By Pedro Fernandes
While cryptocurrencies have exploded in their variety, with over 26,000 cryptocurrency projects in existence according to Forbes, there is no doubt that this incredible technology is yet to realise its full potential.
Companies are positioning cryptocurrency as part of a main service offering. Payment processors and Fintech companies have been building infrastructure around cryptocurrency payments for some time and incorporating it into their wider portfolio of products and services. Even back in 2014, PayPal allowed online vendors to accept payments made in Bitcoin and today Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange, offers a Bitcoin VISA debit card for use internationally anywhere VISA is accepted.
Lack of trust
The recent history of cryptocurrency has been somewhat of a roller-coaster as we know, with many comparing the domain to the Wild West, particularly in light of high-profile legal cases such as FTX, which have dented the already fragile trust in cryptocurrencies.
However, as AI continues to evolve, I get the strong sense from speaking with a great many leaders in the sector, that there is the potential for a genuine breakthrough in the near term, with intelligent threat and fraud detection being able to protect against even the most sophisticated fraudster or determined hacker. Companies such as Chainalysis, Arkham, Blocktrace and Nansen amongst a host of others are striving to provide a safe and secure environment in which crypto can thrive. The inflection point for this market might not be that far off.
Whilst the hype around blockchain has been rather superseded by AI in the past year or two, the notion that blockchain will also transform the way we do business in all sectors cannot be overstated.
One of the use cases that has particularly caught my eye is the advancement of token-based economies, and the growing interest in the utilisation of existing blockchain and decentralised finance (DeFi) technologies to improve the visibility of trading of real-world assets (RWA). The view is that trading on the blockchain can deliver increased liquidity and transfer of ownership. This in turn can improve transparency, by lowering the risk of fraud and thereby increasing trust as well as adoption.
RWA tokenisation is expected to become a $16 trillion business opportunity by 2030. The rewards for success in this sector are vast – both for the businesses transforming these traditional markets and for those that provide the technologies that enable and protect them.
The war for talent
The growth of new technology markets as well as the successful transformation of existing companies and markets using these new innovative technologies require the right leadership talent.
Demand for these specialist technology and transformation skills is set to grow, but the pool of qualified leaders is still relatively small and is likely to remain so for some time. This means that companies and their agents will need to think creatively about how they approach hiring these critically important leaders. They must carefully research and explore adjacent markets and not shy away from the cost and complexity of running global searches. It feels to me that this market is on the verge of significant growth and the cost of not hiring well and hiring quickly in these key positions is likely to be substantial.