Written by: Jacky Goh
Any doubts that we had about the disruptive nature of cryptocurrency were silenced in September 2021 when the government of El Salvador officially made Bitcoin legal tender in that country.
Crypto is clearly no longer in the shadows. It has arrived on the world stage and it is demanding the world’s attention. It is disrupting everything from the consumer experience to national economies. As El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said, it has become a tool for breaking “the paradigms of the past.”
As we move into 2022, here are some trends in the world of crypto that could lead to further disruption.
Broader understanding will fuel growth
Recent reports show that the value of the cryptocurrency market stands at $1.6 billion with no signs of slowing down. By 2026, it is expected to reach a value of $2.2 billion.
Not only will the value increase, but acceptance will grow as well. A recent study found that the number of people in the US engaging in crypto markets could more than triple during 2022.
While interest in crypto is clearly growing, a lack of understanding among the general public remains a barrier to even greater growth. Regulations aimed at the crypto market could help to fuel understanding and acceptance. In the US, discussions about regulation are ongoing, with recent developments focusing on ways to make crypto safer and more desirable to the general public.
Institutional interest will fuel growth
To a large degree, accessing crypto is still mysterious. Selecting the “right” cryptocurrency from the more than 10,000 currently available is an intimidating task. Once a choice is made, the process of actually obtaining crypto often is complicated. When compared with the more familiar process of using a traditional bank account and credit card to engage in commerce, many opt for the status quo.
However, the recent introduction of cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs) promises to make investing in crypto a much more palatable process. With more than a dozen crypto-focused ETFs now available, investing in Bitcoin is as simple as investing in any other stock. Bringing crypto into a space where investors have more experience and more comfort breaks down another barrier to growth.
Accepting crypto as payment will fuel growth
Outside of El Salvador, crypto has yet to be embraced as the coin of the realm. However, consumers are finding a growing number of businesses that are capitalizing on crypto’s popularity by accepting it as payment.
Major retailers that now accept crypto include overstock.com, travala.com, Whole Foods, AT&T, and Starbucks, meaning that everything from home furnishings to airfare to Pumpkin Spice Lattes can be purchased with crypto. In addition, PayPal allows its users to “Checkout with Crypto,” making it a workaround for spending crypto at any business that accepts PayPal. Companies like CoinCards and Bitrefill allow shoppers to use crypto to purchase gift cards from a wide variety of stores, providing another type of workaround.
As Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies become as common an option for payment as AmEx or Visa, consumers will have more motivation to engage in crypto use. If crypto can become a normal part of consumers' spending patterns, the engine for crypto growth will move beyond investors and into the realm of consumers.
Consumer rewards programs will fuel growth
Rewards programs are a popular tool for attracting participants and encouraging loyalty. Credit card companies, airlines, and retail stores are just a few examples of businesses that leverage rewards to expand their customer base.
A growing number of companies are realizing the potential to fuel crypto growth by rewarding consumer activity with “crypto cashback.” Crypto cashback portals like those offered by Rewards Bunny and others give consumers access to hundreds of popular brands with the added bonus of gaining crypto whenever they shop. They provide a streamlined link between crypto and e-commerce, allowing a whole new audience to experience crypto in a familiar environment.
As these and other recent developments increase awareness, understanding, and acceptance of crypto, record growth in 2022 only awaits streamlined avenues for access.
Jacky Goh is a serial entrepreneur and an avid gamer, Jacky has spent his entire life immersed in the digital arena. Always poised for a new adventure, Jacky’s interest in developing new experiences for gamers was a key motivating factor to start DinoMao, the first online claw machine gaming app for the Southeast Asian region.