Cryptocurrency could be due for a big comeback. Last month saw the debut of Asia’s largest blockchain conference, the International Blockchain Congress in India, with over 5,000 registered attendees and over 200 government attendees. It’s a huge sign of interest in the technology, and the CEO of co-host Nucleus Vision sees it as a sign that the markets are about to soar.
“It only needs a few triggers globally to bring the market back up,” Abhishek Pitti tells Inverse. “What happened in India is giving everybody this huge signal that the governments are supporting the blockchain applications. The crypto markets are just following signals that come. There definitely has been lag in coming back, but based on the blockchain adoption in the community, the crypto markets are only a signal away to come back up. Though it’s a little bearish at the moment, I think it’s only a short-term thing.”
Bitcoin’s current price of $7,375 is well below its December 2017 peak of nearly $20,000, while the total cryptocurrency market cap of $240 billion is well below its $830 billion peak at the start of January.
“People who have been in this industry have seen this movement multiple times,” Pitti says, citing the 2014 drop in bitcoin price from around $1,500 to near the $200 mark that caused many to question the long-term potential of the industry. “Because of the underlying principles of blockchain and the decentralization, the entire disintermediation of resources, I think the blockchain is obviously here to stay.”
Developers are still exploring new applications for both the coins and the decentralized blockchain ledger that underpins its workings despite the downturn, with Revolut offering crypto cashbacks and Everipedia launching a censorship-proof blockchain encyclopedia.
This year’s conference, hosted in Hyderabad on August 3 and 4 and in Goa on August 5, saw several memorandums of understanding signed between governments and organizations. The conference also saw the announcement of the India-developed Eleven01 blockchain protocol.
“Eleven01 is an emerging market centric blockchain protocol with government compliance standards, which serves as a foundation for decentralized applications,” Rama Iyer, president of the Eleven01 Foundation, said in a statement. “This will create a blockchain ecosystem and build a nation-centric procedure which is custom built for the country’s needs.”
A representative from Telengana’s state government highlighted the role of the country’s largest incubator T-Hub in bringing the project to life. The state government, along with the Goa state government, co-hosted the conference.
“That has happened nowhere in the world, where you have 200 people from the government attending the conference,” Pitti says.
Pitti predicts that growing interest in the technology will lead to more interest in the second annual blockchain congress next year, projecting a tenfold increase in attendees. The team is also scheduling a women’s hackathon at the end of February in the state of Goa.
Cryptocurrency may not make headlines like it used to, but its proponents are working away on its future applications.