At the end of each year, I like to take a look at the big picture and predict what’s coming just around the corner.
Longtime readers of my work know that I follow the most exciting tech trends on the verge of mass adoption.
That includes things like 5G networks, biotech, artificial intelligence, and much more.
These trends are experiencing exponential growth and creating incredible opportunities for investors. I want to make sure all my readers are prepared for what’s next.
And with that in mind, let me draw the picture of what I see coming in the next 12 months…
1. 5G Devices
Our new 5G (fifth-generation) wireless networks are a topic I’ve been covering for years now. But despite what many readers may think, this is a trend that’s just getting started.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains last year, an impressive 250 million 5G-enabled devices were still sold.
Especially in the second quarter, there were supply chain disruptions, manufacturing delays, and work stoppages. And all of this ultimately led to Apple delaying the release of the 5G-enabled iPhone 12 by two months.
Losing two months of manufacturing and sales at the end of the year really impacts how many 5G devices are sold in the calendar year. When you consider all of that, selling 250 million units is remarkable.
More importantly, the delays caused by the pandemic created a ton of pent-up demand. And that demand is now going to be pushed into 2021.
In fact, I predict that more than 500 million 5G devices will be shipped in 2021.
And that’s not my only 5G prediction…
2. Phase Three of 5G
When I’ve talked about 5G in the past, I’ve described its three different phases.
In Phase One, the infrastructure of these new networks is built out, including all the new towers and fiber-optic wiring that 5G will need.
In Phase Two, 5G devices go on sale. 5G phones and other products begin to reach consumers.
And in Phase Three, 5G services begin to be offered. That’s when we start to see applications running on 5G networks. Think of things like massive multiplayer games over a mobile phone. That’s not possible with 4G. It will be with 5G.
And my second 5G prediction for 2021 is that we will begin Phase Three by this summer.
This starts something of a virtuous cycle: Most people don’t really care about the technology. But they will care if there are exciting applications that can only be accessed with a 5G phone. So more and more consumers will go out to buy a 5G phone to access these applications. That leads to more 5G apps being developed.
In fact, 5G is going to open up a suite of incredible applications: self-driving cars, the Internet of Things, robotic surgery, and more. All of these technologies need 5G. The investment opportunities going forward will be enormous.
3. CRISPR Gene Editing
Stepping away from 5G, the next important technology I foresee in 2021 is CRISPR gene editing. CRISPR stands for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.” It’s a mouthful. But it’s one of the most exciting developments in biotechnology.
At a high level, CRISPR is a technology that can edit our genetic makeup as if it were software. If there’s a “typo” in software code, it can have disastrous consequences. The program can crash or not function correctly. CRISPR uses a similar idea – but with our genetic code. “Typos” in our genome can lead to disease. CRISPR can correct these “typos.”
For years, CRISPR was mostly a niche technology that wasn’t well understood. And during that time, there were really only three companies operating in this space.
But things are changing. CRISPR is no longer just theoretical. We’re seeing actual results. We’re treating diseases and seeing that this technology just works. And as a result, a “second crop” of early stage CRISPR companies is going public and delivering incredible returns.
This entire industry is effectively a greenfield opportunity. The size of this opportunity is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. There’s room for many companies to exist in this space. And there will be more.
That’s my prediction for CRISPR in 2021. I predict that two or three more genetic editing companies will hold their IPOs.
4. Drug Discovery
Sticking with biotechnology, we are seeing amazing things happening at the convergence of biotech and artificial intelligence (AI).
Google’s AI subsidiary, DeepMind, just announced at the end of 2020 that its latest AlphaFold software can accurately predict the folding of a protein based solely on its amino acid sequence with 92.4% accuracy.
That’s important because the way a protein in the human body folds determines if a pharmaceutical will be able to bind to that protein and be effective. In essence, we have to know how these proteins fold if we want a drug to work. Historically, this has been a trial-and-error process.
But now, AlphaFold can predict protein folding with 92.4% accuracy. That’s going to make it much easier to create drugs that do what they’re designed to do.
And here’s my next prediction. I predict that AlphaFold will be 98% accurate by the end of 2021. And we will see not just one but several drug therapies produced using this technology.
This was one of those breakthroughs that almost nobody noticed. But it’s going to have profound implications for curing disease. And, of course, there will be plenty of investment opportunities in this space, too.
For my fifth prediction, I’ll shift topics to bitcoin. It’s going to be a good year for bitcoin. I’m bullish on it in 2021. That said, I still think bitcoin will continue to be volatile. We’re close to all-time highs. I wouldn’t be surprised if it pulled back – perhaps significantly – before going higher.
I’ve been covering bitcoin for a long time now. One of the first research reports I ever published was on bitcoin. That was in June 2015. At the time, bitcoin was trading for about $240. Bitcoin trades for over $32,000 today. So that’s a 13,233% return on investment for anybody who followed my recommendation.
But at the time of that initial recommendation, I titled my report, “What’s the Big Deal With Bitcoin?”
That shows you where the conversation was at the time. We were mostly educating readers. But nobody is asking that question anymore.
Now we’re seeing institutional money finally taking an interest in bitcoin. The big news was that Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance took a $100 million stake in bitcoin in December. This is not some small, niche enterprise. MassMutual is a 170-year-old institution.
So think about that. In five years, we went from educating readers on what bitcoin is to a company like MassMutual taking a $100 million stake.
The institutional adoption of bitcoin will continue. And that’s a big reason why I’m bullish on it this year.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge