In the lights of a significant bullish run continuously encompassing the cryptocurrency market in 2020 and early 2021, the whole blockchain industry has brought back the attention it attracted during the first crypto boom dated 2017-2018.
Although many experts outline a long-lasting optimistic trend for BTC and major blockchain-based assets and keep searching for the similarities between the two Golden Ages for crypto, some essential changes occurred within the industry. They mainly relate to its structure and philosophy, which are consistently transforming the perception of the blockchain world itself, which has shifted from a wild but booming cluster of speculative assets to the new finance system with hardly limited prospects ahead. Let's take a deeper look at the most crucial changes that caused this transformative impact.
A Retrospective Dive
It is considered that 2017 was the year that boosted blockchain’s mainstream adoption to the insane level. The growing interest in emerging technology among “retail” enthusiasts had then turned into a trend that hasn’t yet been reached again.
Although some market trends were quite limited in terms of their lifecycle (see an example of “ICO”), others (“blockchain”) were likely to demonstrate market maturity due to a stable interest among the audience. The year 2018 was not an exception, as it showed some other insights into general industry development. Thus, with the growing number of new cryptocurrency projects launched as the initial coin offerings, there appeared some widely-known ICO aggregators that tracked the upcoming token sales and ranked the projects accordingly to a variety of factors, such as clearness of tokenomics, known team, product vision, and other metrics. Undoubtedly, such aggregators could theoretically give an outstanding possibility to both upcoming projects and retail investors. However, it turned out that such aggregators were actually selling ratings as an extra profit center, giving higher rates to selected assets, which isn’t that new if we look into a global economic crisis of 2007-2008 and triple-A ratings assigned by the Big Tree credit rating agencies. Both 2017 and early 2018 could be defined as premature or even wild periods for the entire blockchain sphere.
However, a growing number of loyal audiences has also given rise to many worthwhile solutions, e.g. cryptocurrency payment infrastructure. Firstly, even small businesses were provided with the ability to receive payments in cryptocurrencies. That was the epic growth for such companies as Coinpayments. Having an impressive number of E-commerce plugins under their hood, Coinpayments strengthened their positions, giving companies the ability to work with crypto all around the world.
The Great Transformation
The primary means of a successful, mutually beneficial partnership between two projects is a potential in userbase exchange and further acquisition. However, such collaboration may mean a lot more for the industry itself, pushing it to fundamental transformation. A perfect example of such a shift was a foundation and further development of a DeFi sector. One of the pioneers of a DeFi sector was the Maker project launched back in 2017. Moving further to the 2019-2020 perspective, DeFi projects have catalyzed the blockchain industry’s growth, letting more projects get into the ecosystem.
DeFi sector has then reconfigured the “terms” of partnerships, namely, with recently launched protocols for cross-chain integrations (Polkadot) and the new era of decentralized exchanges (Uniswap). Such partnerships (or integrations) are claimed to be permissionless, clear, and free. Thus, it allowed lots of projects to get launched and later involved in the ecosystem, allowing their investors to use all the benefits, such as yield farming, staking, swapping, and liquidity mining.
Why “Standalones” Lose
It’s always great to see how the blockchain world has changed within such a short time, thanks to teams, projects, and contributors of all sizes. Though, building a product in a vacuum, sterile environment is likely to be not that successful.
One of the most significant tendencies of a blockchain space is lowering the entry barriers, meaning that more people could join the industry. Five years ago, such barriers were the ability to buy cryptocurrency with fiat money, lack of security and governance best practices, low data reliability, and others. Taking a look at today’s top-25 centralized crypto exchanges, it’s quite hard to find the one with no fiat gateway. Therefore, such gaps between the crypto and fiat world should be filled in with a smooth and reliable infrastructure, for instance, fiat-to-crypto onramp providers. Being the absolute leader among the exchanges, Binance has made a series of partnerships with such providers, namely, Banxa, MoonPay, and others. These integrations have significantly decreased the newcomers’ difficulties, letting users worldwide choose the providers to enter the crypto world with ease.
Those who’ve decided to develop their own solutions may achieve revolutionary results. However, avoiding the integration of existing, widely used, and time-proven solutions will lead to a loss of time and a cohort of new users.
Most of the currently existing and well-developed products on the market pay a lot of attention to continuous integration practices. This could be achieved by a source code that is ready to use external applications to exchange data with. One recent example of such a partnership is integrating Wyre API into the native application of BC Vault. This demonstrates a transformation of the traditional meaning of hardware wallets by letting users not only store their assets securely but also buy them with the ease of a credit card.
One of the most anticipated integrations of recent time was PayPal’s decision to support cryptocurrencies. While the leading fintech service currently supports only four currencies and available only for U.S. citizens, PayPal has a strong intense to expand the service to more markets in the first half of the year.
The other exciting tendency of a whole digital space is separating API as a product itself that can later be monetized as a SaaS solution. Being a frontrunner in data sharing throughout the crypto space, CoinMarketCap has data transmission packages of all sizes from basic to an enterprise. Entrepreneurs, traders, startups, and large corporations use CoinMarketCap API to cover their business needs.
To summarize, the opportunities of seamless integrations should be considered as gates, rails, or even highways for those willing to expand the new horizons and gain more users around the product’s ecosystem.