Top 5 Crypto Market Trends and Technologies in 2024


With BTC punching the $50,000 price barrier and ETH reclaiming $3,000 for the first two in two years, there is an air of confidence in the crypto markets. Which means it doesn’t hurt to think about future crypto market trends.

Which crypto narratives will drive both buzz and utility over 2024 and beyond? We choose our top 5. Let’s dive right in.

Key Takeaways

  • We look at the top 5 crypto trends to look out for as the 2024 bull market heats up.
  • Data Availability Layers: Modular blockchain systems (where specific blockchains handle specific tasks) are expected to scale, and offloading data storage needs is emerging as the top use.
  • Restaking: Restaking involves locking up staking tokens for extra yield, a simpler process compared to yield farming.
  • Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks (DePIN): DePIN protocols build, maintain, and operate physical infrastructure in a decentralized way.
  • Tokenization of Real-World Assets (RWA): Tokenizing real-world assets like real estate and gold enables fractional ownership, asset-backed stablecoins, and increased liquidity.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): The AI market narrative goes from strength to strength — a mixture of hype and utility.



Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Top 5 Crypto Market Trends To Watch in 2024

5. Data Availability Layers

The future of blockchain is expected to be modular. This means that instead of a single blockchain system handling everything from settlement, execution, and consensus, a lone blockchain will only be responsible for a specific operation. Modularity will thus allow blockchain networks to scale and specialize in a single function.

Data availability networks provide an off-chain solution for blockchains to store and verify their transaction data. Storing data on-chain can congest the blockchain and will require nodes to upgrade their hardware to cope with the ever-increasing of the blockchain.

Data availability layers allow blockchains to offload their data storage needs and guarantee that the historic transaction data is available when required, allowing anyone to verify transactions. Therefore, data availability layers not only help with scale but also help keep peer blockchains secure.

The market narrative around data availability grew in 2023 mainly due to its place in Ethereum’s rollup-centric scaling roadmap. As more specialized rollups arise, the demand for data availability solutions is expected to increase proportionally.

In October 2023, Celestia became the first modular data availability blockchain to launch its mainnet. Other data availability blockchains include the NEAR data availability layer (NEAR), Avail, and EigenDA.

4. Restaking

Crypto investors love yield. Taking this market narrative into hyperdrive is restaking protocols.

Simply put, restaking is the process of locking up liquid staking tokens (LST) for extra yield. For example, when you stake your ether (ETH) on staking protocols like Lido and Rocket Pool, you get LSTs like stETH and rETH, respectively, as your receipt. With restaking protocols, you can earn additional yield by then staking your stETH and rETH tokens.

From a financial standpoint, restaking is like yield farming. While yield farming requires crypto investors to stake, lend, and restake cryptocurrencies, LSTs, and other receipt tokens in a series of steps across various decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols to get multiple yields, restaking simplifies the process making it convenient for everyone to try.

From a technical standpoint, restaking provides security to rollup applications in the same way that staking provides security to Layer One blockchains like Ethereum.

To understand restaking better, let’s look at EigenLayer – a protocol pioneered restaking on Ethereum.

Developers can build rollup chains for individual decentralized applications (dApp) using the EigenLayer protocol. LST holders can earn rewards by becoming validators of dApps they support by restaking their LST tokens. If you do not want to operate a validator node, you can simply delegate your LST for restaking to an operator.

Restaking is an interesting new approach to crypto-economic security. The LST protocols that gained immense popularity following Ethereum’s move from proof-of-work (PoW) consensus to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus now have an added utility with restaking.

3. DePIN

Decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN) garnered plenty of interest from the crypto community in 2023, and this is expected to grow and gain wider investor attention in 2024 due to its compatibility with the artificial intelligence (AI) industry.

What are DePINs? DePINs are blockchain protocols that build, maintain, and operate physical infrastructure in an open and decentralized manner. The physical infrastructure can be hardware such as hotspot routers for wireless connectivity, GPU chips for computing, or data centers for file storage.

Filecoin is one crypto-incentivized peer-to-peer storage network that allows anyone to store and retrieve data. Suppliers get paid in FIL tokens for providing reliable storage service.

Other DePIN networks include computing resource providers like Render, Theta Network, and Akash, which incentivize users to supply graphic processing unit (GPU) computing power.

Meanwhile, Helium is a decentralized wireless network that incentivizes users to provide wireless network coverage using hotspots.

The beauty of DePIN networks is that they provide an open and permissionless marketplace for infrastructure to any industry, be it media, gaming, AI, information services, or life sciences.

2. Real World Asset Tokenization

Tokenization of real-world assets (RWA) represents real-world assets like real estate, fine art, credit, and precious metals as digital tokens on a blockchain.

Every year, an increasing number of traditional finance companies are looking to leverage the power of tokenization due to the benefits of secure and decentralized trading, property rights transparency, and fractionalization.

For illiquid real-world assets such as real estate and fine art, tokenizations enable the ownership rights of a commercial build or an expensive painting to be divided into thousands of digital tokens, bringing down the entry barrier for small investors and allowing the property rights benefits to trade seamlessly and instantaneously on the blockchain.

Blockchain transparency will also allow buyers to check and verify the transaction history of real estate, fine art pieces, and classic cars.

Intangible assets such as copyrights, trademarks, and patents – typically stored in paper or digital form – have much to gain from tokenization. An owner’s property rights to the copyrights, trademarks, or patents are stored immutably on the blockchain. Once tokenized,  copyrights, trademarks, or patents become tamper-proof, traceable, and verifiable in real-time.

In recent years, we have also seen the tokenization of credit markets. Crypto investors can remotely buy US treasuries, bonds, and cash-equivalent tokens on the Internet. Similarly, investors can earn yields by investing in tokens representing private credit loans to businesses.

According to rwa.xyz, the tokenized private credit market has active loans worth over $571 million and tokenized US treasuries worth over $771 million as of December 2023.

Exotic products such as carbon credits are also being tokenized. Carbon credit tokens are awarded, sold, transferred, and retired on the blockchain. Tokenized carbon credits create a liquid market for these exotic products, allowing companies to buy carbon offsets more easily while enabling climate action projects to raise funds more efficiently.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Whether it is the equity or crypto market, no one can deny that the AI crypto narrative will grow stronger in 2024. The disruptiveness of AI has made it a force to be reckoned with.

Crypto investors are looking to profit from AI by identifying two types of crypto projects:

  1. Projects that support AI operations
  2. Projects that create AI solutions and provide AI services

AI-focused DePINs make up the first category. These include crypto projects providing the basic infrastructure for AI applications to operate.

Data storage and computing resources are the two main areas that AI-focused DePINs are working on. For example, Akash and Render are two crypto projects with a decentralized marketplace where users can buy and sell GPU power required by AI applications to process data.

Fetch.ai is a good example of the second category of AI-related crypto projects. Fetch.ai is a platform that allows developers to create and sell autonomous AI software and services. These AI software can operate independently, allowing buyers to automate a wide range of business functions.

Similarly, Bittensor is a crypto project focused on creating a decentralized AI industry. Bittensor’s vision includes both producing new AI frameworks and creating decentralized markets for compute resources, data storage, data processing, and oracles, all under one ecosystem.

Crypto Projects That Embrace Tech

We have selected the top crypto projects from each category mentioned above – DePIN, data availability, restaking, RWA tokenization, and AI. We selected the top cryptos in each category based on their market capitalization as of February 23, 2024.

Crypto project Category Token Market cap 1 Year % Gain (02/23/2024)
Render DePIN RNDR $2.3 billion +344%
NEAR Protocol Data availability NEAR $2.7 billion 23%
Celestia Data availability TIA $2.3 billion 44% (YTD)
Syscoin Data availability SYS $87 million -34%
Lido DAO Restaking/LST LDO $2.1 billion -2%
Frax Share Restaking/LST FXS $500 million -25%
Polymesh RWA POLYX $152 million -12%
Maple RWA MPL $71 million +114%
Fetch.ai AI FET $924 million 139%

The Bottom Line

These are our picks for the crypto narratives of 2024, but remember, it is important to end this article with a reminder that crypto markets can be unpredictable, and predictions can be wrong.

You should always do your own due diligence before investing. Therefore, this article should not be considered investment advice and is for information purposes only.

Lastly, we have to mention that other promising crypto trends for 2024 are out there, like Layer-2s, blockchain gaming, and decentralized social.

FAQs

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