in blockchain
In addition to ethereum, other blockchains are developing, such as Ripple or Zcash. However, for the authors of the study, it is the very principle of blockchain that really interests companies, and not the virtual currencies in circulation.
At present, nearly 70 projects Proof of concept (POC) blockchain have been announced by large global companies. The banking, insurance and trading sectors are the most interested in these topics, if CoinDesk is to be believed. Nearly half of the world’s main banks are in fact working on a POC project, like Société Générale, ING, or even HSBC.
Governments, for their part, are trying to regulate this activity, which is currently beyond their control. Discussions are underway in Florida to determine whether bitcoin is really a currency, and whether monetary regulations apply to it, or not.
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