After an eventful 2021 in crypto, experts shared their predictions for the sector next year with Insider.
Among them: Expect a battle for the metaverse, the first billion-dollar hack, and the use of bots to buy NFTs.The crypto economy will top $7.5 trillion in 2022, and most jobs will partly be in the metaverse, were others.
Events in the crypto space are moving a mile a minute and expect next year to keep up the pace as big business stakes out its turf, blockchains refine their tech, and easier points of entry let newcomers in.
Consider what happened in 2021: El Salvador adopted the top cryptocurrency bitcoin as legal tender. Retail investors dived in. China cracked down on crypto mining. Facebook went all-in on the metaverse, which has Wall Street seeing dollar signs.
Digital currencies are now well on their way to becoming part of mainstream finance. The US approved the first bitcoin futures ETF, while crypto leaders urged regulators to provide clearer rules for the $3 trillion industry.
That flurry of developments, which came as the pandemic played out, generated a whirlwind of excitement among investors. To learn what drivers might lie ahead, Insider asked industry experts to predict what's next for crypto.
These are the top 13 predictions for the crypto sector in 2022:
1. Ethereum's price will rise at a much faster rate than bitcoin, due to the move to proof of stake. Tom Higgins, CEO at asset management platform Gold-i.
2. Bitcoin may gain the upper hand versus stocks in 2022. Mike McGlone, head crypto analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
3. A Fortune 500 crypto company that has gone remote-first will declare their official headquarters to be on one of the competing metaverses. Brandon Arvanaghi, CEO of crypto startup Meow.
4. The metaverse will become the new interface for people to engage with the web and each other. Justin Banon, co-founder of decentralized network Boson Protocol.
5. Expect a battle between crypto-native metaverse and ones launched by gaming and corporate entities like Meta. Brock Pierce, chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation.
6. The crypto-economy market capitalization will rise from a peak of $3 trillion in 2021 to over $7.5 trillion at some point in 2022. Rohit Talwar, CEO at insight and research business Fast Future.
7. Next year will see the world's first billion-dollar hack as DeFiactivity continues to increase. Benjamin Whitby, who oversees regulatory affairs at cross-chain protocol Qredo, on decentralized finance.
8. At least 25 countries will be using a central bank digital currency by the end of 2022. Either their own, or one issued by another country, such as China's digital yuan. Fast Future's Talwar.
9. Investors will use bots to make purchases during NFT minting events, which could potentially shut out less sophisticated users. Ethan McMahon, economist at blockchain data platform Chainalysis, on non-fungible tokens.
10. Most people will operate day-to-day jobs partially in the metaverse. Shane Molidor, chief revenue officer at digital asset financial platform AscendEx.
11. Banks will look to crypto for fraud trends. Chris Stephens, head of fraud and security analytics at identification platform Callsign.
12. Initial Game Offerings will become popular. Expect the larger organizations like GameStop and Epic to begin making plays at some point in 2022. Nick Saponaro, co-founder and CEO of decentralized payment ecosystem Divi Project.
13. If countries take a hostile stance, adoption will be much slower. Witek Radomski, co-founder and CTO at blockchain platform Enjin.
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