Evaluating the Brightest Blockchain Innovations for 2022 and Beyond
2021 has been a banner year for blockchain. As much of the global news agenda revolved around lockdowns, vaccines and other pandemic byproducts, the total market value of cryptocurrencies topped $ 2,000 billion, fell back – then got back on course.
Elsewhere, decentralized applications (dApps) have flourished on Ethereum and several competing networks; non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have brought a legion of new users to the industry; bitcoin hit a new all-time high after the appearance of the world’s first bitcoin ETF; Blockchain-based games have taken off and the world’s largest digital asset exchange is listed on the Nasdaq.
Events in the blockchain world have caused some sort of breathlessness this year, and there is no reason to anticipate a slowdown anytime soon. On the contrary, it seems to be the first days for NFT, GameFi, CBDC and more generally blockchain technologies. Big banks are warning crypto as social media giants turn into metaverse corporations. Layer 2 and multi-channel DeFi platforms are experiencing record inflows as DLT-based privacy preservation solutions proliferate.
In short, there are plenty of reasons for optimism as we look to 2022 and beyond.
Is blockchain the future of credit?
Financial products built on blockchain rails only really emerged with the rise of decentralized finance in 2020. The DeFi sector – which aims to recreate the traditional financial system minus the intermediaries – has taken center stage and ended the year with 2000% growth since January. .
And this amazing growth hasn’t stopped. At the time of writing, the total locked-in value (TVL) in DeFi protocols stands at $ 257 billion, a 10-fold increase since the start of 2021. While many DeFi protocols are geared towards speculation (degen traders flip low cap coins), a promising area is credit lending, where unbanked and underbanked people can access credit on the blockchain.
Creditcoin is one of those projects. A blockchain dedicated to credit history, the platform facilitates peer-to-peer lending without users needing to prove over-sizing, which is common with DeFi protocols. Thanks to its decentralized credit infrastructure, the network offers fintech and microfinance providers better access to capital, while guaranteeing instant settlement to borrowers. Smart contracts built on Creditcoin, on the other hand, can be used to facilitate contract execution within the ecosystem.
Naturally, those who have been excluded or underserved by mainstream financial institutions are a demographic target for Creditcoin, which aims to improve the global credit economy by making it work for everyone. Its main technology provider, Gluwa, has already helped facilitate millions of blockchain-based transactions in Africa through its work with another credit firm, Aella, which is also part of the Creditcoin ecosystem. Last month, Gluwa was selected as the winner of the Inclusive Fintech 50 (IF50) competition, in recognition of its work to “bank the unbanked” in emerging markets.
Creditcoin’s vision of an inter-blockchain lending market is certainly ambitious. But if it can meet the needs of the millions of people who do not have access to a reliable credit system, it will prove to be one of the great use cases for blockchain.
The privacy arms race
Cryptocurrency privacy credentials are inconsistent: while bitcoin is pseudonym, monero is very anonymous. However, blockchain technologies to do have the potential to improve privacy and prevent data leaks.
This year, Switzerland-based privacy startup Nym Technologies welcomed $ 6 million in investment to create “an open anonymous overlay network that works to irreversibly mask internet traffic patterns “. Using a combination of mixed nodes and an anonymous identification cryptosystem, Nym routes web traffic in such a way that it cannot be found even to powerful global adversaries such as the NSA. (Tor, according to Nym, is only designed to protect against weak opponents.)
A blockchain maintained by validators decentralizes operations for the entire Nym network, including joining and configuring the mixnet, issuing credentials, and distributing crypto rewards. Interestingly, blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, which often works with governments and tax agencies to de-anonymize crypto users, is verified in Nym’s white paper which warns of private companies “not just monitoring data. available on blockchains but also the metadata of peer-to-to-traffic between peers of a blockchain to discover network addresses … and make deductions on private transactions even in systems with chain protection such as Zcash and Monero. “
As if to bolster her credentials for privacy, Nym works with whistleblower Chelsea Manning, known for leaking classified government documents to Wikileaks in 2010.
Of course, Nym isn’t the only startup leveraging blockchain to improve privacy; From the interoperable Manta Network privacy layer to the Secret Network secure smart contract platform for data, an arms race is underway.
From DeFi to ExFi
Flare, the world’s first comprehensive Byzantine Federated Agreement (FBA) network, is another top-ranked project under One to Watch. Designed to “bring together the value of non-Turing full tokens with the transformative power of smart contracts,” the EVM-enabled platform recently launched its sister network Songbird, which will serve as a testing ground for new innovations and dApps before their release. debut on the Flare mainnet.
Since going live in September, Songbird has integrated Panther’s Shielded Pools into its EVM to enable on-channel privacy for users, and has seen more than 218,000 portfolios created. In addition, users have completed some 2.8 million transactions.
Flare is doing something completely different from the other projects in this space; its USP is that it makes “dumb” channels like XRP, LTC, BTC and DOGE “smart” by equipping them with smart contract capability. No wonder the platform managed to raise $ 11.3 million in a round led by Kenetic Capital earlier this year.
Speaking of DeFi, the high-speed Elrond blockchain recently launched its own decentralized exchange, Maiar. Elrond’s first DEX, Maiar is equipped to manage DeFi on a large scale, supporting secure token exchanges, liquidity pools and yield farms. According to Elrond CEO Beniamin Mincu, the ability of the stock market to “enable global, inexpensive, automated and near instantaneous transfers of value in many currencies opens a new chapter for the Elrond ecosystem”.
Unlike existing DEXs on other chains, Maiar functions as a payment app and mobile wallet, giving users a convenient way to interact with the 100,000 rpm blockchain. Interestingly, Maiar’s Exchange LP tokens are tradable, which means that users can provide liquidity and then sell their position or even take out a loan against it, using their LP tokens as collateral.
Elrond was also busy making moves in other areas; the platform recently completed the acquisition of the Romanian licensed electronic money company Capital Financial Services SA Main member of Visa and Mastercard, the company provides payment processing services to more than 300 merchants, including the largest aircraft country line, Blue Air. While Elrond is still awaiting approval from the National Bank of Romania, the takeover could be a game-changer for the company.
Maximum Security Guard
If the digital asset industry is to continue on its upward trajectory, institutions need to be confident that their funds are, so to speak, under lock and key. The safekeeping is a huge business in the crypto space, with the major players – Coinbase and Gemini – each securing tens of billions of dollars in assets for major institutional clients. Indeed, Gemini claims to have more than tripled its crypto-assets under custody this year.
With the growing demand for hedge funds and family offices, multinational security firm Prosegur has branched out into crypto custody. And the foray was clearly not sketched on the back of a matchbook; Crypto Bunker is described as a “multi-layered defense-in-depth mechanism,” which integrates over 100 physical and digital safeguards into six interwoven security layers of two inaccessible environments: cold storage and cold space.
In a recent interview, Raimundo Castilla, CEO of Prosegur Crypto, explained the company’s solution, saying it “Offers the confidence of knowing that funds are in the hands of a specialist whose constant efforts are aimed at ensuring maximum asset protection, allowing crypto operators to focus on their core business … without having to deal with such a complex and critical aspect. “
Among its many defensive layers, the Prosegur Bunker has an air-space cold room that allows clients to execute blockchain transactions offline; there are also closed-circuit cameras, biometric access, specially designed firewalls, and sophisticated cryptographic systems in place to protect against cyber attacks.
Although this is new to crypto, Prosegur has specialized in security for many years. In fact, the company currently secures over $ 400 billion in assets for clients such as large financial institutions and banks.
The speech of the city
In truth, it’s hard to predict which crypto innovations will be the topic of the city’s conversation over the next 12 months. After all, it is a fast moving industry; one who ridicules self-proclaimed clairvoyants more often than any other. Nevertheless, we are counting on the aforementioned projects to win.