Due to the launch of bitcoin futures and derivatives on the traditional stock exchanges; establishment of over a 100 hedge funds that trade cryptocurrencies; and cryptocurrency market capitalization reaching more than $500 billion in 2017, experts justly believe that the current cryptomarket has become the fastest growing and most promising industry of our generation. We have gathered the views and predictions of experts and key industry players on cryptocurrency market development in 2018.

Expert opinions

The CEO of Node40, a blockchain governance and cryptocurrency tax compliance company, Perry Woodin believes that 2018 will be the year of mass public awareness for cryptocurrency.

"It is going to be the year when every friend and relative will want to know how much you have and how to purchase it," says Woodin.

No doubt there will be a rise in the number of people using cryptocurrencies. Yonatan Sela, SVP business development of PROPS by YouNow, which uses blockchain to build a media ecosystem, estimates that by the end of 2018, we will see over 50 million people worldwide holding at least one cryptocurrency. While new research by the London Block Exchange (LBX) has concluded that by the end of 2018 one in three millennials will invested into crypto market.

The decision of traditional stock exchanges CBOE and CME to list bitcoin futures and options contracts made the first cryptocurrency of the world and, probably soon, other cryptocurrencies, a new asset class similar to precious metals, energy resources, government bonds, and many other goods and securities. Thus, next year the position of cryptocurrencies will be more legitimate in the existing financial and legal system. Simon Yu, CEO of StormX, shares this statement. He is sure that 2018 will be one of the best years for cryptocurrency and push the market to a new level.

"Until now it has been primarily retail investors pushing the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. With a futures market and options to reduce the risk profile, more institutional investors will finally be able to start jumping in. But with financial instruments, we could see trillions of dollars in institutional money flow in over the next few years."

Shidan Gouran, President of Global Blockchain Technologies, has no doubt that cryptocurrency will see even more significant achievements on the horizon in 2018.

"While a significant percentage of the consumer population is either using or, at least, comfortable with cryptocurrencies, the same cannot yet be said of governments and institutions. This is to be expected, as organizations, both public and private, tend to have longer learning curves in adopting new technologies. We sense that this learning curve will be the focal point of cryptocurrency and blockchain developments in 2018, overcoming many of the obstacles that have prevented public and institutional involvement in this sphere. This will bring everybody onto the same page, greatly enriching the potential of these technologies with the participation of influential entities, unlocking functionality that would not be possible otherwise. Between continued institutional investment in cryptocurrencies, the offering of bitcoin-based futures, and governments beginning to work on their own blockchain projects, there are already symptoms of these technologies catching on at the public and institutional levels. We, therefore, predict that 2018 will see sustained growth and adoption, building on existing progress to date by welcoming new stakeholders".

According to the CEO of Biddable Mark Lurie, many investors will focus on the alternative cryptocurrencies, including litecoin, dash, and iota, rather than bitcoin or ether. Lurie believes that in investing, in 2018, there's going to be a strong push toward diversifying cryptoassets and crypto investment management will be handled the way investors look at traditional assets and investing.

Mike Poutre, CEO of the Crypto Company, noted that less volatility in Bitcoin would influence on alternative cryptocurrencies and we would also see the rise of securities tokens. He predicts a market cap of $5 trillion by the end of the year.

Dmitriy Zhulin, Co-founder of INS Ecosystem, expects that as blockchain technology continues to shape, bitcoin will grow up to approximately $30-40,000 in 2018 based on its convenience and further adoption as a means of payment and capital preservation. Moreover, Trevor Koverko, the President of Canadian company Polymath, believes that Bitcoin will emerge as a payment network.

"Currently Bitcoin is being used as a speculative asset and store of value. But as scaling solutions like the lightning network emerge ( Bitcoin-based network, that allows users to make an unlimited number of micropayments ― DeCenter), bitcoin's utility dramatically increase along with its price. The real question is will it be the bitcoin ‘main chain' that has the courage to adopt these upgrades or will it be another chain like Bitcoin Cash?"