Memecoins, Staking-With-A-Twist, DeFi-Nancialization Of New Verticals

The NFT Unicorn 481e4928b034d4f1b263e0fd9e27e09a8094bdfc Memecoins, Staking-With-A-Twist, DeFi-Nancialization Of New Verticals NFT News

Having recently reflected on the development of the crypto markets since the 2021 bull run, I’ve also been pondering trends in the broader Web3 sector and the scale of change we’ve seen in just three short years.

As 2021’s biggest headline-grabbers, NFTs are a case in point. Even as crypto prices soared in early March, NFT NFT markets were dogged by liquidations, with prices slumping as much as 30% for some once-popular collections. While the format still offers plenty of opportunities for utility, market hype simply hasn’t carried through to 2024.

Instead, crypto’s wildest speculators have turned their attention to the latest trend – memecoins. However, Karim Chaim, CEO of blockchain infrastructure project Web3Intelligence, which develops the Dopamine app, believes this is about more than just speculation:

“Memecoins mirror the trajectory of NFTs but with distinct nuances. Memecoins have become emblematic of how digital assets can encapsulate and drive engagement around cultural phenomena. More than just speculative assets, memecoins in 2024 represent a democratization of influence previously monopolized by venture capitalists and institutional investors. This shift towards community-driven value creation and marketing is profound, illustrating the potential of decentralized networks to empower individuals and communities.”

The news that even hedge funds are proving susceptible to the allure of dog-themed cryptos, lends significant credence to his view – and underscores once again the sheer pace and scale of acceptance over recent years.

DeFi, another trend that came to characterize the 2021 bull market, has evolved rather than transformed. Whereas the 2022 collapse of LUNA LUNA could have been a death knell for the sector, the emergence of Ethereum ETH staking turned into a timely opportunity. Whereas lending and DEXs used to sit at the top of the DeFi ranking tables, these days, it’s all about maximizing staking returns with liquid staking on Lido and restaking on EigenLayer. The latter is proving to be catnip for VCs, with restaking-adjacent protocols Aligned Layer and Othentic raising a combined total of $24 million in late April. This came following EigenLabs epic $100 million raise earlier this year – one of the rounds that’s helped to resuscitate the previously flagging Web3 funding scene.

However, perhaps a slower-burning trend is DeFi’s creeping presence in otherwise unrelated sectors, creating previously unexplored avenues of value and revenue creation. GameFi was the first example, and it also gained prominence during the 2021 market, thanks largely to the popularity of Axie Infinity.

This time around, Web3 games have advanced from their first iteration based on startups experimenting with the technology. Ubisoft has said it’s working on Web3 games and is expecting to release two titles later this year. The company has also expanded its gaming team and licensed some of its IP to Web3 gaming companies. The recent viral popularity of Notcoin, a “social clicker” game that managed to pull in an impressive 35 million players, speaks to the appetite for rewards, providing audiences can see their value.

However, the DeFi makeover is expanding to other verticals – SocialFi is one example of a relatively new segment introducing financial elements to social media. Another is SportFi, spearheaded by Chiliz CHZ , the project that became synonymous with fan tokens during the last bull market thanks to high-profile collaborations with teams including PSG, Juventus, and AC Milan. The project is now seeking to cement its position at the intersection of Web3 and sports, as CEO and founder Alexandre Dreyfus explains:

“We’ve integrated and partnered with several gaming titles in football management, metaverse experiences, and fitness gaming. It’s also noteworthy to address the ongoing development of Web3-based fantasy games in collaboration with prominent sports rights holders such as Ligue 1 in France, K League in Korea, and the UAE UAE Pro League. This innovative approach allows traditional brands to venture into the gaming community, which opens up additional revenue streams through digital assets and enhanced fan engagement mechanisms.”

So memecoins, staking-with-a-twist, and the DeFi-nancialization of new verticals for 2024 – who’s taking bets on what will emerge in 2027/2028?

Source: Crypto News