What the top crypto execs predict for the industry in 2022: Regulation and a Big Tech

Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, Florida, on June 5, 2021.

Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Cryptocurrencies have had yet another wild year.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital asset, has seen a roughly 65% gain since January — with some ten to twenty percent swings in between. It brought in a crop of new, individual investors along the way as payment giants like PayPal started letting users trade crypto. More billionaires and institutional investors dove in to help legitimize the asset class.

The industry now sprawls well beyond bitcoin. NFTs, blockchain-based videogames and “Web3” are top of executives’ minds heading into next year. Regulation remains as the biggest uncertainty.

Here’s a look at what some of the industry’s most influential executives had to say.

FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried

Circle CEO, Jeremy Allaire

Bitfury CEO & former head of the OCC, Brian Brooks

Paxos CEO, Charles Cascarilla

Grayscale Investments CEO, Michael Sonnenshein

This year marked an industry milestone of the first futures-based bitcoin ETF. But Grayscale and others in the industry are looking to take that a step further.

It’s looking to convert the world’s largest bitcoin trust, GBTC, into an ETF and CEO Michael Sonnenshein is optimistic for an approval in 2022. He’s also seeing investor interest beyond bitcoin, and “tension” between Big Tech and start-ups.

 “We’re entering into 2022 Without a Bitcoin ETF, but believe that in the coming year the SEC and other regulators will continue to dig in on this issue. We remain optimistic that they will allow for an even playing field — and give investors the optionality between both spot and futures-based ETF products for getting exposure.”

“This was certainly a year when we thought people were diversifying beyond Bitcoin and Ether. We’re starting to see that investors are going to specific protocols and projects, and an increasing mindshare among investors that the universe of crypto assets is only broadening.”

“There will be an expanded conversation around the tension between some of these centralized platforms that are today managed by social media and e-commerce, giants, and established tech companies versus some of these up and coming decentralized platforms.”

Robinhood Crypto Lead and COO, Christine Brown

Robinhood started as a stock-trading start-up. But in its second quarter as a public company, it got more than half of total revenue from crypto trades. Of that, more than 60% came from Dogecoin transactions. As the asset class becomes more important to the company’s bottom line, executives have said they’re moving slowly on adding new assets to the platform, until there’s more regulatory clarity.

“2021 was the year crypto went mainstream.”

“Whether through NFTs or their token of choice, more people engaged in crypto in what was a breakout year.”

“Crypto has long had a HODL mentality, and that extended to NFTs in 2021 where JPGs replaced photos all across social media. The infrastructure investment from 2017 is ready for primetime, with multiple layer L1s and L2 platforms…

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