2021 was a breakout year for crypto. Thanks to the boom in NFTs, which ballooned into a $40bn market, as well as Bitcoin’s all-time high of $68,000 in November, crypto saw gigantic growth throughout the year. Indeed, the entire crypto market had grown to an astonishing $2 trillion market cap by the end of 2021.
But what lies ahead for the crypto world in 2022? We asked the experts to tell us how they envision crypto development continuing this year, and what we can expect from the ongoing web3 disruption.
Jan Hartmann, Head of Strategy, Banxa
We're expecting 2022 to be another exciting year for crypto, where we'll see continuing mass-market adoption like the evolution of NFT utility, as well as further growth in GameFi. Talking about web3, we're seeing more disruption of web2 apps, especially in social media and content. We'll also be more acclimatized to use a web3 wallet as our portable login across web3 apps – instead of usernames and passwords.
Furthermore, we'll see the governance model of DAOs evolve, while Ethereum gas fees will decrease and transaction throughput will increase, with the adoption of Ethereum scaling solutions. Lastly, CBDC's will also be an interesting topic to watch this year. Exciting times ahead!
Helen Hai, Head of Binance NFT, Binance
2021 was a defining year for crypto and blockchain, as the headlines broke and the records fell. While adoption is growing, we’re still in the very early stages. For crypto, 2022 will welcome wider adoption, and more companies will accept crypto as a form of payment.
Now let’s talk about blockchain. We’re witnessing a concept that’s quickly becoming the new normal: how people transact money, play video games, appreciate art—and the list goes on. People are adding terms like GameFi, DeFi, Metaverse and SocialFi into their everyday conversations.
These ideas will continue to flourish in 2022 and build more bridges from the fiat world into crypto. New projects will enter the scene as the Metaverse and DeFi continue to grow. SocialFi and GameFi will lead DeFi 2.0, while NFTs will define ownership and drive more crypto adoption in 2022.
For NFTs in particular, I typically like to break it down into four key trends:
- Mass Adoption of NFTs
- GameFi, driven by big-name AAA developers and publishers.
- Disruption of traditional markets such as music, ticketing, entertainment.
- Dynamic NFTs that integrate into real-world events.
As the Metaverse, GameFi and SocialFi grow, more users will enter the crypto world with improved fiat-to-crypto onramps, increasing crypto adoption in the decentralized and centralized worlds. Overall, 2022 will be a busy year for blockchain and crypto development as we all continue building and building forward.
Oleksandr Lutskevych, CEO, CEX.IO
As consumer adoption soared throughout 2021, regulators began looking for ways to set standards for crypto exchange operations. The challenge for exchanges here rests with regulators using traditional molds to shape a cutting-edge industry not always comparable with the legacy financial system. That said, market participants must rise to the challenge of balancing cutting-edge innovation with incorporation into existing regulatory frameworks. Exchanges that successfully achieve this balance are poised to win.
Adding to regulatory challenges are the ascent of digital payment systems that are beginning to feature crypto-related services. Amidst increasing competition, however, exchanges also enjoy ample opportunity for growth, given their deeper blockchain integrations, and as consumer adoption escalates. For example, the rise of Proof-of-Stake (PoS) cryptocurrencies come with the potential to add new services and attract more customers, bringing solutions to the masses that are otherwise too technical and inaccessible for the average consumer. This dynamic will be a catalyst for growth in 2022.
Max Rothman, VP Crypto, Checkout.com
The massive growth in crypto that we saw in 2021 will only continue in 2022. Crypto adoption is being driven by a multitude of factors, but perhaps the most significant is that getting into crypto to begin with has become both simpler and more common for consumers and businesses.
In particular, I see the widespread adoption of NFTs as a catalyst that will expand the first-time user base of crypto throughout the year. These users are likely to delve deeper into other areas in crypto.
Although NFTs began as digital collectibles, the use cases for them are endless, and in 2022, I expect to see the digitization of more tangible items from our everyday lives. This could include all sorts of items that require validation of ownership, such as IDs, vaccination certificates, housing deeds, event tickets etc. However, the area where I see the largest growth opportunity is GameFi and I expect to see the leading global gaming brands shifting towards these Play2Earn models.
Joonas Jarvinen, Chief Investment Officer, Coinmotion
It's hard to predict the crypto "flavor-of-the-season", but as industry insiders, our team might have a better chance of guessing. These are the crypto-trends that many of our colleagues at Coinmotion are interested to see in 2022.
Last year, El Salvador became the first government to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. Bitcoin creates strong incentives for those that adopt it early on, and it is no different for governments. We will see other smaller governments following the footsteps of El Salvador hoping that their early investments will pay off when bigger governments and institutions follow suit.
Institutions and HNWIs were one of the fastest-growing segments at Coinmotion in 2021. We expect to welcome even more clients as more traditional investors look to diversify their portfolios into crypto. Also, many of our colleagues at Coinmotion have been getting paid in crypto for years. But during 2021 we saw politicians, athletes, and celebrities getting paid in Bitcoin. With the US inflation at record numbers, we expect that the mainstream public will start taking part of their salaries in Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation.
Head of Fiat, KuCoin
In 2021, the crypto industry usher in explosive growth. And for 2022 and beyond, the crypto industry will evolve in a more decentralized direction. With the surge of NFTs and the Meta universe, We see that the era of Web 3.0 is getting closer. In the way of shifting from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, SocialFi is considered to be the next frontier in the industry, which may have a profound impact on the future development of the industry.
In order to meet the ever-increasing social demands, KuCoin is transforming into an encrypted platform that provides "social" features, and by combining "social" and "transactions" to bring users a new way of interaction and transaction experience.
Geoffrey Lyons, Lead Writer, MoonPay
In 2022 there will definitely be more institutional buy-in. Household names in finance will get in line behind Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, BlackRock, and others who have already embraced crypto to one degree or another. This is the Lindy effect at work: the longer something lasts, the more likely it is to stick around in the future. As crypto continues to stand the test of time, a steady drip of the Who’s Who of finance will seize on its potential, however reluctantly.
On the consumer side, while in the Chinese zodiac 2021 was the year of the ox, for the crypto community it was the year of Shiba Inu. Two memorable moments from the last 12 months (both celebrated and scorned, depending on who you ask) were when Dogecoin made it to the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, and Shiba Inu, its spin-off and self-proclaimed crypto rival, surpassed it. Unless the internet suddenly abandons its penchant for meme humor, expect either the rise of another joke-turned-overnight-success to make headlines (there are spin-offs of the spin-offs waiting in the wings) or a considerable rally of one of these top two canine coins.
Antoni Trenchev, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Nexo
I’m not looking for a re-run of the last 'crypto winter'. Undeniably, there are regulatory and macro storms ahead, and another leg down to $28,000 - $30,000 can’t be ruled out in the current risk-off climate. Bitcoin is being battered by a wave of risk-off sentiment. Fear and unease among investors is palpable. If we see a bigger sell-off in equities, expect the Fed to verbally intervene to calm nerves, and that’s when Bitcoin and other cryptos will bounce.
2022 will be choppy, but what I’m really excited about in 2022 is the metaverse. The 'birth' and use of the term metaverse is a beautiful mess, and it has a lot of potential. It will be one of the overarching themes of the next year: the metaverse, the infrastructure building, and then the NFTs that will make up part of the economy there.
All eyes on 2022
As we’ve learned, there’s a lot to watch out for in the crypto world for 2022, from DAOs, to greater adoption of GameFi, SocialFi, stablecoins and more. At Checkout.com, we’ll be watching, and building tools for, the coming evolution of this space. For more insights into how the world is changing to meet the challenges of a Web3 world, follow our blog, and social media channels.