During the global economic disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the blockchain distributed ledger market has continued to thrive. By the end of 2022, the market has grown to $14.47 billion, representing a compound annual growth rate of 63.5%. Despite the challenges many industries face, the blockchain technology market is poised for continued growth, with a projected value of $102.61 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 63.2%.
In this article, we will explore the factors driving the blockchain market’s growth in 2023 and beyond, focusing on the hybrid and consortium blockchain providers earning significant revenues in this expanding market.
Understanding blockchain technology and its use case
Blockchain technology is a distributed digital ledger allowing secure, transparent, immutable record-keeping. It operates on a decentralized network, meaning no central authority controls the system, and all participants can view, validate, and add new transactions to the ledger. This makes it highly resistant to tampering, hacking, and other forms of manipulation, as each block in the network chain is linked to the previous one, creating a permanent and unalterable record.
While blockchain technology is commonly associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, its potential uses extend far beyond digital currencies. Blockchain technology can be utilized in various industries, including healthcare, finance, supply chain management, and voting systems.
In healthcare, for instance, blockchain can be used to securely and transparently manage patient data, allowing doctors and other healthcare providers to access and update medical records in real-time, which can improve patient outcomes and reduce medical errors.
Similarly, in the financial services sector, blockchain can streamline cross-border payments and improve the efficiency of the global financial system. In supply chain management, blockchain can be used to track goods from production to delivery, providing a transparent and tamper-proof record of every step in the process. So, the use cases of this technology are wide and far-stretched, which is continuously driving its demand across different industries.
Major blockchain events of 2022
The year 2022 saw significant changes in the blockchain industry, with venture funding and deals reaching unprecedented levels. A total of $26.8 billion was raised worldwide, highlighting the growing interest and investment in the space.
However, the FTX failure and bankruptcy in the fourth quarter of 2022 led to a considerable drop in blockchain tech funding, with only $3.2 billion raised during this period. This represented a 64% decline in funding compared to the same quarter in the previous year. The FTX bankruptcy in November 2022 triggered a crash in crypto asset prices, eroding consumer trust and leaving a complex web of affected counterparties that may take years to resolve.
The average size of blockchain tech deals also fell in 2022, dropping from $21.2 million in 2021 to $16.2 million. This decrease was driven by a sharp decline in more than $100 million mega-rounds throughout the year, as investors gained more control over deal sizes and less capital chased fewer deals.
The number of blockchain unicorns, which are privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion, stalled at 79 by the end of 2022. Only two new unicorns entered the market in the last quarter of the year: Uniswap Labs, the leading decentralized exchange, and Celestia, a Layer-1 blockchain network.
The United States continued to dominate the blockchain tech funding landscape, with over half of the global funding in 2022 going to U.S. based companies. These companies raised $15.3 billion, while Asia-based blockchain firms raised a record $4.7 billion in 2022, up from $3.2 billion in 2021.
A shift in funding allocation was observed as well, with $15.1 billion going to Web3 startups. This change saw dollars moving away from centralized exchanges, including wallets, from $6.9 billion in 2021 to just $3.6 billion in 2022. Instead, investments were concentrated in differentiated verticals like Web3 and blockchain infrastructure.
Lastly, blockchain tech infrastructure and development experienced a record year for funding, signaling investor confidence in the technology’s future, regardless of crypto asset price volatility. However, venture capitalists pulled back on making deals in the second half of the year as institutional demand for cryptocurrencies waned. Overall, 2022 was a mixed year for the blockchain industry, marked by highs and lows, but demonstrating the resilience and potential of this rapidly evolving sector.
Factors driving the blockchain market in 2023
Increasing visibility of blockchain and its benefits in the BFSI sector
One of the key reasons behind blockchain’s growth in 2023 is its increased usability in the banking, financial services, and insurance sector. The financial services sector is continuing to realize the significant benefits of implementing this technology, such as enhanced accuracy and secure information sharing through the creation of tamper-proof ledgers. This technology promotes the development of open networks that enable real-time access to public records of transactions. Furthermore, blockchain systems provide an immutable record of each transaction and asset ownership, which leads to a reduction in risk and mitigation actions required for different asset classes. By storing client data on decentralized blocks, blockchain technology can facilitate secure and efficient information sharing among financial institutions. These factors are expected to drive market growth in the financial services sector throughout 2023 and beyond.
Blockchain adoption is already evident across some of the biggest banking institutes across the globe. In April 2023, one of the biggest financial service providers in the UK, Lloyds Bank partnered with blockchain solution provider Enigio.
The long-term partnership is aimed at expanding the use of blockchain technology for digital documentation in trade finance. Similarly, American banking giant SouthState Bank is already planning to launch blockchain payments this year. J.P. Morgan, one of the largest financial services providers in the world, has also integrated blockchain in its operations to enhance efficiency, security, and transparency.
The financial giant developed Quorum in 2021, an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum, to enable secure and efficient processing of private transactions. These are just some examples of how blockchain is trailblazing the BFSI industry, which will continue to grow strongly beyond 2023.
Growing acceptance of cryptocurrency as payments
In 2023, the demand for blockchain-enabled devices, such as Point-of-Sale (PoS) systems in the retail sector, is continuing to surge, driven by the expansion of cryptocurrency exchanges. A growing number of enterprises are offering digital currency cards that bear a strong resemblance to traditional debit and credit cards. By integrating these cards with cryptocurrency wallet applications, users can efficiently manage the funds or tokens associated with their cards.
Several major retailers are already accepting cryptocurrency payments, demonstrating the growing adoption of digital currencies. Some of these prominent retailers include Microsoft, AT&T, Burger King, KFC, Overstock, Twitch, Norwegian Air, Namecheap, CheapAir, Gyft, NewEgg, Amazon (indirectly via Purse.io), ExpressVPN, and AMC. Also, the acceptance of cryptocurrency as payment is not limited to a specific token like Bitcoin.
Rather, these retailers are embracing a wide range of tokens such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, and Tether, enabling customers to purchase products, services, or tickets using their preferred digital currency. These developments are predicted to contribute significantly to market growth in 2023 and the coming years, further solidifying the role of blockchain technology in the financial landscape.
Tokenization of real-world assets
Just a few years ago, one couldn’t imagine a world where real-world assets like real estate, art, or even businesses could be bought and sold using the same technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether. This is happening right now in 2023, with the rise of blockchain-based securities tokens, NFTs, and other tokenized assets.
The development and introduction of these imaginative products are going quickly, taking advantage of the increasing popularity in the crypto and blockchain industry. Take NFTs for an example. Non-fungible tokens aren’t considered securities, and there are already millions of them out there, with more coming online every day. So, the continuous adoption of tokenized assets is increasing blockchain adoption across almost every industry.
With the help of blockchain, practically any asset you can think of can be tokenized and sold, then resold, on SEC-authorized markets or even off-shore platforms. According to a survey by BNY Mellon, a massive 91% of institutional investors are interested in owning tokenized products. It’s clear that we’re witnessing rapid growth in this sector, and it’s only going to get more exciting from here.
Key blockchain trends to look out for in 2023 and beyond
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
Contrary to some opinions, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are far from obsolete. In the past two years, they have emerged as one of the most significant developments in the blockchain industry. NFTs are unique digital assets stored on a blockchain, providing security and easy transferability. They have found applications in digital art, music, and sports collectibles, with some NFTs fetching millions of dollars. While the initial phase of speculative hype may have subsided, a new phase of utility-based use cases is expected to take over. It is crucial to monitor this space, as emerging solutions have the potential to transform industries.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) has experienced remarkable growth in recent years. DeFi encompasses financial applications built on blockchain technology that enable trustless and decentralized transactions. These applications vary from decentralized exchanges to lending platforms and are developed using open-source code anyone can audit and use.
Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)
Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) have garnered significant interest in the blockchain sector. CBDCs are digital renditions of traditional fiat currencies issued and backed by central banks. They offer advantages such as faster, more secure transactions, reduced costs, and increased transparency.
The shift towards Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) is gaining momentum, driven by the innovative efforts of central banks worldwide. Approximately 100 countries are currently investigating CBDCs at various stages, ranging from research to testing and even distribution to the public.
In the Bahamas, the local CBDC, known as the Sand Dollar, has been in circulation for over a year, demonstrating successful implementation. Sweden’s central bank, Riksbank, has developed a proof of concept for a CBDC and is currently examining the technological and policy implications associated with its potential adoption.
In China, the digital renminbi, also referred to as e-CNY, continues to make progress, with over a hundred million individual users and billions of yuan in transactions to date. The Federal Reserve recently published a report highlighting that introducing a CBDC could alter the structure of the U.S. financial system. This acknowledgment signals the growing significance of CBDCs in the global financial landscape.
Interoperability has emerged as a key focus in the blockchain industry. It refers to the seamless communication between different blockchain networks. The development of interoperability protocols facilitates the exchange of information and value across various blockchains, potentially driving widespread adoption and usage of blockchain technology.
Layer 2 Scaling Solutions
Layer 2 scaling solutions have gained prominence in the blockchain sector. These solutions enable faster, more cost-effective transactions by processing some transactions off-chain. Technologies like state channels and side chains fall under this category and have the potential to enhance blockchain network scalability significantly.
Proof-of-Stake (PoS) Consensus Mechanisms
Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms have gained traction as an alternative to energy-intensive proof-of-work consensus mechanisms, prompting existing blockchains like Ethereum to adapt. PoS enables more efficient and eco-friendly transaction validation by selecting validators based on their coin holdings rather than computational power.
Environmental sustainability has become a pressing concern in the blockchain industry. Regrettably, the original Bitcoin blockchain is a significant contributor to environmental issues. However, the rise of PoS consensus mechanisms and the development of energy-efficient mining hardware have prompted efforts to minimize the environmental impact of blockchain technology. Furthermore, there is a growing emphasis on carbon offsetting programs and other initiatives to make blockchain technology more environmentally sustainable.
To sum it up, the blockchain industry is rapidly developing, with many key trends emerging. As NFTs transition from speculative hype to utility-based use cases, DeFi continues to expand its reach in the financial sector. CBDCs offer many advantages over traditional fiat currencies, while interoperability and Layer 2 scaling solutions address the challenges of communication and scalability, respectively. The shift towards Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanisms and a focus on environmental sustainability further show the industry’s commitment to innovation and responsible development. Keeping a close eye on these trends is essential for understanding the direction of the blockchain industry and capitalizing on potential opportunities.