2021 was the year, unarguably, that blockchain and cryptoassets moved from a fringe topic and emerging conversation to a mainstream idea and item that has moved to the mainstream financial markets conversation.
That said, and even taking into account the rapid rise in market capitalization of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, there is still substantial ambiguity surrounding the future of this sector. Even as regulatory and policy makers began to make substantial progress in both the understanding and treatment of cryptoassets, much ambiguity remains.
Predicting the future is always a trick business, and is especially so when trying to forecast or predict a space that is moving as fast as blockchain and cryptoassets.
That said, it is it the time of year for lists, predictions and forecasts, so let’s take a look at some of the things that might happen in 2022.
NFTs will become boring. This might strike some readers as a bit of a reach, especially since there is so much that is misunderstood by the mainstream marketplace in terms of how non-fungible tokens (NFTs) operate and are valued. What is often missed in the current conversations around NFTs, and a direct result of the skyrocketing prices, is the true value and use case of NFTs.
NFTs, at the truest form, represent digital proof of ownership that is secured by an underlying blockchain. Since increasing amounts of information and data – at both the individual and institutional level – are stored in a virtual format, it makes sense that securing these records will become a priority moving forward.
Not as scintillating as watching prices for NFTs vacillate, but blockchain enabled ownership appears to be the future of NFTS for mainstream adoption.
Stablecoins will be mainstream. Stablecoins, whether they are liked or not by all members of the crypto community, seem to be the most viable way in which non-expert and mass market adoption of crypto will commence.
As per the report from the President’s Working Group, stablecoins utilization increased by 500% between October 2020 to October 2021, and it does not seem likely that this pace of adoption will decrease. The primary upside and attraction of stablecoins is the – unsurprisingly – stability that many of these cryptoassets offer, enabling crypto to be used as a transactional medium versus a speculative investment.
As the calendar flips to 2022, and as geo-politics continues to influence and partially direct the cryptoasset conversation, the rise of stablecoins is a trend that cannot be ignored. Rather, and leading into the next point of conversation, is that stablecoins and other cryptoassets connected to external assets seem to represent the next iteration of mainstream crypto adoption.
Crypto payments are here to stay. With the adoption of cryptoasset payments by major organizations such as PayPal PYPL -2.2%, Visa, and Mastercard MA -3% during 2021, the trend toward cryptoassets being used for transactional purposes seems to be a permanent one. The technology underpinning the exiting aspects and applications in the marketplace – from decentralized finance (DeFi) to NFTs, has been proven to work time and again.
The technology works, and the applications of said technology are just beginning to be acknowledged by the mainstream and non-expert marketplace. Stablecoins, if operated as advertised, offer an understandable and reasonably stable (no pun intended) way for individuals and institutions to get into the sector. Stablecoins might not be the favorite iteration of cryptocurrency by some members of the bitcoin community, but will serve a vital role moving forward.
Bitcoin will hit 100k. This might seem like a relatively conservative estimate for the price of bitcoin in some circles, but it is worth noting that during 2021 the price of bitcoin did exhibit some of its historical volatility, ranging from lows around $30,000 to all-time-highs of nearly $70,000. Setting aside market volatility, and seeking to remain as objective as possible, the case for $100,000 bitcoin seems to have support points.
Rising inflation, the continued monetary easing around the world and the proliferation of cryptoassets all point toward the following conclusion; cryptoassets are here to stay. What form or ultimate result that cryptoassets take remains uncertain at this point, but the integration of cryptoassets has already occurred. That said, and understanding the interest and appetite for growth oriented assets seems to point to an upward path for bitcoin and cryptoassets moving forward.
If 2021 was the year that blockchain and cryptoassets became mainstream topic of conversation and analysis, the coming year seems well positioned to be the year that regulation and rules catch up to market realities. It is still too early and far too soon to predict just how the blockchain and cryptoasset sector will evolve, but the underlying trend is clear; these technologies have gone mainstream.
No matter what price changes happen for specific tokens or coins, it is clear that the understanding and acceptance of cryptoassets is set to accelerate moving forward. Individuals, investors, and business owners would be well advised to keep an eye on this space as the calendar flips to 2022.
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