It is easy to look at the depressed valuations of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the many lesser cryptocurrency tokens out there and conclude that the bubble has burst and the party is over for good. One even detects a certain level of glee coming from certain quarters. Many so-called crypto sceptics, who ignored the technology as much because they didn’t understand it as because of any well-reasoned investment theses, now seem confident they were right all along. But observers should be careful not to mistake the current bear market for a failure of the technology itself.

It often takes time, especially in cases of explosive publicity of the kind crypto has seen, for products to catch up to the vision. This is exactly the situation we are seeing here. At the height of Bitcoin mania around the beginning of 2018, there was a great deal of talk about the impending entry of institutional investors into the crypto markets. Although such talk is less prevalent than it was, progress toward institutional crypto trading continues. Several platforms aimed at sophisticated traders, equipped with the security, reporting, and analysis functions that these investors require, are now coming to market.

A keen observer may ask: what will trade on these platforms? After all, many so-called altcoins are effectively moribund, and volumes even for the largest cryptocurrencies are far from their winter peaks. But this also fails to take account of a key reality, i.e., much of the air that seems to be coming out of the crypto balloon is being caused by a slowdown in speculative or black-market transactions. This is ultimately good for the crypto space. As the market finds its bottom and begins to recover, functioning token ecosystems solving genuine problems will come online at an accelerating pace. Many of these tokens will demonstrate that they have real value, and tokens as an asset class will begin to solidify into an accepted element of markets, alongside traditional debt, foreign exchange and equity instruments.

cryptocurrency examples
Pictured: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture on Feb. 13, 2018. Reuters/Dado Ruvic

As chief operating officer of a major blockchain firm, I have had a first-person view of the tremendous uncertainty and apprehension that surrounded crypto even in its boom days. I also see many of the spectacular projects being built by brilliant technical teams around the world. So I am able to say with more confidence than most that crypto as an asset class is here to stay. As it matures and shakes off its youthful indiscretions, the legions of speculators and get-rich-quick schemers will fall by the wayside. As potential investors negotiate one of the steeper learning curves in recent history, they become savvier and better able to sort the wheat from the chaff. That this is causing some momentary disruption should make markets more sanguine, not less.

The hype that spurred people to invest hundreds of millions into purely speculative ventures was a distraction from the true problem-solving, value-creation potential of real crypto economies. So too are the death knells surrounding the current downturn in crypto. Keen observers - including institutional investors - have always had their eyes on real products being built and value being created. Expect more than a few meaningful crypto and blockchain platforms to come online over the next 12 months. The institutional money will follow.

David Wills is the chief operating officer and cofounder of Caspian, a full-stack crypto asset management platform tying together several crypto exchanges in a single interface.