The year 2021 was marked by several major breakthroughs for cryptocurrencies.
For one, new crypto applications like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) gained ground, with sales of these digital assets setting new records at major auction houses.
Secondly, Bitcoin made strides towards mainstream acceptance, with major websites like Expedia and Microsoft accepting the coin as a means of exchange.
Third, in September, El Salvador became the first country in the world to accept bitcoin as legal tender.
There are many more examples of how the market for cryptocurrencies has expanded just in the last year. With this uptick of activity, what’s ahead in 2022 for cryptocurrencies?
We believe there are three main areas where cryptocurrencies will gain steam in the next year:
- Greater acceptance of Bitcoin as a means of payment
- Increased regulatory scrutiny
- And a rise in NFT activity.
1: The embrace of Bitcoin
Understanding what motivates individuals to adopt Bitcoin has been a challenge for researchers. A recent study suggests five main factors contribute to someone’s likelihood of using Bitcoin:
- Trust in the system
- Online word of mouth
- Quality of the web platforms available for transaction
- Perceived riskiness of the investment
- Expectations about Bitcoin’s performance
Other studies have added more nuances to this argument by considering gender, age, and educational level as equally important factors.
The conditions in the crypto space have made it increasingly likely that Bitcoin will become mainstream in the near future.
An advertisement for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is displayed in Hong Kong in July 2021.SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
First, there’s increased activity in online communities like Twitter and Reddit, where even crypto novices can exchange information with seasoned investors to obtain word-of-mouth advice about price predictions and trading strategies.
Second, there has been an explosion of new crypto-exchanges — or trading platforms where one can exchange fiat currency for crypto — and major investments into the technological infrastructure of existing exchanges. These infrastructure investments have expanded access to crypto markets and also piqued the interest of institutional investors.
2: Institutional involvement, regulatory scrutiny
The last year has seen institutional players like the European Investment Bank (EIB) — the lending arm of the European Union — take a stance on crypto.
In April, the EIB issued a 100 million euro digital bond on the Ethereum blockchain. Goldman Sachs, Banco Santander and Société Générale were also involved in the issuance. Research has pointed to institutional adoption as a turning point for widespread crypto adoption, and it would appear we’re quickly heading there.
Altogether, the increased availability of points of …….