Mr. Rajagopal Menon, Vice President, WazirX
After a few successful years of enabling cross-border value exchange with no hindrances, Crypto Assets have touched the lives of millions. Within a span of 5-6 years, we saw a sudden surge in adoption rates among users, breakthrough innovation, and many positive impacts which weren’t anticipated till the potential of these assets was exploited fully.
The best part about Decentralized finance is that you don’t need to stop after adding one new innovative feature to your product. You can keep adding novelty continuously for the satisfaction of existing users and also onboard new users, with consensus from all stakeholders. It is not just another buzzword in the startup capitals of the world but also a household investment item for people not so familiar with technological intricacies.
The Crypto Assets ecosystem has been built keeping in mind the pain points of the traditional financial system. Defi was supposed to pave the way for equality and end the decades of uneven financial access that TradFi brought on. Although it hasn’t been completely able to fulfill the purpose it was meant for due to several factors, this year has given it the overhaul to start from scratch.
Defi vs. TradFi
WazirX being one of the most preferred Crypto Assets exchanges in India, saw the market status play out on its platform in the form of user adoption, transaction peak, and its subsequent downturn, purchase of different tokens, new forms of engagement with Crypto/Web 3 players, etc. It was an interesting year with much learning and lots of insights which we will be starting afresh in 2023.
We might not see the bull market on the horizon anytime soon, and with the Crypto winter upon us, it might get tougher to keep people assured of a better future with virtual digital assets. But since we can have an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, here’s what we expect the community will be up to in the coming year.
- Regulations are likely to be the most anticipated development of Crypto in 2023. India’s regulatory framework as G20 president and collaboration of nations on synergies in Crypto asset laws will be a talking point. The distinction of how wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDCs) will be used by nations and global financial institutions and cross border value of retail CBDC is likely to usher in a new era of tie-ups in the form of trade agreements, economic value creation, hardware manufacturing deals, and bilateral relations. The ecosystem is advocating for lower tax rates – 0.01% TDS on sale transactions instead of the existing 1%, parity with securities market long-term/short-term gains instead of 30% tax on gains. This advocacy is to promote homegrown Crypto projects and boost adoption to create a self-reliant Crypto industry in the country.
Source: Bank of International Settlements
- Most Crypto Asset users are well-informed, tech-savvy, individuals who are also well-versed in the market. Some of the unprecedented turmoils that the industry went through might have affected user sentiment, but the community is built strong and will be able to leave this behind.
This also gives us hope for greater user adoption and wider utility of blockchain-based products in the coming year.
- The momentum of institutional investment in Crypto Assets is expected to not cease anytime soon. This means the market is likely to have increased liquidity and a growth in the popularity of Crypto Assets as a store of value. However, the average funding value is expected to follow a similar trend in 2022, with only the most promising projects with market viability getting supported by investors after careful consideration.
- Users are expected to interact more with dApps as new products with accessibility, and low entry barriers continue to be added to the market. Web2 users might start experimenting with dApps to get a taste of the decentralized web and make decisions on its long-term adoption based on the same. According to DappRadar, there has been a 50% increase in average daily wallet users, which now stands at 2.37 million in 2022. There will also be an improvement in the UI for most apps to make them easy to use.
- With centralized exchanges continuing to be a top choice for Crypto Assets trade, security and infrastructure supporting the same will become vital. We observed some major hacks and theft from large platforms, which might affect funds stored on large exchanges later if action isn’t taken right away. Suave security protocols on smart contracts is predicted to be the key to protecting user funds and making exchanges a safe place.
- While NFTs are expected to continue to be popular, an emerging trend that we are likely to observe is the integration of NFTs and DeFi. NFTs might start being used as a token for proof of ownership, and DeFi platforms could help with the liquidity of these assets for owners. This, in turn, could increase the real-world applicability of NFTs and also help in unique value-creation models.
- Metaverse and the unique experience that comes with virtual spaces will be a major innovation space for consumer-facing brands. While several luxury and utility brands are stepping into the space for visibility, it won’t be long before it becomes a revenue source similar to how social media platforms are used at the moment. Governments could also benefit from including metaverse in their public offices. Many countries, such as South Korea, UAE, and the US, have started exploring metaverse integration in some aspects of governance. According to Accenture, 99% of 200 U.S. federal government executives believe that continuous advances in technology are more reliable than economic, political, or social trends in informing their long-term strategy. Niti Ayog has also covered governance in Metaverse in one of its blogs here.
- The interoperability of blockchain is likely to be another key area of focus for existing and upcoming Web3 projects. With the rapid evolution of the DeFi space, an efficient infrastructure will be of key importance. An interoperable blockchain that could help existing businesses transition to a decentralized platform will be highly sought after. Scalability and security are two other aspects on which user adoption will be based.
Tokens to watch in 2023
Amidst the bear market and unprecedented situation in the ecosystem, most Crypto Asset investors would want to stick to tokens less prone to price fluctuations and more long-term utility and liquidity.
Here are some of the tokens to watch in 2023:
Ethereum: A popular Layer1 blockchain that recently transitioned to a Proof of Stake mechanism from Proof of Work. Ethereum is the building block of many projects in Web3, such as NFTs, applications, games, etc. It also has a large market cap. It is also a popular token among institutional investors. According to Nextadvisor, Ether’s annual ROI is quite high. Early investors have gained a lot with investment in Ether since 2014.
Solana: Solana, deemed to be one of the fastest blockchains with a growing community, is also a popular token for investors. Solana also powers many NFTs and applications similar to Ethereum. It is also popular for embedding smart contracts on the blockchain. It also has a Proof of History approach on top of Proof of Stake, where validators cannot reorder transactions, thus protecting the interest of investors.
Axie Infinity: With the rising popularity of gaming and NFTs, Axie Infinity will be a popular choice in the coming few years. Built on the Ethereum network, the tokens can be earned by playing games in the Axie ecosystem. Axie’s USP is providing users with a robust data transfer for efficient gaming and a unique virtual experience.
Decentraland (LAND, MANA): A popular platform that allows you to own virtual properties, it also lets users monetize content in virtual spaces. They sell land on the virtual platform in the form of NFTs. With more entities venturing into Metaverse, it will be a good run for Decentraland tokens. The platform has two tokens – MANA and LAND. MANA is a fungible token used to trade on the Decentraland marketplace. LAND, on the other hand, is an NFT and is used for proof of ownership of virtual land on the platform.
Big Eyes Coin: If you’re into meme coins and have already added the popular ones to your portfolio, you can try Big Eyes Coin, which has been growing rather fast. With a manga cartoon-inspired logo, it also has a sustainability aspect attached to it. 5% of the coin’s supply is donated to marine life conservation. It also has created a close-knit community in a short amount of time.
The MICA regulation on Crypto Assets is up for a vote soon. It will be a clear framework for legal aspects of Crypto adoption, its classification, user protection, asset management, etc. The regulations will also establish a roadmap for the liquidity of tokens and cover the issuance of digital assets in an environment-friendly manner. This will impact the Crypto market in the EU, with its impact felt worldwide.
The ripple vs. SEC case is another key pivot for the Crypto ecosystem. It will be a decisive judgment about the future of altcoins and whether or not they will be classified as a security token in the US. This will make altcoins unavailable in the US market unless the due process of registering with the SEC is followed. Since it is the largest Crypto market in the world, it will affect the industry as a whole.
With the Crypto and S&P index moving closely, we will witness the impact of macroeconomic conditions on the Web3 ecosystem many times. But it also indicates that more traditional businesses are embracing Web3. 2023 will also be a crucial year as we continue to figure out the best ways to weather the Crypto winter and simultaneously innovate to keep up with the dynamic nature of Web3.