Real World Assets And BRC20 Are Among 5 Crypto Trends to Expect in 2024


Gracy Chen

Gracy Chen is the Managing Director of the crypto derivatives exchange Bitget, where she oversees market expansion, business strategy, and corporate development. 

Before her role at Bitget, Gracy gained seven years of experience running two successful fintech and VR startups and held executive positions at the unicorn company Accumulus. 

In 2015, Gracy was honored as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. She graduated from the National University of Singapore and is currently pursuing an MBA degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Twitter: GracyBitget

LinkedIn: Gracy Chen

Crypto leaves 2023 in much better shape than it entered. The token unlocks have been completed, the lawsuits settled, and greater regulatory clarity descended. There are new chains, new use cases, and new assets emerging. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, the market has started to pick up.

Bitcoin is up 160% this year, while many assets have pulled multiple x’s. Confidence has flooded back into the industry and so has serious money. But the greatest developments happening in crypto right now aren’t those you can see on TradingView. The most exciting trends are taking place on the coal face where the industry’s builders are working tirelessly to turn web3’s promise into a working reality. 

Next year, the fruits of these labors will become manifest. In no particular order, here are five trends you can expect to dominate in 2024.

Real World Assets Tokenization Will Become Real

If you’re tired of hearing about real-world assets (RWAs) this year, you’re gonna wanna take a rain check on 2024. Everything you’ve seen up till now has been a dress rehearsal for what lies in store. This year, tokenizing real-world assets became possible thanks to the emergence of protocols that use capital to issue stablecoins and loans, and generate yield on-chain.

The normalization of blockchain coupled with renewed institutional interest in crypto has paved the way for billions in value to be tokenized and traded. Expect to see real estate, bonds, art and anything that can be tokenized and often fractionalized receiving the RWA treatment.

The total value engaged in the segment has grown by over 750% since the beginning of the year, now equalling $5.5 billion. This metric is higher than that of the derivatives, NFT marketplace, and сross-chain solutions categories combined.

According to Bank of America’s report published in April, the market volume of tokenized gold has already exceeded $1 billion. The financial giant named RWA as the key driver for the adoption of digital assets. Despite the rapid growth even amidst the crypto winter, RWA is still in the early stages of development. However, we’ll likely see its gradual maturation and significant potential within the segment in the future, especially considering its still diminutive size compared to the traditional financial market.

Moribund L1s Will Become EVM L2s

The multi-chain era is about to become the multi-layer one and it’s going to happen real fast. Next year, we’ll see ghost town Layer1s join the Ethereum ecosystem by pivoting to become Layer2s and 3s. It turns out that speed and scalability are less important than liquidity and users. While it would be easy to portray the great L1 to L2 transition as the death throes of moribund projects, a less cynical take is that the multi-layer era is the blockchain configuration crypto needs. Say goodbye to balkanization. Say hello to strength in numbers.

Repurposed blockchains that take the EVM pill will be able to tap into the deep liquidity that the Ethereum ecosystem supports while retaining the freedom to innovate on secondary and tertiary layers. Dedicated EVM chains for payments, gaming, privacy, and other Web3 use cases will flourish. Expect to see several long-established layer1s coming in from the cold and cosying up to an Ethereum landscape they once shunned.

DePIN Will Solve the GPU Problem

We can’t talk about the future without talking about AI. But the area in which it will have the greatest intersection with crypto isn’t through AI-powered DApps or smart contracts that are audited using machine learning. The real marriage between crypto and AI will come in the form of DePIN.

Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks provide a solution to the GPU shortage that is crippling AI startups from flourishing. Crypto miners and storage providers have Nvidia graphic cards by the bucketload and will only repurpose them for AI if the incentives are there. Filecoin and Render are already hitching onto the AI juggernaut, with the likes of io.net also entering the fray. If DePIN can provide GPU computing cheaper than centralized cloud providers and with greater capacity, it will represent a giant leap for Web3 and another hurdle crossed in the race to AGI.

Gaming Will Become Great

Amazing Web3 games are always just around the corner. We’re promised: “Next year will be the big one.” This time, next year is expected to be the big one for GameFi. With around 75% of all blockchain games yet to launch, despite lengthy development cycles, an explosion in Web3-powered releases is imminent.

Leading projects such as Illuvium and Alien Worlds will be joined by dozens of new games covering everything from sports to fantasy and PvP battles. The ability to put crypto on the line and earn rewards for vanquishing opponents is a lure that’s hard to resist. Particularly when it’s packaged in an immersive world of kaleidoscopic color, lush scenery, and epic audio.

Many of the Web3 games seeing the light of day next year will be good. Several will be great. The jury’s still out on the merits of the metaverse, but GameFi is an industry that will not go back into the box. 

BRC20s Will Be Inescapable

Ordinals and BRC20 tokens have breathed new life into Bitcoin this year – even if some Bitcoin maxis, peeved at the “waste” of precious block space, beg to differ. Those who’ve tried Bitcoin’s take on NFTs, or “digital artifacts” as Ordinals creator Casey Rodarmor likes to call them, are smitten. It’s restored the sense of community and camaraderie that characterized Bitcoin’s early days and sparked insane demand for “rare sats” – early BTC fractions that were transacted by pioneers Satoshi Nakamoto and Hal Finney.

Bitget was quick to see the potential for Ordinals and BRC20s as one of the first exchanges to list tokens in these ecosystems, as well as multiple assets that were minted on the Bitcoin network. The speed of innovation and implementation on Bitcoin has been dizzying to witness, and Ordinals are just the beginning. Assets on other BTC protocols, such as Lighting, Atom and Taproot also possess a huge potential. In 2024, Bitcoin fees will go higher still as Ordinals diehards trade tokens that are secured by the world’s largest decentralized network. Love them or hate them, BRC20s and Ordinals will be inescapable next year. Better get used to them.

With ETFs of all kinds in the works, Solana reborn, and optimism coursing through the markets, the stage is set for 2024 to be crypto’s best year yet. There’ll be setbacks along the way, because it wouldn’t be crypto without drama. But for those of us with the fortune to work in this industry, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. So strap in for the ride and prepare for another episode of the greatest show on earth.

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