The cryptocurrency industry, once a fledgling frontier, has transformed into a field overflowing with possibilities and groundbreaking shifts. As we stand today, this virtual gold rush is projected to expand from $1643.77 million in 2022 to $2740.93 million by 2030.
Hand-in-hand with this growth, several trends have influenced the industry in the past years. For example, decentralized finance (DeFI) has challenged traditional financial systems by providing open and permissionless alternatives. On top of that, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have opened up brand-new avenues for digital monetization, particularly in art, music, and gaming,
But, like any other market, cryptocurrency is not immune to roadblocks. According to Mark Venables, the creator of North America’s largest cold wallet reseller, The Crypto Merchant and one of the leading figures in the crypto space, one challenge is the issue of security.
Blockchain technology does offer solid security features, but the industry has seen several high-profile hacks which led to exponential losses. In 2022 alone, according to a Chainalysis report, $20.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency was lost.
If investors and other crypto enthusiasts wish to see a safer and stable crypto future, Venables argues that enhancing security measures by developing more secure platforms and turning to offline crypto storages, like cold wallets, is pivotal.
“Keeping crypto online is a huge risk. People have already lost millions,” Venables says. “But, a cold wallet can protect you, as it’s offline and, most importantly, unhackable.”
As cryptocurrency continues breaking new ground and challenging conventional banking systems, it has prompted the global finance industry to rethink the concept of money. Venables highlights that the growing influence of these currencies cannot be underestimated, especially now that entire nations have been exploring the idea of adopting Bitcoin as a legal tender, just like El Salvador has already done.
Closely watching El Salvador’s experiment, he states, “Countries with unstable economies or restrictive financial systems could use crypto to bypass traditional barriers and provide a lifeline to its citizens.”
But, he notes this is highly uncharted territory and that, as much, its implications are vast and complex. “As we move towards a more decentralized world, we must ensure the benefits outweigh the risks. It’s a balancing act between innovation and regulation.”
And speaking about regulations, Venables offers a unique viewpoint on the recent surge in regulatory efforts by governments worldwide. He believes the increased focus on regulation isn’t because of concerns over scams or mishandlings but due to cryptocurrencies’ disruptive potential.
On the one hand, banks have been particularly tentative regarding cryptocurrencies, perceiving them as a direct threat to the established banking industry.
“Crypto is a new form of financial freedom that banks can’t control, and that’s a big deal in an industry built on control,” Venables shares.
On the other hand, globally, the crypto narrative varies, from the UK embracing a more supportive stance toward virtual currencies to countries like Canada treating them as a commodity for tax purposes or increasing compliance requirements for exchanges.
For Venables, the efforts pushing against stricter regulation are all about control rather than mitigating risk. “Fraud has existed since the early days of modern finance. As a matter of fact, cash is the most common means of fraud across the world. This push for control is a simple need to exert dominance and keep us all dependent on the banking system.”
Looking into the future, Venables predicts an upcoming end to the current “crypto winter”. Partly, he ascribes it to the increased adoption and understanding of virtual currencies among the general public, which might help stabilize the market. He also highlights that it’s perfectly normal for crypto to go through ups and downs, just like any other market.
“It’s a cycle, and it will continue to fluctuate, but from where we’re standing right now, I think the current winter period will end by 2024,” he says.
He also predicts an integration of cryptocurrency with other technologies, such as AI and perhaps even the Internet of Things (IoT). “This might open the door to a world of possibilities in sectors like healthcare, supply chain management, and others.”
Undoubtedly, the crypto realm is promising, teeming with endless possibilities. As it matures, Venables and The Crypto Merchant are poised to tackle its challenges head-on and pave the way for better understanding and higher accessibility to all.
As Venables reiterates, “Our mission is to chart new paths for others to follow. Together, we can democratize finance and make a stable and secure future available to all.”