Cryptocurrency and blockchain had a breakout year in 2021.

ust look at the numbers: 80 million unique crypto wallets; Bitcoin and Ether grew 60% and 407%, respectively; El Salvador adopted bitcoin as official currency; the NFT market generated $2.5 billion in trades. Even Burger King announced a whopper when they got in on the NFT action. Impressive? Absolutely. Have we reached a point where crypto and blockchain reach mass adoption? Well, not quite.

Even though DeFi, cryptocurrencies, blockchains, NFTs and a slew of other products came online in 2021, only about 1% of the world’s population has a unique crypto wallet. Media coverage, financial institutions, and companies with hefty marketing budgets jumped in and made it seem as if mass adoption was already here. But in reality, we’re not there yet.

However, we anticipate that changing in 2022. From more creative crypto entries to the impact of inflation and new technologies, here are five trends we expect in 2022, and what you can do to navigate the challenges ahead.

Expect more diverse uses for crypto

For the most part, consumers are aware that crypto exists, but they don’t understand its benefits in their day-to-day lives. For many, it’s seen as an investment tool for institutional or retail investors, a novelty, or something that caters primarily to the trendiest of the Gen Z crowd. With blockchain games and GameFi, as well as reward redemption platforms that trade airline miles into crypto on the horizon, expect this to change in 2022.

We’ve seen some of this already in 2021 with NFTs that cater to art collectors and sports enthusiasts. We’ll see it branch out into other areas such as wine, sneakers and other collectibles, bringing in new users.

For the mass consumer, understanding these technologies can be challenging, but when NFTs are tied to something they know and are enthusiastic about, it’ll start growing among that community. Keep an eye on enterprising companies pushing into these areas – specifically collectibles – as a way to broaden the reach of crypto and blockchain in 2022.

A surge in crypto apps

Crypto is considered technically complicated to hold, and for the layperson, even the terminology is difficult to understand. Crypto and blockchain need to be easy to use and understand before mass adoption can happen, and that’s what we’ll see in 2022.

Cheaper blockchains are allowing new users to onboard with DApps, which are decentralized applications that run on a P2P or blockchain network. They don’t require users to submit their personal information. It’ll start with global digital asset payments, recurring buys, or tipping, but will grow to include multiple types of transactions, which will only increase user adoption.

Originally published at techcrunch.com

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