2022 is set to be the year cryptocurrencies go mainstream, says Marcus Carey, enterprise architect at ReliaQuest.
“Already, big players are making moves into this space and NFTs are becoming increasingly popular among celebrities,” he says. “We’ve unfortunately seen businesses use cryptocurrencies to make ransomware payments, but in 2022, they will become a more widely utilised method for companies to do things like compensate employees and take payments from customers.
“This will open up a whole new paradigm for security teams and CISOs, as there will be an increased emphasis on the security aspects of these new technologies.
CISOs and security teams will need to have an understanding of all of the facets of cryptocurrencies, including different blockchains like Ethereum and Solana, smart contracts, and hot and cold storage.
“Just as cybersecurity teams audit code now, they will have to audit smart contracts – automated agreements written in code and incorporated into the blockchain.
“Cybersecurity teams and IT teams will need to manage hot wallets, which are used for transactions, and cold wallets, which are used for long term storage.
“There are various aspects and implications that CISOs and their teams will need to understand in order to keep money secure. Cryptocurrency is the ‘Wild West’ of the digital world today. Companies need to prepare now for the impact it will have in the year ahead.”
Mark Sherman, MD at global VC firm Telstra Ventures, expects to see the rise of a common language for crypto and metaverses.
“After announcements from Facebook and Microsoft in 2021, metaverses have fully entered the public consciousness,” he says. “But with multiple metaverses that promise new ways to interact with the world, how will these metaverses interact with one another?
“There is no winner-take-all dynamic here. We need interoperability and common infrastructure. In 2022 we’ll see innovators rushing to define and refine a ‘translation layer’ that allows for transactions, regardless of fiat, crypto or NFTs being exchanged across different platforms.
“This same infrastructure would connect and confirm our identities across siloed metaverses, helping to build a global, virtual economy. And from a user perspective, one metaverse inhabitant could buy a virtual item with Bitcoin, while the seller receives Ethereum or Solana —in a different metaverse.
“We’re even seeing this happen today in the real-world with traditional sports athletes opting to be paid in crypto versus fiat currency.”
Rory Kenny, CEO at Loudly, says ‘metaverse’ is the buzzword of 2022.
“Despite the fact the Metaverse has been in existence for several years, it’s been isolated to a small audience – most notably in gaming. However, that is set to change since Facebook brought the Metaverse to the attention of everyone by changing its name to Meta.
“The Metaverse will go mainstream in 2022 with more accessible platforms encouraging users to join. The aim of the Metaverse is to encourage users to create their own spaces and experiences that are tailored and personal to them. From meeting your mates in a pub to having a team meeting in your office, virtually – the possibilities are exciting and endless. Businesses will start to expand into the Metaverse offering their goods and services there, creating a lucrative revenue stream for those who execute it well.
“Technology will not only play a role in software but also hardware with the VR headsets and smart glasses having a major role to play in making the Metaverse experience truly authentic. We can expect to see some exciting innovation in this space over the next 12 months.”
Kenny says 2021 was the year of the NFT and that established names and brands will continue to harness this new technology in the next year.
“Lesser-known artists will [also] innovate how they participate and innovate in the NFT economy,” he adds.
“2022 will see purchasers have more confidence in buying NFTs as a safe investment and view them in the way we traditionally see with physical art. For creators NFTs will offer huge opportunities, which we discovered when we worked with four artists in 2021 to gain insight into the process. NFTs mean more agency, control and money for creators.
“However, the experience is not without challenges. Adding layers to works such as music to artwork is complicated with many questions over contracts, royalties and ownership. Therefore, 2022 will see technology and organisations respond by offering solutions to better aid the creative process such as Loudly which creates royalty-free music using AI.”
Danny Stefanic, CEO and Founder of MootUp, adds: “2021 is the year the metaverse stepped into the limelight. The public rebranding of Facebook to Meta in October has been followed by other big tech companies launching similar metaverse initiatives. Interest around the metaverse is growing, and in 2022, we are likely to see bold metaverse proposals transform into reality.
“Importantly, the metaverse is not a pure consumer trend. In my mind, the practical benefits will come from its application in the business world. It’s what I call the ‘Metaverse for Business’ and is where I see the most exciting developments occurring.
“From recruitment to training and conferences, not to mention online and immersive work environments, the ‘Metaverse for Business’ will permanently change our ways of working. 2022 will demonstrate the potential of this, but this should not be considered remote working.
“Rather, the metaverse is showing the benefits of shared immersive experiences. In 2022 I believe we are going to see the metaverse empower and ‘un-remote’ the workforce.”