Cryptoworld 2024: Memcoins, steaking with a twist, and DeFi

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WRITTEN BY Abel Stokes 128 views date-icon 2024-05-16 12:53:03

The highlight of 2021 is undoubtedly the rise of the NFT. Even with the surge in cryptocurrency prices at the beginning of March, the NFT markets were subject to a correction, with prices for some collections dropping by 30%. While this format still holds significant potential, the market hype simply couldn't last until 2024.

Instead, the attention of the most aggressive cryptocurrency speculators has been drawn to a new trend - memcoins. However, Karim Haim, CEO of infrastructure project Web3Intelligence, which is developing the Dopamine app, argues that there's more to it than speculation.

"Memcoins are following the trajectory of NFT, but with some differences. They have come to symbolise how digital assets can embody and sustain engagement with cultural phenomena. Memcoins in 2024 are not just objects of speculation, but a means of democratising the influence previously monopolised by venture capitalists and institutional investors. This shift in community-controlled value creation and marketing is deeply meaningful and demonstrates the potential of decentralised networks to empower individuals and communities."

The news that even hedge funds have succumbed to the lure of meme-themed cryptocurrencies clearly supports his point and further emphasises the tremendous pace and scale of cryptocurrency adoption in recent years.

DeFi, another trend that has become iconic for the 2021 bull market, has evolved rather than undergone a radical change. While the collapse of LUNA in 2022 could have been a death blow for the sector, the emergence of Ethereum presented a timely opportunity. While loans and DEX were previously at the forefront of DeFi, the focus is now shifting to maximising returns from steaking with liquid steaking on Lido and restaking on EigenLayer. The latter, it turns out, is attractive to venture capital funds: at the end of April, Aligned Layer and Othentic's restacking-related protocols raised a combined $24 million. This follows EigenLabs' $100 million dollars raised at the beginning of this year, one of the rounds that helped revive the previously weakened Web3 funding scene.

Perhaps a slower trend, however, is DeFi's gradual penetration into various unrelated sectors, opening up new avenues for value and revenue creation. An example is GameFi, which also attracted attention during the 2021 market, mainly due to Axie Infinity.

This time around, Web3 gaming has moved on from the previous iteration based on startup experimentation. Ubisoft has announced work on Web3 games and plans to release two games later this year. The company has also expanded its gaming team and licensed some of its IP to Web3 gaming companies. The recent viral success of Notcoin, a "social clicker" that has amassed 35 million players, demonstrates the demand for rewards if audiences see their value.

What is DeFi?

However, DeFi is spreading to other industries - SocialFi is becoming one example of a relatively new segment introducing financial elements into social media. Another example is SportFi, led by the Chiliz project, which has become synonymous with fan tokens thanks to partnerships with teams such as PSG, Juventus and AC Milan. Now the project is looking to cement its position at the intersection of Web3 and sports, as CEO and founder Alexandre Dreyfus explains:

"We have integrated and partnered with several gaming companies in the fields of football management, meta-universe and fitness games. Also noteworthy is the ongoing development of Web3-based fantasy games in co-operation with well-known sports rights holders such as Ligue 1 in France, K League in Korea and UAE Pro League. This innovative approach allows traditional brands to enter the gaming community, which opens up additional revenue streams through digital assets and improved fan engagement mechanisms."

So, memcoins, steaking with a twist and de-funding new verticals in 2024 - who's betting on what will emerge in 2027/2028?

Q&A

Q: How has the NFT market changed since 2021?
A: The NFT market experienced a boom in 2021, but since then prices for some collections have fallen by 30 per cent. Despite the downturn, the NFT format still has significant potential.

Q: What are memcoins and how are they different from NFTs?
A: Memcoins are cryptocurrencies based on internet memes or jokes. Like NFTs, memcoins can be objects of speculation, but they can also be used to support communities and express ideas. Karim Haim, CEO of Web3Intelligence, believes that memcoins are democratising influence that was previously monopolised by large investors.

Q: How is DeFi evolving in 2024?
A: DeFi has not changed radically, but is evolving. Credits and DEX (decentralised exchanges) are still popular, but the focus is now shifting to steaking with Lido and EigenLayer. DeFi is slowly penetrating other sectors such as GameFi and SocialFi.

Q: What role does GameFi play in DeFi?
A: GameFi are blockchain-based games that allow players to earn cryptocurrency. GameFi gained attention in 2021 thanks to Axie Infinity. In 2024, companies like Ubisoft are investing in Web3 games, and Notcoin is showing demand for reward-based games.

Q: What are SocialFi and SportFi?
A: SocialFi is a new segment of DeFi that introduces financial elements into social media. SportFi is a DeFi platform that uses fan tokens to engage fans. Chiliz is one of the leaders in SportFi and has partnered with teams such as PSG, Juventus and AC Milan.

Q: What new trends can we expect in the crypto industry in the coming years?
A: Memcoins, steaking with a twist and DeFi in new verticals are just some of the trends of 2024. It's impossible to say with certainty what will happen next, but the industry is constantly evolving and new ideas are constantly emerging.

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