Blockchain: the 5 biggest developments in 2022

Blockchain: the 5 biggest developments in 2022

January 7, 2022

What a great year it has been for blockchain. And what an insane year we are going to have. Never before have there been so many startups. Never before has so much money from investors gone into the technology. 

And never before have so many organizations been working on implementations. If we leave all the Dogecoin Drama and the hype around the Bitcoin Boom out there for a moment and focus on the technology itself, I see an incredible amount of cool developments that are currently playing and will play out in the coming year.

Blockchain, not Bitcoin or blockchain beyond Bitcoin. Many professionals and enthusiasts around the technology are trying to make a clear distinction from the best-known cryptocurrency. Get away from the current speculative hype around exchange rates. Focus on the development and implementation of the technology itself. 

Understandable, although I see that the current craziness in the cryptocurrency market is also positive for blockchain. The news is full of it again and there has never been more money put into the technology by investors than in the past year.

Meanwhile, 81% of large companies are using the technology. And I also see smaller and smaller SMEs experimenting with it or even implementing it already. Now I often let enthusiasts walk away disillusioned, by honestly saying that they do not need the technology in the organization. 

You often see that the wrong order of thinking is used. We want to do something with blockchain and then we look for an internal problem. Instead of: we have an existing challenge and blockchain is a good solution for it. Nevertheless, I see that there are currently an incredible number of challenges being addressed with the technology.

Startup showtime

It's not just implementations. It seems like showtime almost every week at the moment, with one new product or service unveiled from a startup in the Netherlands after another. If we look at the Gartner Hypecycle of blockchain, we see that various elements of the technology have already gone through the tough 'trough of disillusionment and are now walking the 'slope of enlightenment. 

As I have written before, make the comparison with the development of the Internet and you will see that we have only just begun. We are at the beginning of a tremendous technological revolution.

First a quick look back

Last year, too, I got to look into the glass blockchain sphere to see what this year holds. Back then, I already saw many companies making these chains transparent at a rapid pace. This very recent report shows that the number of countable implementations doubled last year compared to the year before.

Another trend that has seen a lot of development beyond expectation is "government crypto," Central Bank Digital Currencies. About this, I share an outlook for the coming year later in this article. I also foresaw a lot of developments in the 'fintechization' of our society, which has moved into rapid gear globally with the unprecedented development of the Decentralized Finance (DeFi, which I wrote about earlier) ecosystem.

1. DeFi continues to amaze

As I wrote in my crypto valuta trend article for the coming year, ING published that they find DeFI insanely interesting, we see a lot of established financial institutions worldwide already working with it and I see the total value locked into the ecosystem doubling from $200 to $400 billion in the coming year.

A recent report from investment bank JP Morgan shows that it's not just more experimentation. There is $9 billion in profit being made per year alone by individuals and organizations who 'strike': tying up/saving crypto for which you get paid interest.

Building bridges

In the coming year, I see a number of developments coming. Now that 'big finance', the big banks, are heavily involved in DeFi, you will see many startups building bridges with their products. Bridges between traditional finance and the new crypto world. Synthetix is the best-known example, Nexis is doing a great job with insurance and many other startups are also going to market their products in the coming year.

Virtual gas price goes through the roof

The high fees that many people in developing countries pay to send money are often the marketing argument of enthusiasts to promote crypto-currencies. Where easily 10-20% is charged by parties like Western Union, crypto transactions are often a fraction of that. Recently, for example, someone paid $0.80 for a $2 billion Bitcoin transaction.

But with the Ethereum blockchain, on which the majority of blockchain applications run, such as smart contracts, NFTs, and DeFi products, this is unfortunately no longer the case. The cost of transactions, called GAS, has increased by more than 300% in 1 year. Developers are therefore looking to other blockchain networks for the development of their applications, where Polkadot is currently riding high, which was set up by the co-founder of - yes - Ethereum.

It's a hotly debated topic and with all the new technological developments coming from existing companies and new startups, I expect the high costs to largely disappear in the coming year.

Decentralized trading platforms

What is certainly not going to disappear are the decentralized exchanges, such as Uniswap, Pancakeswap, and Sushiswap. Names that, at first glance, bring a smile to your face. But when you see how much money these "decentralized exchanges" (DEXs, trading platforms for cryptocurrencies) are currently processing per day, the smile changes to amazement.

Meanwhile, more are traded on these types of decentralized trading platforms than at central parties such as Coinbase and Binance. Although for many users it is still fairly complex to use and the U.S. government has indicated that it wants to strictly regulate these platforms, I see an insane growth in trading volume in the coming year. In turn, all kinds of new DeFi applications are being developed on these trading platforms, which will only increase the growth of the ecosystem.

Blockchain-based games

A final development, which is currently emerging in DeFi and may become very big in the coming year, are blockchain-based games. Worldwide, there are 2 billion gamers who currently spend $150 billion on these. And in two years, $250 billion is expected. In-game purchases are a big part of this billion-dollar market and 62% of gamers and 82% of developers have indicated that they would very much like to see this on the blockchain.

There does remain a lot of work to be done on the security store because of the many major hacks. Recently, $600 million was stolen during the Poly hack and $115 million during the Cream hack. Research shows, that 2/3rds of these hacks are due to developer incompetence and almost 1/3rd are due to errors in the code.

2. NFT boom or bust?

It seems like if you haven't made an NFT yet as a creative, you don't belong anymore. My social feeds are packed with enthusiasts who are minting (making), selling, and buying NFTs. NFTs are this amazing opportunity, for creators and businesses alike. Whereas in Web1.0 companies created and earned content and today's Web2.0 people create content and companies earn from it, in Web3.0 I see people not only creating content but actually making money from it. NFTs play a key role in that.

NFTs are really going to have a big impact on the art, fashion, music, and sports worlds in my opinion. It's not just the big companies like VISA, Disney, and Adobe that are piling into this. There are also more and more opportunities coming up that were not previously (technically) possible.

The lazy monkey community

Besides the flat buying and selling of content and artwork, you can also see a new trend emerging: communities. The best example of this is the Bored Ape Yacht Club. All owners of one of the Bored-Apes, which sell for an average of a few million each, may become a member. Many owners even buy a Bored Ape to belong to this community.

Ape owners make their own ape their Twitter photo as a sort of status symbol. They also get a number of benefits with their ownership: access to a Discord group for other owners, access to virtual merchandise drops, and free extra NFTs. NFTs make all of this (technically) possible and I think this is going to be very big not only next year but beyond.

Play to earn blockchain games

In my trend blog about crypto, I also wrote about another cool trend within blockchain / NFTs: the 'play to earn blockchain games' (P2E). Because who doesn't want to earn money playing games? Louis Vuitton, for example, has launched its own online NFT game and the best-known P2E game, Axie Infinity, has already turned over $1.6 billion. Players in countries like the Philippines and Indonesia now play these games because they make more money doing so than regular work.

Also within NFT, there are new developments every week. LOOT is really another revolutionary thing in this. The creator of VINE created 8000 'LOOTbags', put them online, and within no time they were all claimed for free. They all turned out to be conversation starters. 

All kinds of communities of fans, artists, and creatives are currently looking at future creations. It is inspired by how the famous Marvel spent billions developing all kinds of sci-fi movies. Hundreds of writers and artists were given money and came up with ideas for the movies, where eventually a combination of all the ideas was actually produced. LOOT doesn't want to do this top-down, but right along with the virtual community.

The coming year, in my opinion, can already not go wrong, with the great drive with which many people are further developing the NFT ecosystem. Much of the news is still about the insane amounts sometimes paid for NFTs, such as $533 million that was supposedly put down for a CryptoPunk. 

The beauty of many blockchains is that everything is transparent, so you can also do big data analysis around the earnings. Then you see that only 2% of NFTs sold for more than $600 and that most of the big bucks end up in the pockets of only 50 artists.

3. Stablecoins on the chain

It's a thorn in the side of lawmakers worldwide: stable coins like Tether. Due to their rapidly increasing size, they could actually endanger the global financial system, according to various authorities.

Credit rating agency Fitch warned this month that the rapid growth of stablecoins could have "destabilizing effects" on short-term credit markets. The global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently warned of the large increase in money laundering. And the Bank for International Settlements wrote in its most recent report that they see absolutely no value in it.


Although the coins imply stability, the largest stablecoin, Tether, has been in the news very negatively recently. Many people assume that stablecoins are pegged: 1-1 backed by another asset. So for every Tether in circulation, there would be a Dollar stored somewhere. By now, this coin is worth over $70 billion. And after great international pressure, it turned out that the company behind Tether had a very strange mix of assets to cover all this money on its balance sheet.

As a result, the company already had to pay a fine to the U.S. government, and the same government has now rushed to develop a framework to severely restrict stablecoins like Tether. Trading exchanges such as Bitcoinmaster have already taken the coin offline. However, it's not just about Tether. There are dozens of stablecoins in circulation and the big wait is still for the stablecoin that shook up many governments: Diem, initiated by Facebook.

Besides the fact that European, Chinese, and U.S. governments expressed their great concern, they have now rapidly developed legislation that will come into effect next year. President Biden has already indicated that they are in the same category as banks. 

And the head of the U.S. central bank, Jerome Powell, has already indicated that he does not want to prohibit them, but to regulate them strictly. It is important to filter the cowboys out of the industry and actually be widely accepted by larger institutions. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 83% of executives said they see current fiat money being replaced by such coins.

4. Governments are working overtime

Normally, governments always lag behind technological developments, the so-called pacing problem. In the blockchain field, however, I see a few important developments coming from governments in the coming year.

MICA Regulations

First, the important MICA regulations will probably be tested and discussed extensively in the coming year, and then implemented. This is a hugely important step in the further professionalization of the sector. And with it the accession of even more organizations.

Self Sovereign Identity

In addition, last June the EU announced that in the coming year it will further intensify the efforts around 'Self Sovereign Identity, which I wrote about earlier. The EU is also making great strides with its own 'European Blockchain Services Infrastructure'. By creating this infrastructure, the European Commission wants to provide a large number of cross-border digital public services. 'For the benefit of citizens, society, and the economy.'

It is the first EU-wide blockchain infrastructure to be created in an effort to make public services more reliable and accessible to European citizens. By making governance more transparent, facilitating compliance with EU regulations, and working towards data compatibility.

5. Gradually, then suddenly

The inventor of Bitcoin, the still mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, would turn in his grave. Several times over. The initial idea of the Bitcoin blockchain was to take the power away from financial intermediaries (such as banks) and governments, and through the decentralized nature of the blockchain technology, put it back in the hands of citizens.

Instead, the Chinese government is now using the technology to launch a digital central bank money system, the E-CNY. According to many experts, this actually gives the Chinese government an even greater grip on its people by now being able to largely control financial transactions in the country. 

It is only 100 days until the Winter Olympics in the country, where this so-called 'Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) will see the light of day. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has pressured American companies operating in the country, such as McDonald's, to start accepting the currency during the games.

The influence of China

Even though there are already countries using their own CBDC, such as the Bahamas and very recently Nigeria, China seems to be going to have a big impact on the financial system here. And in the long run, even weaken the American power on this considerably. With its E-CNY infrastructure, it can seriously undermine the current infrastructures that are dominated by Dollars and American power (such as the SWIFT system).

In the coming year, people will therefore be both eagerly and excitedly looking forward to what China will come up with. It will not take over global economic leadership in one year, but as Ernest Hemingway beautifully describes in his book The Sun Also Rises: 'gradually, then suddenly. Just like the impact of many technologies: slowly, but suddenly, extremely and unexpectedly.

The 'bank of banks, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), recently launched its latest report on the global developments in the field of CBDCs. It shows that 86% of central banks worldwide are looking at CBDC. And 60% are even developing it already.

Away with wallet gardens: the power to the people!

Decentralization remains the magic word in many developments. In more and more areas, we are not only seeing the call for returning certain power to the user/citizen, but also the launch of blockchain solutions that make this possible.

The decentralized storage of big data, no longer in the 'wallet gardens' of the 'big tech companies.

Putting power and sovereignty back in the hands of creators, owners, small organizations, and citizens. What we are seeing now in the big developments around NFTs and DeFi.

Fractional ownership through 'fan tokens' like those of Ajax, PSV, and Fortuna Sittard and real estate, like with Amsterdam's Bloqhouse.

It all fits into the next phase of the Internet's development: Web3.0, built on a decentralized architecture.

Fortune favors the bold

We are entering a very cool blockchain year. I'm really looking forward to all the developments that I can't see coming at the moment. It has become clear in the meantime that all developments are often started by bold, big thinkers. We will see whether the courage of many of them will be rewarded in the coming year.

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