This year, Bitcoin — the world’s first and best-performing cryptocurrency — will celebrate its 13th anniversary. Since the token’s inception in 2009, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain have skyrocketed in popularity and have increasingly entered the worlds of sports, finance, and gaming. Yahoo Finance now predicts that the global number of crypto users will reach 1 billion by the end of 2022.
Crypto is also known to be a highly dynamic market, and new innovations and trends are popping up all the time. This begs the question: what’s in store from us this year? Below are a few notable trends that appear set to bring crypto to further heights in 2022.
Further developments in DeFi
Having emerged in the mid-2010s, decentralized finance (DeFi) is still in its developing phase. However, it seems that that’s all bound to change this year. Investment Executive predicts mass adoption as more people, especially the world’s unbanked population, discover the convenience and lower price points DeFi provides. Investors are also expected to pour more money into the industry, with major institutions like banks seeking to adopt DeFi as popular demand grows. As the world’s FinTech companies churn out innovations to keep up, continuous development is inevitable.
Despite all its pros, crypto is decidedly not environmentally friendly. Bitcoin alone emits 57 million tons of CO2 annually — roughly the same amount as the country of Kuwait. The second-largest crypto token, Ethereum, is planning to change that by pivoting to a proof-of-stake model this year. Unlike the traditional proof-of-work model, this involves staking a platform’s cryptocurrency to validate transactions. Since it doesn’t require crypto mining to “unearth” new tokens with massive amounts of computing power, this model is therefore more sustainable. Ethereum also claims it will provide users with a system that has better scalability and is more secure.
The continuing rise of fan tokens
Fan tokens took over sports last year. Hosted by sports teams and owned by fans, they can be used to influence a team’s internal decisions and unlock VIP rewards. The biggest fan token platform so far is Socios, a Malta-based company with partners in Formula 1, the UFC, and soccer clubs, as well as esports teams like Endpoint CeX and OG. The platform is currently expanding to the US through partnerships with the NFL and NBA, giving fan tokens immense room for growth as the year progresses.
Expansions in gaming
Though NFT games have been around since 2017, they didn’t gain much traction until NFTs exploded in popularity last year. These games make use of play-to-earn models, with NFTs earned in-game transferable to NFT marketplaces to be bought or sold. Consequently, avid gamers — especially those in developing countries — turned to them as an additional source of income amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Developers are now fighting to challenge the dominance of Axie Infinity, a Pokémon-inspired game that boasts over $1 billion worth of in-game assets.
Ventures into the metaverse
Tech giant Facebook rebranded to Meta last year, and speculations on the metaverse came with it. This virtual reality-powered, “embodied” form of the Internet is expected to impact everything from social media to crypto. The first glimmers of crypto’s implications in the metaverse began with Facebook’s announcement of the Libra cryptocurrency, which we reported on in 2019. Today, decentralized blockchain-enabled applications are set to facilitate transactions and establish the ownership of virtual goods in the metaverse. Crypto wallets may also be used to verify user identities as they navigate this virtual space.
Ultimately, the possibilities in crypto are endless. The trends listed above may or may not come to fruition this year, but one thing’s for certain — we can look forward to interesting developments in 2022. To keep up-to-date with these developments do visit News Lair
Ernestina Saenz Salcido is a reporter for News Lair. She mostly writes on her free time about gadgets and tech news. When she’s not working she takes care of her 2 daughters.