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Nevermind the Bears: 2018 The cryptic Crypto Awakening was needed

Han Yoon is the CEO of Lunar Digital Assets, a project consulting and marketing company focused on the blockchain.

The following is an exclusive contribution for the 2018 year of CoinDesk under consideration.

2018 years in review

The brutal bear market that we have faced this year was not only necessary, it is beneficial for the long-term prospects of this rapidly growing sector. Yes, I know – you've already heard it a million times. But honestly, this bear market was the best thing that happened to our company.

I say this with humility, because we have had a great guide and advisors guiding us along the way – this market has made our company more resilient than ever, forced us to be more innovative and will give a huge sense of pride and fulfillment when it comes out I live and strive.

Not many companies linked to the blockchain, whether it be projects, funds, agencies or even miners can say the same. This is Darwinism at work. Periodically, I feel that the investment groups have no more money to invest, the scrambled funds have declined more than 80% from the beginning of the year and the Icos who were swimming in cash that are now bankrupt and in balance to stay alive.

The 2019 theme, it seems, will be the survival of the fittest.

Welcome back to reality

2018 was an alarm bell, a rude awakening from the 2017 dream bull run in which shady entities could raise $ 30 million with an idea, a white paper and a website.

Welcome to reality. Fiat still reigns, investors want returns and the government can easily impose regulations to scare investors. Unlike the financial world, however, there are no government bailouts. Ironically, unlike the financial world, many people will go to jail for fraud, scams and even "crimes" defined by archaic laws that should not apply to this new class of activity.

Decentralization, a word that we throw around so often now, is a very powerful – and dangerous – ideology. We have become so desensitized to the word and its potential implications for the future of the world that most people forget how this entire blockchain industry has been intercepted. A single, powerful white paper has given rise to this movement.

Nobody thought it would be easy or quickly met with mainstream adoption. Decentralization is essentially a proxy war against the government, oppressive financial systems and irresponsible or greedy societies.

And Satoshi Nakamoto, the creators of bitcoin, knew the dangers and the risk that he could grant his sustenance and his family. Can you really blame him for being anonymous?

2017: more harm than good?

The truth is that 2017 was absolutely unjustified. I'm not talking about Bitcoin, because if there's one thing that's justified, it's the Bitcoin bull run. It is simply how the market cycle works.

Those in criptovalute know it well enough. So-called "experts" on the mainstream media can say what they want, but Bitcoin is not going anywhere. It's the most tested network for security and resilience, and believe it or not, adoption is growing faster than ever.

What was not justified, however, was the ICO craze that allowed us to happen.

It has irreparably damaged the connotation that derives from the three letters "ICO". People are now becoming creative – PTO, IEO, MNO and everything else … just to distance themselves from the words "initial offer of coins". And we sat down to watch it happening, knowing full well that 90 percent of the projects would fail entirely. But how can we say something when the projects were doing 5x, 10x, 25x, 50x, 100x and people are happy?

I will not lie and I will say that I have never been tempted to write a short white paper and create a fancy website with trendy words to make a million copies. Also I will not lie and I will say that I did not lose much money by holding back. Everyone laughed and mocked the creator of litecoin Charlie Lee when he sold the top, but I wonder who is sitting comfortably now.

The mania of the ICO has just happened so fast and so intense that regulators have not been given the opportunity to think about creating a new asset class for the modern world. We hope that some good news will come from Congressman Davidson's plan to introduce legislation to reclassify digital resources.

Looking forward to 2019

The price is almost irrelevant to altcoin now. We can think of 2018 as the year when those "AOL CDs" were "broadcast" in people's mailboxes. Thousands of the world's smartest cryptographers, engineers and developers are building the necessary infrastructure for the decentralized web, which many call "web 3.0".

If you are looking to build a business, there is a saying: "follow the money". If you're trying to get involved in the next technology that transforms the world, I like to say "follow the nerds" (this is a compliment, not an insult).

2019 will certainly be an interesting year, with much to be won. Billions of dollars are still poured into R & D and blockchain projects, it's not just Bitcoin anymore. The race is underway for mainstream adoption. Which protocol will be the next IPv4, HTTP, SMTP? Who will build the first MySpace? Which network will drive us crazy with fiber-optic transfer speed? Who is the new idea one day will dethrone Reddit, as he did to Digg?

There must not be a single protocol or standard platform – that's not my point. The point is that now the infrastructure has just been developed and tested, some obviously have better performance than others.

We are moving away from being a speculative market at such a rapid pace that, honestly, it took me by surprise. Retail investors are currently performing due diligence before investing now! What a lovely sight to see.

In the last six months we have received tens of hundreds, perhaps thousands of e-mails and requests from "projects" without working products, no blockchain experience and no reason to create a token for their idea. On average, we hire less than 20% of customers seeking help after performing due diligence and investing less than 1% of those seeking funding.

We have been blessed enough to be able to "choose" the projects we want to work with, thanks to all the word of mouth from friends, partners, consultants and old school networks. We welcomed the bear market with open arms because we were able to help projects achieve their goals. And through this process, we have learned a lot.

Closing thoughts

Blockchain projects, of course, can not be assessed in the same way as traditional companies.

Bitcoin started as a basic movement, with a small group of cryptographers. This fundamental principle has not changed and we emphasize it to all our customers. The single most important factor for the survival of a project is its community. Without community, there is no network. Without a network, there is no value.

I will discuss that 2018 was the most important year so far in decentralization. Yes, many people have lost a lot of money. Yes, there were scams and money. Yes, we could have done a better job trying to protect consumers and ultimately the sector. But the industry is stronger and grows faster than ever, despite what the prices say.

For those in the long run, and for those who want to build an empire, this year's bear market has been a privileged opportunity to really focus on building. If you're thinking "it's too late for me", you're completely wrong. You are not seeing the big picture. We are still on AOL dial-up internet. The canvas is still 99.9% intact. Draw something with pencils until the brushes are available. It is not necessary to keep an ICO to draw – to add value and ideas to this baby-stage industry.

2019 will be the year in which we will truly discover which teams are capable, which technology is scalable and flexible and which "new" ideas we see appearing every day are applicable.

Do you have an approved opinion of 2018? CoinDesk is looking for proposals for our 2018 under consideration. News via e-mail [at] coindesk.com to learn how to be involved.

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