Crypto’s Long-Tail Disruptive Trends

The first half of 2024 has started a new cycle for the crypto’s adoption. The long awaited approval of Bitcoin ETFs was a decisive factor for this new cycle, along with strong price momentum that led to bitcoin reaching a new all-time high. This not only pushed bitcoin to the doorstep of institutional adoption again, but it also positioned the market for another potential bull market cycle.

These cycles have been marked not only by the introduction of new projects, from Bittensor and ZKSync, to Bonk and Dogwifhat, but also by strong price appreciation of many digital assets. With a higher beta compared to bitcoin, assets of varying sizes and sectors often experience greater volatility, reflecting investors’ expectations of higher returns.

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Several trends are shaping the altcoin market in 2024 that signify a focus on innovation, sustainability, and exploration of new use cases, driving growth among altcoins.

Re-staking has emerged as a notable vertical for this new cycle, which involves continuously staking the rewards earned from staking tokens, compounding the returns over time. Projects like EigenLayer (EIGEN), EtherFi (ETHFI), and Renzo (REZ) have implemented mechanisms that encourage users to restake their staking rewards, thereby increasing their stake in the network and contributing to its security and stability.

Altcoins are increasingly adopting Layer2 scaling solutions such as Optimistic Rollups, zkRollups and side-chains to improve transaction speeds and reduce fees. Projects in this category include Arbitrum (ARB), Optimism (OP), Polygon (MATIC), Starknet (STRK), among many others. This trend aims to enhance user experience and attract more users to these projects’ platforms.

Interoperability between blockchain networks is also a growing trend. Some projects are collaborating and building bridges to enable asset transfers and communication across disparate blockchains. This trend aims to create a more interconnected and efficient blockchain ecosystem instead of many different siloed blockchains. Examples of such projects include Axelar (AXL), Across (ACX) and Stargate (STG).

With the rise of Layer 2 solutions and interoperability, modular blockchains represent the next phase of digital assets’ evolution. With their adaptable and customizable design, these offer a flexible framework where developers can plug-and-play modules like consensus mechanisms, token standards and governance models. Blockchains such as Celestia (TIA) and Dymension (DYM) are using this modularity to enhance scalability, interoperability and security.

Parallelized Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVMs) break down smart contract execution into parallel tasks, harnessing the power of multiple nodes simultaneously. The most popular parallelized EVMs, such as Sei (SEI), Canto (CANTO), Nomad, and NeonEVM (NEON), are attempting to do this by processing transactions off-chain, then aggregating them back onto the Ethereum mainnet. This approach drastically improves transaction throughput and reduces latency, addressing Ethereum’s historic limitations.

Current crypto market prices seem to indicate that a bull market is underway, mega caps may still have room to grow before smaller coins outperform the rest of the market. However, this phase may not be far off and, once it begins, being under-positioned could be difficult and potentially costly, especially as institutional adoption grows and the need to generate alpha increases.

Note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CoinDesk, Inc. or its owners and affiliates.

Edited by Benjamin Schiller.

 

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