There is always hope, even going into the fifth month of the crypto bear market. For those who can’t bear to keep following the prices (pun intended), we focus on following the projects of the projects themselves, which create the value.
On Sept. 6, the center of that hope is the merge of the Ethereum mainnet. According to the Ethereum Foundation’s post, “The Merge is the most complicated upgrade to Ethereum to date,” moving toward proof-of-stake consensus.
As we wish for a brighter future in the DeFi side of the blockchain ecosystem, we can look to areas where there are still signs of growth in users.
The Adoption Of Blockchain In Retail: According to the Blockchain in Retail Market Report by Fortune Business Insights, the pandemic helped to accelerate the growth of the blockchain retail market despite supply chain disruptions and global economic woes. The market is predicted to grow from $172,200,000 in 2021 to $2,082,800,000 by 2028.
“Demystifying Crypto,” an April report by payment platform Checkout.com, showed that 45% of consumers between ages 18 and 35 believe that crypto should be used as currency and 62% of merchants plan to introduce digital coins, tokens or NFTs as part of their loyalty schemes.
We interviewed the leadership of payment platforms and vendors in the Web2 and Web3 space to get a firsthand view of the evolving crypto retailer landscape.
Retail Growth During The Crypto Winter: With a 2020 and 2021 boost from the pandemic, the global blockchain retail market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.8%, a remarkable push even as the effects of COVID-19 flatten out.
“The demand is there, so the solutions must meet the moment appropriately and quickly,” Jess Houlgrave, head of crypto strategy and GTM of Checkout.com, said in an interview with Benzinga.
The message is that even as the crypto market stays in the doldrums, awareness and demand for crypto have reached mainstream markets and continue to create momentum toward adoption.
“With online retailers beginning to accept crypto payments, it certainly sparks curiosity about where this will lead in the future– and if we’ll ever truly leave fiat in the past. We see the future of payments as a hybrid of fiat and crypto,” Houlgrave said.
'A Massive Opportunity': Jacky Goh, CEO and Founder of Rewards Bunny, a shopping rewards program that awards crypto incentives has seen a strong preference among their approximately 50,000 users for crypto.
“80% of our users chose crypto rewards. We see a massive opportunity in this space with more crypto adoption year-over-year,” Goh said.
Rewards Bunny is betting on the Ethereum Merge to spike interest in crypto near term.
“Despite the current bearish crypto market, we see huge advancements in the blockchain tech space. This month will be exciting as the Ethereum Merge is taking place. We are also seeing how innovations are increasingly common within the blockchain space, especially with X-to-Earn trends,” Goh said.
Why Ease Of Use Is Key: Justin Hochberg, CEO and co-founder of Virtual Brand Group (VBG), which helps brands sell in the metaverse space, said the company's studies show an increase in the use of crypto by consumers.
“Today, about 28% of people in the U.S. have used crypto. The Virtual Brand Group recently learned in a consumer survey that this will increase by 24% compounded for the next several years,” Hochberg said.
Hochberg dismisses the ominous “crypto winter” and said the need for easy-to-use, low-cost payment options will continue to drive crypto adoption.
“The X factor that will drive even more mass adoption is ease-of-use. There are thousands of companies working to make crypto wallets, apps and payment systems that remove any technology confusion for an average consumer so soon you’ll use it just like Venmo or PayPal,” Hochberg said.
Maurice Glissmann, founder and CEO of AMZSCALE, which supports over 800 Amazon retailers, has done one test with NFT sales but said he feels bullish on blockchain as a growth area for traditional retailers. AMZSCALE recently launched a security token that will allow investors to make investments in retail brands from their platform.
“We offer a solution for any brand to put some equity on the table and get some funds. We are offering a crowd investing solution for brands that lets them connect with perhaps 1,000 core customers that love the brand. In that way, true brand lovers can be truly a part of the whole brand. So I think not only with NFTs, but the whole blockchain space will be huge over the next year, especially for those kinds of services or ideas,” Glissmann said.
The Last Word: Despite the chilly market, progress continues — even if that progress is not reflected in the state of the market. If you look at the investment pouring into the space, there is still a bright future for many areas including retail, gamefi, defi, metaverse and paytech.
The mainstream discovered this once-insular blockchain space during the last bull run. Project leaders in our space need to be ready to show our work with real use cases that serve not only the crypto stans but the world at large.
So, what should these projects do while they wait for the market conditions to warm up?
As Nadja Bester, one of the founders of AdLunam, recently said in an interview with Benzinga: “You have it in your hands to build out the future. Replicating the success of other projects is no longer really an option. This is an opportunity for you to go and say, what are the real possibilities of this technology? What can our project actually do and achieve? I think a lot of creativity and a lot of sort of innovation can come out of this. That is the silver lining.”
Perhaps part of that silver lining will be buying NFTs through Amazon sellers using fiat. Or it could be setting up new streams of revenue in the metaverse. Or something entirely not considered up to this point. We do love a bright new idea in the blockchain space. When the crypto winter has ended, we must be ready with ideas worth believing in. Ultimately the projects will lead the way to a brighter, more constructive time for building the future in blockchain.