Cryptocurrencies to keep an eye on in 2023
Let’s analyse the memorable trends and events of 2022 and discover the most interesting crypto projects for 2023. Here are the ones you cannot miss!
After the excitement of the all-time high we started with this year, cryptocurrencies have been through a lot during 2022. And so have we. From the tightening of monetary policies, to the failure of some crypto projects considered to be giants in the industry. In this situation, some virtual currencies have fared better than others. We are here to review and analyse the trends and events of 2022 and to discover the most interesting crypto projects for 2023.
The crypto market in 2022: what happened?
Before analysing the new projects and innovations that the most capitalised cryptos have in store for 2023, let’s do a quick recap of what happened in the industry during this difficult year. 2022 in Crypto can be summed up in these two concepts: failures and adoption. We started the year still enthusiastic about the price spikes that had just been reached, but we soon entered a negative economic situation. Emerging markets, such as the cryptocurrency market, were affected by increasingly strict monetary policies. Many times this year, the performance of Bitcoin and Ethereum has followed macroeconomic events. The US stock market has lost over 15% in value, the bond markets 20% and the crypto market has fallen over 50% from its peak in November 2021.
In the first months of the year, cryptocurrencies were actually not particularly affected, or at least not until the collapse of the blockchain Terra. A new blow then came a few weeks ago with the bankruptcy of FTX. The failure of these two crypto projects has brought attention to the need to regulate the sector to protect users. A topic we will probably hear a lot about in 2023.
Although these failures affected the market, it is important to note that neither was caused by problems with blockchain technology per se. On the contrary, in 2022 the technical development continued on its path and for cryptocurrencies the progress made is remarkable.
Trends: mobile breakthrough and the quest for scalability
The cryptocurrency world this year seems to have finally realised the importance of the ‘mobile’ medium. Concretely, this shift has been reflected by the development of new crypto projects including dapps, wallets and play-to-earn games for mobile devices, and by the launch of actual smartphones to facilitate the use of services. As in the case of Saga, Solana’s mobile phone. The goal of these projects is to improve the user experience, embracing mobile is necessary to reach the goal of one billion people transacting cryptocurrency on a regular basis (currently estimated at 300 million) as soon as possible. For many, mobile dapps and crypto smartphones in a few years’ time will be far more prevalent than AR and VR devices for the Metaverse. In the wake of this trend, 2022 was also the year when NFTs arrived on social networks.
As we will see in the following paragraphs, the main goal that the most capitalised crypto projects have set themselves for 2023 is to enhance their scalability. That is, to make networks faster and cheaper to operate.
Nakamoto’s coin starts its 2023 with a record! The Layer 2 project of the world’s longest-lived and most famous cryptocurrency, the Lightning Network, reached the capacity, i.e. the maximum exchangeable value, of 5,000 BTC in the last days of 2022. This value grows proportionally to the use of the Lightning Network, which is now at an all-time high mainly due to adoption and integrations for small payments. At the same time, with a virtuous circle, capacity increases the speed and quantity of transactions. Another new development for Bitcoin is the development of Taro. The creators of the Lightning Network themselves announced this new crypto project that will allow stablecoins to be developed on the BTC blockchain.
The most important blockchain event of 2022? The Merge! That is, the transition of Ethereum from the Proof-of-Work to the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. The complexity and scope of the consequences of this change make The Merge one of the biggest milestones in the history of blockchain. But what are the new projects and innovations of Vitalik Buterin’s crypto for 2023? The first item on the roadmap is the Shanghai update that will complete the transition to Proof-of-Stake by regulating staking activities for validators. The Ethereum Foundation has set itself two further goals: to be able to process up to 100,000 transactions per second and to reduce fees on its network. Both of these improvements can be achieved thanks to new features that will be implemented by a new update package, known as ‘Sharding’.
The MATIC team in 2022 also focused on improving the scalability of the blockchain. The biggest innovation in this respect is the integration of zk rollups, a Layer-2 technology that allows transactions to be grouped off-chain and transferred all together on-chain. This decreases the time it takes to validate transactions and lightens the burden of data being transcribed on the blockchain. This year has been a busy one for Polygon, as well as achieving its goal of becoming carbon neutral (and offsetting all emissions since its founding), it has entered into numerous collaborations with iconic companies and brands outside the cryptocurrency market. New plans for MATIC, Polygon’s crypto, for 2023 will focus on further increasing the scalability of its network and progressive adoption.
For Cardano in September 2022 came the Vasil update, designed to enhance blockchain performance in terms of scalability and speed. The update changed the validation and transaction transmission system and also the programming language for Cardano’s smart contracts, Plutus. Vasil is one of the ADA team’s initiatives to attract dapp developers, especially DeFi developers. In short, thanks to this update, Charles Hoskinson’s blockchain is looking forward to a 2023 marked by the development of many new crypto projects on its network.
The flirtation between Dogecoin and Elon Musk will presumably continue in 2023. Probably thanks to him, this cryptocurrency made it through 2022 without too much damage. The price of Dogecoin has kept pace with Musk’s statements and business decisions, and for every new development, we have found a pump. The growth of the meme coin was particularly pronounced in November, when Musk bought Twitter, making plans for the future of the social network. One of the crypto projects the tycoon might involve Dogecoin in? Twitter’s payment methods.
If we take a look at the ranking of cryptocurrencies by market cap, between Bitcoin, Ethereum and the others we have just reported on, we find a few stablecoins lined up. How did 2022 go for Tether and USDC and what plans do these dollar-pegged cryptos have in store for 2023? After Terra’s stablecoin depegging, which caused the collapse of the entire ecosystem, the reputation of these digital coins was tarnished. Tether and USDC have therefore spent these months working on transparency and maintaining user trust. Tether, which has since also expanded to Polkadot, assures in a statement on 9 November that ‘the tokens are 100% backed by our reserves’ and that ‘Tether holds a strong, conservative and liquid portfolio, which includes cash, equivalents and US Treasury securities’.
Circle, the company that manages USDC, also confirms the soundness of its reserves and this summer also launched a new stablecoin pegged to the euro. The efforts of the centralised stablecoins seem to be paying off as their market capitalisation continues to grow. New ones are also expected to arrive in early 2023, notably Aave and Curve, which are a lending protocol and a decentralised exchange, respectively. Will the two DeFi giants be able to continue with their plans to create stable cryptos by the end of 2023?