The events of the last few weeks have been unprecedented and beyond anything the world has seen in peacetime. Uncertainty is everywhere and the world seems to have paused as we adjust to the new, albeit it temporary, norms.
At the time of writing the Isle of Man has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19, whilst numbers continue to grow across the globe we are indeed living in unchartered times. The Isle of Man Government has responded appropriately with effective safeguards now in place but how do these changes in the global landscape effect the nascent cryptocurrency and blockchain industries? What can be gained as insight as we move into this pandemic?
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
It is interesting to consider the reason that Bitcoin was conceived, as a response to the financial crisis of 2008. However, the asset class has not yet weathered a global recession and many watch the effects these uncertain times will have upon it. The price dropped and recovered a little with mixed analysis of what happens next, so the coming weeks will be interesting to observe. Meanwhile many of the fragile tokens and coins have lost further value, perhaps taking them even further from regaining their ICO values or gains seen post launch. As discussed in my last blog many have no real value and the global situation has further reinforced this reality.
Retail traders and investors
When China faced total lockdown during January there was a huge demand for crypto-related activities among those at home and those who wanted to diversify their source of income whilst learning about the technology. Following this trend with the benefit of hindsight many in industry are urging European countries who now find themselves in the midst of the current falling market to explore this opportunity the same way the Asian market has. Italian bank Banka Sella has allowed Bitcoin trading for its 1.2 million customers due to the surge of interest. With some banks already allowing exposure to BTC and other top crypto assets, will we witness any others follow suit whilst the pandemic continues?
Decentralised business as usual?
Many believe that by their very nature decentralised organisations in the blockchain space have an advantage for this kind of shift. I have spent the last few years working in decentralised teams, particularly working with developers in different continents. I have been used to supporting complex projects without ever being in the same building or country as our colleagues, so for many it is business as usual. One key point stands out – the more centralised the business, the more adjustment required. The more decentralisation the quicker companies have adapted and pressed ahead with business as usual.
Marketing – a case for digital
After the initial COVID-19 cases being identified, this strategy should be used by business as a responsible safe distance method of transacting with both customers and employees. This builds from the government and scientific advice to stay at home. On the back of this advice, businesses are pivoting – this means taking their businesses online. Over the last few weeks we have seen meetings moved online, budgets for travel and events shift to digital marketing and PR, whilst seeing new enquiries about how companies pivot their strategies to embrace this new normal. In addition, there is an increase in Internet traffic, meaning online marketing becomes even more effective. I am intrigued to see how industry will adapt to the lack of opportunities for networking at events. Sadly the IOM Blockchain Summit has been postponed, whilst some such as Consensus have moved online. Tech communities will respond with innovative solutions to this conundrum and the lasting effects will be telling, perhaps changing how we collaborate and network in the future.
How about funding? Tough enough during the status quo, however if you are planning to raise funds through crowdfunding for innovative blockchain projects, could now actually could be a great time to do so? If raising funds through an ICO or IEO, perhaps the drop in Bitcoin priced should not deter you, in fact some investors will create opportunities in challenging market conditions. How this effects the institutional Money remains to be seen. I have seen deals accelerated due to restrictions in travel and equally I have just seen one fall through for the very same reason. In these uncertain times there will be opportunities and failures alike. However, as we push towards the end of this crisis, whenever that may be, I for one am confident that innovative digital businesses may help lead the way for us all. If you wish to speak to us about supporting your business during this period of uncertainty, please contact one of our friendly and knowledgable team.