The most interesting blockchain developments in 2018 were around stablecoins and security tokens, at least in my opinion. There were a lot of new projects, smart people, money and surprises (for example https://medium.com/basis-blog/basis-update-ae96e3565b1d) in both areas. I find it encouraging and ironic at the same time. Encouraging because the crypto-world realized that in order to have mass adoption of the blockchain technology, it has to be more predictable, civilized, regulated and compliant. It’s ironic for the same reasons: the technology that was originally created as an alternative to the existing financial and monetary systems now has to comply with the existing financial rules and regulations (security tokens) and accept the government-endorsed, fiat money as the standard for payments ($ pegged stablecoins).
The initial idea behind cryptocurrencies and ICOs was to create an alternative financial system free from the tyranny of the SEC, Wall Street, banks and the worthless fiat money that governments devalue and use as a hidden tax on people’s wealth. The brave, new, decentralized and transparent financial world, governed by the law of the immutable code, was supposed to empower the oppressed poor, give easy access to capital to the brightest; and unlock the unrealized potential and wisdom of the crowd. Well, maybe it did in some cases. There are certainly very interesting and noble blockchain projects out there. But these are scarce. The vast majority of money in the space participates in the biggest unregulated 24/7 casino ever created. And, surprise, surprise, as there are no rules, licences or customer protection, scams, market manipulations, false reporting and bad governance are prevalent. The outcome is far from fair or decentralized: for example, 87.5% of BTC is owned by only 0.66% of the wallet addresses (https://bitinfocharts.com/top-100-richest-bitcoin-addresses.html).