A couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of attending in-person the 2021 Mainnet Conference, organized by Messari. It was invigorating to again experience a real-life gathering and do some networking with crypto experts, builders, and investors for three days of future-focused collaboration in New York.
My overall impression about the conference is that many established blockchains are now starting to gain real prominence as the next new thing. This shows that the world is generally ready for innovative financial systems and global crypto adoption. Moreover, it looks like there are fewer ‘crypto guys’ and more proper blockchain experts and developers who have a well-defined vision of what the decentralized sector should look like over the next couple of years.
Having listened to and engaged with some of the blockchain leaders from Messari, MakerDAO, Solana Labs, DeFiLlama, Sushi, Filecoin, the Graph, Polkadot, and many others, I noted four main takeaways which will be shaping the world of crypto and blockchain in the nearest future.
In the article, I will be examining the most crucial crypto industry trends, such as the rise of multichain ecosystems, the arrival of Web 3.0, greater interoperability, and crypto gaming.
The rise of Multichain Ecosystems
It is almost inevitable that the decentralized community will soon turn to multichain. Although Ethereum is still the go-to platform for application development, there is a rising number of comprehensive Layer 1 solutions with a rapidly growing TVL, which are challenging the monopoly of the Ethereum ecosystem. Alternative chains are gaining momentum, as they offer faster transactions and much lower fees compared to Ethereum. Among the potential so-called “Ethereum killers”, Solana, Cosmos, and Cardano stand out to me the most.
However, the general mood of the conference panel dictated that not all hyped Layer 1 and 2 solutions will become the pillars of the multichain ecosystem. Instead, the best projects will be filtered out by the number of community members, the best development teams, and the most prominent use cases.
The decentralized world is currently experiencing several obstacles, which can be solved with multichains and bridges to both achieve the next stage of global blockchain adoption and smooth the transition to Web3.0. Furthermore, a multichain ecosystem is expected to bring more space for new protocols, communities, and a vast user base.
Want to know more about the rapidly growing Layer 1 & Layer 2 solutions? Check out our INC4 article on How Solana, Cardano, and Cosmos are challenging Ethereum.
The arrival of Web 3.0
The transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 is fast approaching, thanks to the rapid uptake of DeFi applications. The next web will become the mediator of on-chain communication and data-sharing. To achieve this, greater adoption of DeFi is needed in government structures, private enterprises, and the corporate world. The next generation of the Internet will make the web more inclusive and easier to transact in.
At the conference, Vitalik Buterin highlighted that the decentralized web should go beyond decentralized platforms and safeguard both data security and data hygiene.
I suggest following the updates from Filecoin, Solid, and Dfinity projects, as their core mission is to decentralize the Internet and solve any puzzles on their way. These three have common ground — offering decentralized alternatives to the centralized cloud, ensuring better user privacy protection and censorship resistance.
Among all the presentations, the representatives from Filecoin impressed me the most — they demonstrated real enthusiasm when describing decentralized cloud storage for Web 3.0. I’m interested in Filecoin’s mission to solve issues of centralized storage with decentralized solutions, with a cloud that is more secure against hacker attacks.
Overall, Web 3.0 is designed to empower users and communities instead of creating corporate hierarchies. Its transparent and secure online ecosystem will develop opportunities and markets for new governance structures and various decentralized business models.
Crypto gaming on the rise
Crypto gaming, or GameFi , follows the play-to-earn business model and is helping to popularize the adoption of DeFi platforms. The correlation between decentralized finance projects and the gaming sector is mutually beneficial, bringing mainstream usage of DeFi platforms closer than ever before. Online gamers are given an opportunity to monetize their time, bringing more attention to DeFi play-to-earn. As a result, GameFi has the potential to change how users play, learn, and interact with decentralized finance.
Solana Foundation and Houbi Ventures are shaping the trend by looking to embed pilot crypto-gaming platforms into their DeFi ecosystems to attract more prospective users and transform the world of gaming forever.
If you want to learn more about GameFi, feel free to read my team’s recent article about the philosophy behind the concept and the opportunities it creates for the DeFi industry.
The crypto sector is maturing and I am sensing a higher level of trust among the crypto community compared to five years ago. The conference also revealed that some mature projects are finally ready to work together towards a shared goal of universal decentralization instead of competing in their own sectors.
As revealed at Mainnet 2021, Protocol Labs, Ethereum Foundation, Filecoin Foundation, and Electric Coin Co. have entered into a collaboration to explore Halo 2 and the future of proofs. This brings interoperability one step closer to reality as the teams will be working on delivering greater scalability, interoperability and privacy across ecosystems for the development of Web 3.0.
Wrapping it all up
It looks like all four trends are interconnected and vital for the development of decentralized solutions: The arrival of Web 3.0 is inherently dependent on working multichain ecosystems and interoperability between projects; while crypto gaming is expected to become an essential part of DeFi’s mainstream adoption.
The crypto industry is rapidly evolving. The Mainnet event proved how fast the adoption pace is, giving a retrospective view of the achievements of 2020 and some food for thought about upcoming milestones.