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Bitcoin bust (and boom and bust and boom)

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Remember a week and a half ago when Bitcoin roared past $19 thousand you were kicking yourself for not buying it when the barista at Starbucks told you about it? What about when you were patting yourself on the back for showing restraint and not jumping on the bandwagon like everyone else when it “crashed” to near $11 thousand last week. But wait. It’s back in the $15 thousand range and surely that is its level. Right?

The answer is, who knows!?

We certainly don’t. We do know, however, that this Bitcoin bust could provide welcome news for companies and industries outside of the cryptocurrency sphere attempting to build out their blockchain platforms and applications.

Instead of all the blockchain talent flocking to cryptocurrencies, the underlying technology could finally be built out on the scale that it deserves to be for industries that desperately need solutions to pressing inefficiencies like healthcare, transportation, and, let’s face it, just about every other industry.

Furthermore, blockchain technology could finally decouple its image from the roulette wheel that is the cryptocurrency craze.

Don’t believe us that the hype and the actual technology are firmly intertwined?

Exhibit A: Last week a company called Long Island Iced Tea Corp changed its name to Long Blockchain. Its shares soared by over 500 percent in pre-market trading, but then settled back to a paltry 275 percent gain on the day. And to top it off their Long Island iced tea is non-alcoholic!

Exhibit B: A struggling biotech firm called BiOptix Diagnostics changed its name to Riot Blockchain in October and the attention has followed. Shares rose from penny stock status to over 38 dollars, though it has been pummeled late this week and is currently resting at around 24 dollars.

But some companies and organizations want to capitalize on the promise of the technology without the irrationality and volatility of the cryptocurrency ethos. For them it is essential to shake the get-rich-quick image of the crypto-coin world.

Organizations such as the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) have assembled a whole range of companies within the transportation space to help write and certify the rules for blockchain technology in the industry.

But some of the inquiries they receive are from people looking to buy cryptocurrency or who are attempting to get in on an ICO (Initial Coin Offering…like an IPO except instead of stock being sold it’s a cryptocurrency).

According to David Bradford of BiTA, “We still get calls from people wanting to buy coins. They just don’t understand that blockchain does not equal Bitcoin.”

And who can blame them for thinking this with the constant barrage of new cryptocurrency products and news? Both the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) have started trading Bitcoin futures. In fact, now you can even trade them within your TD Ameritrade account. Goldman Sachs, soon to be followed by other banks, is setting up a cryptocurrency trading desk. And it seems like every day (or maybe it is every day) there is a new ICO.

So will these products keep blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies inextricably knotted or will further realization of the blockchain as a powerful force separate and apart from the crypto-world soon be actualized? We’ll place our bets on the latter.

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