It’s been a tough few months, not just in the crypto market, but in the wider financial markets as well. The S&P 500 is down 18.5% on the year, consumer prices are spiking as a result of inflation surging to a 40-year high, and the Fed has increased its benchmark interest rate by 0.5%, the highest it’s been in 22 years. As is custom, when the wider market is taking a hit, the numbers are exaggerated in crypto. This is why we’ve seen the total crypto market cap cut in half in 2022. So is it all doom and gloom? Is crypto dying?
Quite the contrary. We may be in a bear market as far as prices are concerned, but from a development standpoint, the crypto space is thriving. This article will be dedicated to share some of the positive (and quite frankly bullish) news from crypto that are easily overshadowed when prices are heavily down.
Exciting Releases and Announcements
This week was the start of the Permissionless 2022 conference in Florida and with it came some exciting announcements from various developer team’s in the industry. Let’s look at some of the top ones.
The trading firm Robinhood announced plans to launch their own non-custodial wallet, independent of their platform. Traditionally a zero fee equities trading platform, Robinhood started offering crypto trading to its user base back in 2018. However, the trading capabilities were limited and users were not allowed to take tokens off the platform, limiting them from engaging in the crypto ecosystem and simply using Robinhood to trade crypto as a speculative asset. This was a major shortcoming of Robinhood’s crypto offering and put a lot of people off. At the Permissionless Conference this week, Vlad Tenev, Robinhood’s CEO, teased their new wallet which will begin testing this summer. Robinhood is a publicly traded company and seeing them evolve their crypto footprint is massively exciting.
Decentralized Social Media
The days of Facebook knowing more about you than your own mother may soon be behind us thanks to the Lens Protocol. The Lens Protocol, which was demoed at Permissionless, acts as a foundational layer for app developers to build decentralized social platforms on top of. Running on Polygon, you can use Lens to mint your own social profile as an NFT and interact with other profiles on any app running on the protocol, all the while maintaining full control of your data, your content, and monetization. It’s everything that today’s social media platforms aren’t. There are already over 50 applications built on the Lens Protocol and this could completely revolutionize how we think of social media as well as redistribute value to the content creators, not the organizations behind the platform. Although apps are still in the early stages, Phaver is one of my favorites to keep an eye on for the future.
Coinbase Wallet Announcement
Crypto trading giant Coinbase has announced the release of a semi-custodial wallet for its users. One of the most popular support requests Coinbase receives from its customers is to help restore access to the Coinbase Wallet. Since the Coinbase Wallet is a non-custodial wallet, independent of the Coinbase platform, they aren’t able to help. Losing your private keys is one of the biggest tragedies (and risks) of non-custodial wallets. Even when you use the Coinbase Wallet, which might seem like it’s controlled by the underlying company, Coinbase themselves are unable to help restore access to lost keys. That’s not how non-custodial wallets work and it’s by design. However, the non-custodial wallet option doesn’t appeal to all users, particularly people new to the crypto ecosystem. There’s a new solution on the table that offers an alternative, allowing users to store parts of their private key material with Coinbase and parts within their own custody. Funds can’t be accessed without access to both sets of keys, meaning one party can be hacked and the funds will still be safe or you could lose your keys and Coinbase will be able to restore them. This could be a big relief for people who are worried about taking full responsibility for their crypto and making the move into holding custody of their keys.
One of the biggest future influences on crypto prices could be the mass influx of institutional investors and enterprises. Due to lack of regulation and security measures it’s been a challenge for these users to enter the space. However, the appetite for crypto is strong with institutions and enterprises and the crypto community are working hard to make it possible. This could be changing soon. At Permissionless, Blockworks announced that Coinbase Cloud division has been working with Figment to offer an enterprise grade liquid staking pool that meets the compliance and security standards of institutional customers. If this comes into full effect, we may begin to see the large financial institutions of the world merge into a world of crypto. As retail investors we aren’t bound by the same compliance and security measures as institutions which means we are able to front-run this opportunity before the big money comes in, not the other way around. This is super exciting for those who are considering buying crypto for the first time and equally for those of us who want to add to our positions.
A Bull Disguised by Depressed Prices
I’ve only touched on a tiny sliver of the new announcements and developments that are happening in the crypto space right now. As you can tell, crypto prices don’t have a negative impact on innovation and development in the space. In fact, it seems to have the inverse effect. When prices drop and mainstream media pays less attention to crypto, developers and innovators in the space seem to get a breath of fresh air and can focus on building. It’s as if a drop in prices provides builders with the perfect disguise to focus on their craft and bring new innovation to the space. This is tremendously bullish for the long-term outlook of crypto and provides an extraordinary opportunity for those of you not yet in the space who are looking for a great entry point. If you’re already in crypto and feeling depressed from recent months price movements, take comfort in the fact that the space continues to evolve at an incredible rate, despite what the market says in the short-term.