2017 will be known as the year that cryptocurrency went mainstream.

But what’s even more interesting to many of us who have been investing in the area for the past several years is the evolution of the underlying juicy technology.

Blockchain technology, which is known to power most cryptocurrencies, is in its primitive stages. In 2017, we began to see some early proof points of how this new support can be used, including the statement by the Australian Securities Exchange that it would replace its current post-trade settlement process with a blockchain system, after running both coextensively.

This reminds us of the process large enterprises had to go through in the late 1990s and early 2000s as they migrated from client-server software to web-based software, moving their supply chain and procurement processes online. They carried out an extensive return on investment (ROI) studies to verify the upfront cost of replacing current systems. Twenty years later, the ROI became obvious, but many companies viewed the risk as significant at that time.

I firmly believe that we’ll continue to see more substantial companies across more industries in 2018 as we take a look at how blockchain technology can conceive effectiveness (and potentially model new business ideas in the future).

When Future\Perfect Ventures was launched in 2014 around the thesis of decentralization, we were most excited about the blend of blockchain with other emerging technologies, including machine learning/AI, security, and (IoT) internet of things. In this way, we expect that 2018 will be the year that we start to see the convergence of these technologies to create the decentralized computing and communications platforms of the foreseen future.

Decentralization with its very nature demands that more intelligence shifts to nodes rather than residing in one central server.

We will continue to see the very evolution of semiconductors that are capable of advanced computing in smaller and miniature devices. As the machines at the edge become smarter, the smart contracts authorized by blockchain platforms will work better with more sophisticated data analytics abilities.

We will be seeing a mini-brain in each of our devices, ranging from simplistic ones to ones capable of processing more massive datasets and making judgments based on the forage data.

The open availability of more data and intelligent processing at the nodes will enable broader datasets available to more companies and people, instead of exclusive data ownership that currently exists within companies such as Facebook and Google. More importantly, that data will be diverse and representative of the world we live in, instead of being filtered by a few companies that reside in one geography.

While this may not all happen within the next year, we have started an inevitable march towards that future, one that will be even more transformative than the internet was.

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