I've made only two predictions for 2018, and both of them came out of frustration and disbelief.
We spoke about the first last week (only 2 of the TOP 10 coins keeping their status for 2018 and things are looking good for now on this one!). That one came after seeing TRON in the top-10, which is just unacceptable.
The other one was that 2018 would be the year centralized exchanges died
. And it came after I had withdrawals stopped and limits imposed from multiple exchanges. The prediction wasn't so popular (nor was the first one to be honest, actually have a 10 ETH bet on that one) but I still stand by it.
This week, the second of the year, was a clear demonstration of my point (or at least I like to believe so).
Kraken, one of the major exchanges, gave a 7-hour notice before an upgrade that should have taken 2 hours.
The result was a 3-day period where the site was unavailable, and people were losing money in a bear market.
Now the site is back online, but all orders have been cancelled and withdrawals are paused.
We have several friends who had orders placed and withdrawals initiated, who actually came to understand on their skin why decentralized exchanges will take the lead in 2018.
Centralized and custodial exchanges are the exact antithesis of why Bitcoin was born and why (we like to think) people spend their time in the crypto world.
We are building trustless technology to remove middlemen, monopolies and risk.
And yet, we have people leaving all of their coins in a centralized database entry, just one backup-failure away from being deleted forever.
I think that incidents like the Kraken one, and all the other ones that are bound to happen this year, will make more and more people consider decentralized and non-custodial exchanges.
Radar Relay, which was just recently launched, is already at $1.5M/day in volume while Etherdelta is already at more than $10M. Paradex just launched too and other relayers are being built.
That's obviously nothing compared to the $40B vol of the centralized exchanges, but our hypothesis is that there will be a swarm of DEXs and other non-custodial exchanges and that they will take the lead, especially as regulations will start to appear more markedly this year. Hiding in Hong Kong with weird shell-companies and personal bank accounts won't be enough.
(BTW, Bitfinex is also back with account registrations now open. Trading becomes available when you deposit at least $10k worth of fiat or crypto).