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By Lennix Lai, Financial Market Director of Okex
Things have enormously changed since the early days of cryptocurrencies. Once the province of niche tech enthusiasts, the crypto space has been pushed forward by the seemingly unstoppable advance of Bitcoin and other cryptoassets in ways that even now are only beginning to crystallize.One of the most important dynamics has been the rapid proliferation and improvement of cryptocurrency exchanges. If we cast our minds back in time just five years, the landscape looks almost unrecognizable. Nowadays, we have seen blockchain technology be applied to various industries, e.g. healthcare, retail, banking and finance, and it will still be welcoming a blockbuster year for blockchain development. The market has reported that the global market cap of blockchain at $708 million in 2017 is anticipated to reach $60.7 billion in 2024. Blockchain in The Early Days In the early stage of emerging technologies, challenges like scalability, cost and education limiting the development of breakthrough applications and mass adoption have always been the talk-of-the-town to be associated with, and there is no exception for blockchain. Blockchain has often been stereotyped or correlated with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Indeed, its applications are far beyond those, e.g. in auditing, healthcare, commerce and even cloud computing. Today, blockchain has become the core enabling technology for financial institutions to move into the modern age of real-time transactions. Government, medical and IT industries are all experimenting with the advanced blockchain solutions. Corporates can work with NGOs to sustain a healthy and transparent way to give back to society by creating a social good ecosystem. In today’s crypto economy, exchanges are no longer used as mere on-ramps or means of trading top cryptoassets. They also offer users an ever-expanding variety of new services - as exchanges both adopt and cultivate the latest blockchain innovations. Competition has been a tremendous source of innovation. Advances in security, price discovery, as well as a host of new services and uses cases were created thanks to the competition between exchanges.