Last year was supposed to be the year of blockchain. But bitcoin’s belly flop put a damper on public interest and mainstream adoption remains elusive. But blockchain pioneers made some important strides in 2018, and people are now using it to vote, deal in fine art, and microfinance entrepreneurs in refugee camps. Crypto evolved and even became a national currency for the first time.

The rough year for bitcoin and cryptos was offset by the hard work and creative developments from some very bright minds. These are the leaders and influencers taking crypto into the future this year.

Amber Baldet

Baldet left a high profile job developing blockchain for JP Morgan so she could launch her own dapp platform. She made Forbes’ 40 Under 40 list, and advocates for building bridges between the public and private sectors when it comes to blockchain implementation. Now she’s forecasting a dark vision of the future under surveillance capitalism, and giving us the keys to navigating it by thinking about our personal data as the new money.

Laura Shin

As Forbes’ senior crypto editor, Shin was the first mainstream journalist to cover crypto and blockchain full time. Now she’s the host of the popular crypto podcasts Unchained and Unconfirmed, platforms she uses to talk crypto with key players, CEOs, cofounders, and the minds behind crypto’s most important developments. Look for her upcoming book about the history of the crypto space.

Eric Lamison-White

Lamison-White was just granted a patent for a system that uses hedge accounts to stabilize your crypto holdings. And he showed real foresight by designing the system and applying for the patent in 2014 when crypto was young. Meanwhile, he founded Pareto Network, which services crypto investors with real-time intel. In his Block Telegraph column, he recently posited that investment is getting safer as small startups and big fintech company R&D are working together to bring greater transparency, privacy, security and stability to crypto.

Ian Balina

Balina just completed his 2018 Crypto World Tour, evangelizing for crypto in every corner of the globe. He’s made a considerable footprint in the crypto space, an investor-influencer known for making four million dollars in one year through crypto holdings, losing half of it to hackers, and bouncing back just as quickly. He also serves on the advisory board to several blockchain and crypto companies. This year keep an eye out for new book announcements, and upcoming spreadsheet app, and a musical album.

Rachel Wolfson

Wolfson is a crypto journalist writing about blockchain for Forbes, and she podcasts as The Crypto Chick. Her articles track developments like blockchain’s implementation in pharmaceuticals, its impact on the art world, and how blockchain can help with the ethical sourcing of conflict raw materials for electronics. She recently spoke with Digital Trends Live about crypto-loaded prepaid credit cards for those who don’t use bank accounts, and she assures us that for 2019 blockchain is here to stay.

Muneeb Ali

Ali’s Ph.D. dissertation, Trust-to-Trust Design of a New Internet, imagines a new internet that doesn’t require the trust of its users. And it’s not just theoretical. He took a leave of absence from researching at Princeton to launch Blockstack, a platform for building decentralized, user-controlled apps. It fulfills in reality what his dissertation proposes in theory: that a new internet is possible. If blockchain really is going to be the biggest tech revolution since the internet itself, this is how it will happen.

Charlie Lee

Lee is known for founding the popular crypto Litecoin, in an effort to improve upon bitcoin and other early altcoins. He recently stated that if crypto isn’t vulnerable to 51 percent attacks, it’s not really decentralized. Follow him for thought-provoking perspectives on crypto developments.

Changpeng Zhao

‘CZ’ founded Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange. So his thoughts might matter if you watch crypto.

“2018 was a tough year,” says CZ, “but we have a longer-term outlook for our industry. The builders have been building in 2018, so for 2019, I think we will see a lot of real products and real applications coming into the market.”

It may have been a bear market, a crypto winter, or simply a tough year, but 2019 is here and full of new promise. Let these influencers keep you up to speed as we build on the lessons we learned in the last year.

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Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Global Coin Report and/or its affiliates, employees, writers, and subcontractors are cryptocurrency investors and from time to time may or may not have holdings in some of the coins or tokens they cover. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency and read our full disclaimer.

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