Each year in web3 brings unique challenges and opportunities. As we approach the end of 2023, we’ve gone beyond just reflecting on the year in web3. We’ve spoken with top market leaders to bring you their key insights from 2023 and their views on what the next year might bring.
This article features their expert opinions on the major trends and shifts in the crypto industry, giving you a clear view from those leading the field.
From regulatory changes to turbulent markets and technological advancements to global events, this year has offered a lot of defining moments in the crypto space.
With this in mind, we’ve reached out to industry leaders to gather their insights about last year and forecasts for 2024.
Join us as we delve into the web3 world through the eyes of those who lead it, explore what 2023 meant for the industry, and anticipate the possibilities that 2024 holds.
Key insights from industry leaders
Ali Martinez discovered Bitcoin in 2012 and was captivated by the concept of a decentralized, censorship-resistant currency. His extensive experience in the crypto field includes editorial roles at leading media outlets and companies within the cryptocurrency industry. After being the content manager at Binance, Ali is now the Global Head of News at BeInCrypto.
Ali referred to year 2023 in the crypto market as a period of recovery and regulatory progression, set against the backdrop of the previous year’s challenges. Key events included the collapse of major entities like Luna, TerraUSD, and FTX, and the failure of crypto banks such as Silvergate and Signature Bank.
Despite these setbacks, Bitcoin showed remarkable resilience with an over 180% price increase. Governments and financial institutions worldwide increased their involvement in the crypto industry, with significant regulatory developments in the EU, Dubai, the UK, and the US. The US Treasury proposed comprehensive tax rules for cryptocurrencies, affecting various sectors like DeFi, NFTs, and crypto wallets.
Binance faced legal challenges, resulting in a substantial settlement, while Ripple won a landmark legal battle against the SEC. These events reflect a maturing market increasingly intertwined with the global financial and regulatory system.
For 2024, Ali thinks Bitcoin will be on a bullish trajectory. “I believe the next market peak will be around October 2025, drawing parallels to previous bull runs from 2015 to 2018 and 2018 to 2022, where Bitcoin saw significant bull runs,” he said.
The potential approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF is a major catalyst according to Ali, as he expects this to revolutionize Bitcoin access and attract new investor pools. However, the crypto market’s pattern of “Buy the rumor, sell the news” suggests caution, as major announcements often lead to temporary rallies followed by declines.
The combination of historical patterns, ETF anticipation, and evolving regulatory environment indicates sustained bullish momentum for Bitcoin according to Ali. This outlook is reinforced by recent legal developments and growing regulatory clarity, signaling a more mature and stable crypto market in the years ahead.
Johnny Lyu is the CEO of KuCoin Exchange. At KuCoin, along with its derivatives KuMEX and Pool-X, Lyu oversees the daily operations and strategic direction of the exchange. His role involves expanding the KCS ecosystem, a key component of KuCoin’s service offerings.
In 2023, KuCoin navigated a tumultuous crypto market marked by surges and dips, transforming challenges into opportunities for growth and innovation. The platform expanded its market presence and enhanced product offerings, achieving significant milestones.
Key developments included its venture with Ton Foundation, supporting the TON ecosystem, and reinforcing its commitment to the blockchain community. KuCoin’s presence at major industry events, coupled with its social responsibility initiatives like the donation to Turkey’s disaster relief, reflect its multifaceted approach to leadership in the crypto sector.
Educational initiatives like KuCoin Learn and the publication of country reports have been crucial in enhancing user understanding and engagement.
Looking towards 2024, KuCoin anticipates a promising year with the potential resurgence of a bull market. This outlook suggests an influx of new products, heightened collaboration, and merger activities in the industry.
The expected global trend towards crypto regulatory frameworks, coupled with significant events like the Bitcoin halving, is set to influence market dynamics. KuCoin aims to continue its mission of facilitating digital value flow, focusing on user engagement, market trend analysis, and product and service enhancement.
As an industry leader, KuCoin will champion sustainable development, including participating in COP28 to advocate for green blockchain initiatives. Their commitment extends to hosting a charity dinner to support youth health and education, underscoring their dedication to social responsibility and ethical business practices.
David Lo is the Head of Financial Logics at Bybit. David is responsible for overseeing financial strategies and market analysis. His role is pivotal in understanding market trends, deciphering financial data, and guiding Bybit’s strategic direction in the competitive cryptocurrency market.
David’s insights are crucial in shaping Bybit’s approach to market fluctuations and opportunities, making him a key player in the company’s ongoing success and growth in the dynamic world of digital currencies.
In 2023, Bitcoin witnessed a remarkable recovery, bouncing back from its November 2022 lows with an impressive 100% gain, signaling a rebound from the 2022 bear market. David Lo attributes this surge to several factors, including the anticipated approval of the Bitcoin ETF.
David Lo remarked, “The expected approval of the BTC ETF, which could lead to greater inflows and expanded marketing by large ETF providers, along with the upcoming halving in April 2024, are key factors expected to bolster Bitcoin’s appeal and access, indicating a bullish outlook for 2024.”
Despite significant fluctuations, Lo mentioned that Bitcoin’s volatility reached historic lows, particularly in Q3. Key events influencing this volatility included the American banking crisis, which positioned BTC as a safe-haven asset, and the SEC’s legal setbacks against crypto firms, alleviating fears of stringent regulations stifling innovation in the crypto market.
Looking ahead to 2024, David Lo anticipates several influential trends for Bitcoin. “The main trends to watch are central banks cutting interest rates, the Bitcoin ETF and halving events, and continued regulatory clarity, all of which lead me to expect higher prices for Bitcoin and other cryptos by the end of 2024.”
Collectively, these factors make Lo optimistic about Bitcoin’s prospects, leading him to expect higher prices for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by the end of 2024.
Ilya Volkov, serving as the CEO and co-founder of YouHodler, has been a significant figure in the fintech industry for nearly two decades. His Swiss-based Web3 platform, YouHodler, is at the forefront of integrating fiat and crypto financial services.
Ilya’s extensive background includes commercial finance, online trading, and Web3 financial services. His role as a Board member of Switzerland’s Crypto Valley Association and as an ambassador for Innovaud showcases his influence and commitment to promoting innovation and investment in the fintech sector.
His leadership at YouHodler is instrumental in driving the company’s vision of bridging traditional financial systems with the evolving world of decentralized finance.
2023 has been a pivotal year for the cryptocurrency sector, marked not just by price fluctuations but by structural changes indicating the industry’s maturation. Ilya Volkov views these developments as integral to the evolution of blockchain technology.
The year started relatively calm, reflecting on the 2022 market crashes, but soon witnessed significant events, including the exit of CZ from Binance amidst regulatory allegations, symbolizing the end of an era in crypto maximalism.
This transition marked a shift towards more balanced institutional adoption. The year also saw big tech companies like Apple and Amazon showing increased interest in cryptocurrency, with Apple integrating blockchain technology and Amazon offering Web3 application development services.
Governments too played a role, with the European Union’s MiCA regulation shaping the regulatory landscape. These changes, coupled with growing job opportunities in the Web3 sector, underline the significant advancements made in 2023.
As 2024 approaches, Ilya Volkov is optimistic about the cryptocurrency landscape. “As we approach 2024, the cryptocurrency landscape looks more promising than ever. We’re witnessing energy-shifting events and a potential increase in institutional involvement in crypto.”
He expects the upcoming Bitcoin halving, attracting institutional investors, to lead to a significant bull run. The evolving relationship between crypto and traditional finance institutions, particularly through CeDeFi solutions, will continue to impact the financial sector.
Volkov anticipates the approval of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in 2024, bringing in a new wave of investors and ‘smart money’ into the crypto market. He expects further regulatory improvements, with governments increasingly recognizing the potential of cryptocurrencies.
However, volatility will remain a feature of the crypto market, with new trends like AI integration into blockchain potentially solving current challenges and creating new opportunities. Overall, Volkov sees 2024 as a year full of game changers, driving the continued maturity and expansion of the cryptocurrency industry.
Pavel Matveev is the CEO and Co-founder of Wirex. He has over 15 years of experience across investment banks like Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas, and Credit Suisse.
Pavel founded Wirex to simplify the complex process of buying cryptocurrencies. He is a notable figure in the blockchain and payments industry, contributing to international publications and speaking at various conferences including Money 20/20 Europe, The Pay Expo, Shift Money, and more.
Under his leadership, Wirex aims to bridge the gap between traditional banking and decentralized environments, aligning with the principles of Web3.
In 2023, the cryptocurrency world faced significant challenges, notably heightened scrutiny from the SEC following the FTX collapse. As Pavel Matveev notes, “This scrutiny led to a marked decline in cryptocurrency trading and created banking difficulties for crypto-centric companies.”
Despite these challenges, Pavel notes positive developments towards the year’s end, such as the potential easing of the crypto bear market. This shift is attributed to advancements in regulatory frameworks, particularly the anticipated approval of a Bitcoin Spot Exchange-Traded Fund and discussions surrounding an Ethereum-based ETF.
Additionally, the emergence of Web3 is reshaping internet interaction by offering genuine ownership and control over data and assets. Wirex has responded to these changes by focusing on developing a payment system compatible with Web3 principles.
This system, detailed in Wirex’s whitepaper and encapsulated in initiatives like W-Pay and the CryptoCredit Bridge, aims to integrate the best of traditional and decentralized financial systems.
Pavel anticipates significant growth in the cryptocurrency market in 2024, driven by the potential approval of Bitcoin and Ethereum Spot ETFs. This development could open doors for major investors like pension funds to invest in assets like Bitcoin.
Another key event is the Bitcoin halving, expected to limit new Bitcoin supply and increase scarcity, which historically leads to price increases. Wirex is gearing up for this future with the launch of W-Pay, a revolutionary payment system based on a ZK-powered App Chain.
This App Chain is designed for enhanced performance and security, making it ideal for Web3 interactions. With the support of Polygon’s CDK, W-Pay aims to revolutionize crypto payments by offering a scalable, secure, and interoperable ecosystem.
Pavel envisions Wirex as a leader in the Web3 payment landscape, stating, “Our goal for 2024 is to position Wirex as the leading payment layer for Web3, leveraging advanced technology to bring blockchain’s promises to life in every transaction.”
Gracy Chen is the Managing Director at Bitget, a prominent crypto derivatives and copy trading platform. With her, Bitget has seen significant growth, expanding its user base fourfold and ascending to the top five in crypto derivatives trading volumes globally.
Prior to Bitget, Gracy held key roles at Accumulus, a fintech unicorn, and XRSPACE, a VR startup backed by Foxconn. She was also an early investor in BitKeep, a leading decentralized wallet in Asia.
Recognized as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum in 2015, Gracy is an alumnus of the National University of Singapore and is currently pursuing an MBA at MIT. Her expertise in market expansion, business strategy, and corporate development has been pivotal in Bitget’s success.
Gracy Chen reflects on 2023 as a transformative year in the crypto sector, emphasizing the significant role of efforts for a Bitcoin ETF led by BlackRock. “The concentrated application for a Bitcoin ETF led by BlackRock is the most significant narrative of 2023,” she states.
The prospect of spot Bitcoin ETFs, offering direct investment channels, significantly bolstered the confidence of both institutional and retail investors.
Furthermore, a U.S. federal judge’s ruling favoring Ripple’s XRP token sales and the subsequent failure of the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple’s CEO indicated an improving regulatory environment. These developments collectively nurtured a strong expectation of Bitcoin ETFs’ approval, impacting market dynamics profoundly.
Looking ahead to 2024, Gracy anticipates several pivotal market catalysts that could shape the crypto landscape. Key among these is the expected approval of a Bitcoin ETF by the SEC in January, which could be followed by an Ethereum ETF, marking a significant stride in institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies.
The Ethereum Cancun upgrade is slated for Q1 2024, which, along with the expected boom in ZK L2 project token issuances, is set to unlock further potential in the Ethereum ecosystem.
The IPO of USDC’s issuer, Circle, is likely to enhance the adoption of cryptographic stablecoins. Bitcoin’s halving, reducing its availability, and the end of the U.S. interest rate hiking cycle, potentially leading to a rate cut in May 2024, are also expected to positively influence the crypto market.
Gracy predicts that post the liquidation of Bitcoin overhangs from Mt.Gox and the Silk Road seizure by the U.S. government, a genuine bull market will emerge, driving widespread adoption and innovation in cryptocurrencies.
Leif Ferreira is the CEO and Co-founder of Bit2Me. His leadership has brought this Spanish digital assets platform to noteworthy heights, including being the world’s first exchange to secure registration from the Bank of Spain.
Ferreira’s vision extends beyond just cryptocurrency trading; he sees Bit2Me as a comprehensive ecosystem offering over 20 solutions, ranging from Bitcoin and Ethereum to a diverse portfolio of more than 240 digital assets.
His commitment to financial transparency, strict adherence to regulations, and prioritization of consumer protection have not only established Bit2Me as a trusted platform in the crypto world but also showcased his role as a key influencer in shaping the industry’s future.
According Leif Ferreira, in 2023, the crypto industry experienced transformative changes, particularly in legislation and market dynamics. A crucial development was the European Union’s progress with the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulations, which Ferreira views as a significant step towards regulating crypto-based financial services.
He believes these regulations will enable major platforms to move out of regulatory ambiguity and establish transparent, trackable headquarters within legally compliant regions. Bit2Me, under Ferreira’s guidance, has been a frontrunner in compliance, with its headquarters in Spain adhering to local and European regulations.
Ferreira emphasizes that for Bit2Me, navigating through the world of crypto regulations is not a challenge but a pathway to building trust and reliability in the industry.
Leif Ferreira envisions 2024 as a pivotal year for crypto, with the industry needing to focus on regulation, financial transparency, and consumer protection to address potential market shifts.
He anticipates three major trends: the Bitcoin halving event, which traditionally leads to price rallies; the possible introduction of Bitcoin ETFs, facilitating institutional entry and potentially boosting Bitcoin’s market capitalization; and a slowdown in European crypto adoption due to new comprehensive regulations.
For Bit2Me, these developments represent opportunities to strengthen their position as a compliant, safe, and preferred crypto platform. Ferreira is optimistic about guiding Bit2Me through these changes, viewing 2024 as a crucial stage in the ongoing crypto revolution.
Alexander Casassovici, as the CEO and Founder of Azarus, stands at the forefront of integrating blockchain technology with interactive media. His venture into founding Azarus is driven by a passion to redefine digital interaction, merging technological acumen with a user-centric approach.
Alex’s entrepreneurial journey is characterized by his innovative mindset, aiming to craft immersive and rewarding digital experiences. Beyond his professional achievements, Alex’s adventurous spirit shines through his hobbies like trail running and scuba diving, mirroring the energy and enthusiasm he brings to his business endeavors.
His leadership is marked by exploration, resilience, and a relentless pursuit of pushing the boundaries. This approach has established Alex as a pivotal figure in the blockchain and gaming industries, seamlessly connecting emerging technologies with practical applications.
In 2023, Casassovici saw good things happen in the web3 space, stating: “The crypto industry is evolving, especially in the StreamFi space. We’re witnessing a more balanced and informed approach to crypto, reflecting a maturing industry where trust and sustainable partnerships are valued.”
After initial hesitance due to early exploitative projects, 2023 saw key opinion leaders reopening to crypto opportunities, now equipped with better education and understanding. This change is crucial, as it fosters broader acceptance and could be a key step towards mass adoption. The shift underscores a maturing industry prioritizing trust and sustainable partnerships.
Azarus views this trend as a positive indicator, reflecting a more balanced and informed approach to crypto in the streaming world, and aligns with its mission to foster a trusted and sustainable environment in StreamFi.
Looking forward to 2024, Azarus anticipates several exciting developments in the crypto industry, particularly within the Bitcoin blockchain. Historically seen as less dynamic, the Bitcoin ecosystem is undergoing a transformation with the emergence of BRC-20 tokens and advancements like Ordinals and Taproot.
These innovations are injecting new life into the Bitcoin chain, sparking renewed conversations about its sustainability and environmental impact. Azarus is keenly observing these changes, especially the rising significance of BRC-20 tokens, exploring their potential to enhance the platform’s offerings.
While committed to supporting the broader Bitcoin ecosystem, Azarus’s primary focus is ensuring that any new integration aligns with its user experience and mission. This approach underscores Azarus’s dedication to staying at the cutting edge of technological progress, indicating a vibrant future for the company in the evolving crypto landscape.
Scott Dykstra, the CTO and Co-Founder of Space and Time, combines his passion for AI and blockchain to drive innovation in these fields. ”As an avid helicopter pilot, I bring the same adventurous spirit to advancing technology,” he told us.
Space and Time, under his co-leadership, is dedicated to developing verifiable compute layers that bring Zero-Knowledge (ZK) proven offchain compute to smart contracts and Large Language Models (LLMs).
Scott’s vision and expertise in the intersection of AI and blockchain are pivotal in shaping the future of decentralized computation and its applications.
Scott stated that “2023 witnessed a significant surge in Zero-Knowledge compute, particularly ZK-coprocessors. Space and Time’s Proof of SQL has been a game-changer, leading the shift towards computation that’s proven offchain and verified onchain.”
Another major trend was the dominance of liquid staking, exemplified by Lido’s Total Value Locked (TVL) surpassing $18 billion. Additionally, the rapid rise and fall of SocialFi, led by projects like FriendTech, marked an exciting, albeit volatile, chapter in the industry.
These developments reflect a growing emphasis on secure, efficient offchain computation and the dynamic nature of the crypto landscape.
Looking ahead to 2024, the trend towards verifiable offchain computation is set to intensify, with a shift to more Zero-Knowledge Virtual Machines (ZKVMs) and Zero-Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machines (ZKEVMs).
These technologies, being trustless and more secure than traditional cloud servers, are expected to replace conventional offchain and consensus-driven work.
Scott Dykstra predicts that restaking will become a prominent narrative, mirroring the growth seen in liquid staking during 2023. Restaking offers users the opportunity to earn higher yields, aligning with the industry’s ongoing pursuit of more efficient and profitable staking mechanisms.
This focus on enhanced security, efficiency, and user benefits signals a progressive evolution in the crypto industry for 2024.
Yves La Rose
Yves La Rose, based in Ottawa, leads the EOS Network Foundation as its Founder and CEO. His early passion for technology saw him building his first computer and programming at the age of seven, and later delving into Bitcoin mining in 2010.
Yves ventured into the cryptocurrency sector in 2016, after a diverse career that included roles as an economist and policy advisor for the Canadian federal government, as well as in communications for a political representative.
His leadership at the EOS Network Foundation is marked by a commitment to the core development of the EOS Network, aligning his technological expertise with his vision for the future of blockchain and web3 innovations.
In 2023, Yves La Rose observed a shift towards a more mature crypto industry, underlined by proactive regulatory approaches, especially in Asia. This region has transitioned from adapting to actively facilitating web3-friendly regulation, a significant evolution in governmental engagement with blockchain technology.
Yves’s interactions with government and industry leaders have underscored a commitment to nurturing web3 innovations and collaborations. According to Yves, this marks “a crucial evolution in how governments engage with the blockchain sector.”
This change marks a crucial point in how governments are now engaging with the blockchain sector, positioning Asia as a frontrunner in establishing new standards for the global crypto community.
Looking towards 2024, Yves anticipates pivotal changes in the crypto market “driven by the evolution of the regulatory landscape and increasingly favorable market conditions.”
The likely approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs and the upcoming Bitcoin halving are set to catalyze a widespread increase in adoption by both institutional and retail players. The bear market’s technological progressions have laid the foundation to support significant growth, with Real-World Assets (RWAs) ready to bridge traditional finance and blockchain.
These developments, coupled with continuing regulatory shifts, are expected to open new opportunities and amplify capital inflow, marking the transition to a more mature, stable, and prosperous era for the crypto sector.
Reflection: The key insights from industry leaders
As we reflect on the pivotal moments of 2023 and look forward to 2024 in the crypto space, insights from industry leaders provide a comprehensive and optimistic outlook for the future of cryptocurrency.
The past year, as described by Gracy Chen of Bitget, was marked by significant strides, particularly the push for a Bitcoin ETF and a more favorable regulatory environment. These developments have set the stage for what she predicts to be a bullish 2024, with key catalysts like the anticipated approval of Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs and advancements within the Ethereum ecosystem.
Pavel Matveev from Wirex paints a picture of resilience in the face of challenges such as regulatory scrutiny and market fluctuations. Despite these hurdles, he noted positive shifts towards the end of 2023, and his forecast for 2024 hinges on the continued growth and integration of Web3 technologies, as well as key events like the Bitcoin halving.
David Lo of Bybit observed a remarkable recovery in Bitcoin’s value in 2023. His expectations for 2024 are shaped by potential regulatory clarity and macroeconomic factors, suggesting a continued upward trajectory for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Ilya Volkov from YouHodler highlighted 2023 as a year of maturation for the crypto sector, with structural changes paving the way for a promising 2024. He anticipates a significant bull run driven by institutional investments and the evolution of the relationship between crypto and traditional finance.
Alexander Casassovici of Azarus noted the evolving StreamFi space in 2023 and anticipates significant developments within the Bitcoin blockchain for 2024, particularly with the advent of BRC-20 tokens.
Scott Dykstra from Space and Time focused on the rise of Zero-Knowledge compute in 2023, predicting that 2024 will see further advancements in Zero-Knowledge Virtual Machines and Ethereum Virtual Machines, signaling a new phase of growth and efficiency in the crypto industry.
Finally, Yves La Rose of the EOS Network Foundation observed a shift towards a more mature crypto industry in 2023, particularly in Asia. For 2024, he foresees significant market changes driven by evolving regulatory landscapes and favorable market conditions.
Collectively, these insights point to a year of resilience, innovation, and growth in the crypto sector. The anticipated favorable regulatory changes, coupled with technological advancements and increasing institutional adoption, suggest a bullish outlook for 2024.
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