The longer you are in the crypto market, the more you understand that some things never change. There are 4 cycles that consist of both a bull and bear market, revolving around Bitcoin halving. While most believe that each bull market is set off due to the halving occurring. You will also begin to see the trend of each bullish period having its own hype season. They come, and they go away. These are the fads of crypto.
The only question is are they gone forever, will they reappear, and what is the next fad?
The 2017/18 bull run was arguably set off in motion as a result of ICOs. (Initial Coin Offerings). The ability to have the same ability as a VC to get into projects early was one of the first real use cases for Ethereum. Some of the most popular. ICOs we saw during this period were Cardano, Tron, EOS, and the list goes on. While a few of these ended up being big winners for investors. A majority of them ended up becoming worthless, and never saw a full release.
Fast-forward to 2020, and we saw the hype cycle called “DeFi-Summer.” This is perhaps the second time we saw a real use case for Ethereum, and most people agreed that it would be around for the long term. The appeal of DeFi was to earn a passive income, with much less counterparty risk than using 3rd party lenders such as BlockFi or Celsius. Something that we would later find out is vital.
During DeFi Summer, farming yields became the latest trend. Trading on DEXs, trying to find the next hidden gem. Eventually, Ethereum gas fees got out of hand and DeFi Summer faded away. The only question is will it re-appear once ETH gas fees are much more manageable?
In 2021, NFTs were the trend that brought the mainstream into crypto. Celebrities and normal people were into them and wanted to build a collection. Some of the top projects such as Crypto Punks, and BAYC were selling for millions of dollars.
For each NFT project that we heard about making people extremely rich. There were countless others that were worthless. As the bear market began to set in, people began to realize how illiquid NFTs really are. They are not as easy to get rid of as selling regular crypto on exchanges. You must actually find a buyer. Most people ended up becoming bag holders of JPEGs that they were hoping to profit from.
Play-to-Earn & Move-to-Earn
Throughout 2021–22, another trend we saw appear was play-to-earn and move-to-earn. The most popular examples of this were Axie Infinity, and STEPN, with others appearing as well.
People dream about making money by doing nothing, or something that they would be doing regardless. The idea of earning crypto from playing games or simply moving was very appealing to people. In the beginning, people were actually to make a living by only playing Axie. This was popular in countries like the Philippines.
For one reason or another; perhaps due to tokenomics, the quality of the project, or lasting appeal, these options began to fade in popularity. I do believe that once projects focus on fun and quality before even thinking about the crypto-earning aspect of it. That is when they will have finally found something special.
Everyone loves free money, and that is why airdrops have become so popular. Perhaps they could even be considered ICOs 2.0. By performing certain tasks, being part of a community, owning a certain cryptocurrency, or connecting wallets to services; people have been able to receive crypto airdrops that have been valued at thousands of dollars.
There is a darker side to this. People participate in projects only to hopefully receive an airdrop. Once they receive it, they quickly abandon it and move on to the next target. Projects that were once popular, quickly die due to this “fake” userbase. People are only in it for the money, and not to further the industry.
People love money, which means there is a good chance that many of these will appear. We have already seen a new wave of NFTs with Ordinals on Bitcoin. Airdrops likely aren’t going anywhere. Once the market recovers and higher-quality projects come along, play-to-earn and move-to-earn will once again become very popular. Layer 2s on Ethereum will bring cheaper gas fees. This could lead to DeFi seeing a resurgence as well. It is also likely that we will see something entirely new. No one knows what it is yet, but if you can spot it early you will have a great opportunity to make great wealth.
How about you? What do you think the next trend in crypto is?
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