The crypto industry is going forward and onward amidst mixed signals

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The past few months for the crypto industry have been a whirlwind. We started the year strong with the approval of Bitcoin and ETH ETFs, an outlook on another defi summer, and regulatory clarification from Asian markets. Yet, it has not been all roses. We have seen commentators disappointed in the dwindling prospect of the ETH ETF approval in the West and regulatory actions that touch upon the root nature of crypto, as well as analysts cautioning about a short-lived bull market.

If one had asked what the outcome of such setbacks would be dating back to a few years ago, it probably would have been a complete market washout. But it’s different this round. While the crypto industry had immediate market reactions, its overall response to sporadic shocks has been widely steady. What makes this year different from the ones before?

The answer lies in the three constants amidst the mixed signals around the long-term trajectory of the industry: the resilience of the community, fresh injection of the crypto-curious and newly established standards for crypto businesses.

After years of recovery, self-education, and building, the industry and its community are back stronger than ever. It has experienced enough to understand that the survivors of the crash are here for the long-term and with plans to realize the vision of a blockchain-powered economy and society.

To support the optimism from the community, we have seen unique innovations emerge and evolve this year. These include the expansion of modular chains and application layers to supercharge use cases, enhanced interoperability and cross-chain liquidity, and the prospects of continued innovation with Bitcoin layer-2s. Such developments ensure that our industry continues to improve and grow with a tangible trajectory to secure our future. It also sparks enthusiasm among the community, who are eagerly looking to not only back new developments to existing chains but also up-and-coming projects, building our industry with constructive contribution in the long term.

This enthusiasm has turned into vibrant activities in the community. As an exchange, KuCoin alone witnessed spot trading volume with a surge of 121.85% in Q1 2024, and the pre-market trading volume for tokens skyrocketed by 68%, reaching $23.12 million. This showcases that the community is ready to back the industry through another new growth phase that is anchored on unique innovations and technological evolutions, regardless of the project size.

The first digital-native generation, i.e., Gen Z, exploring crypto has added momentum to the industry’s steady growth. We witnessed a fresh sense of optimism when Millennials first started dabbling in crypto with stronger receptiveness to the industry compared to the former generations. Now, as we see Gen Z entering the financial realm, we see the digitally native generation with a higher level of eagerness to gain exposure to decentralized technologies and assets. For example, in the Blockchain Education and Career Survey 2024, where the majority of its responses came from those aged 18-35, found that one in two respondents were interested in the economics of crypto and defi. A similar survey last year in India also revealed that crypto adoption has risen to nearly 50% for Gen Zs, with the same level of adoption observed in many other markets—showcasing that with new generations entering the economic sphere, the more crypto becomes embedded into the mainstream.

In addition, the momentum of new users has quadrupled with the continued entrance of fresh Latin America, Middle East, and Africa-based users. As a viable alternative to the traditional financial system, crypto has been an attractive choice for Latam alone, showing a strong grassroots adoption and activities on centralized exchanges. While the industry has focused on establishing itself in established financial centers for the past decade, now it is moving towards new markets that can tap into blockchain-powered financial services to leapfrog economic infrastructures and systems, unearthing practical use cases.

The path to sustained growth is paved with responsible business practices. Following many challenging occasions for the industry, crypto businesses are focused on enhancing trust and longevity with stronger governance and infrastructure. Depending on the level of exposure to the wider crypto community, participants may take different measures to stay compliant and responsible, but one universal principle holds for all—to continue education and monitoring.

As regulators close the knowledge gaps and assess its role in the current financial system, the industry must also play its part to ensure close coordination with regulators to offer clarity on the ever-evolving crypto landscape and find alignment. This would be a challenging journey, with each jurisdiction coming with its own complexity and perspectives, albeit the toughest one ever. Still, the onus is on industry players to meet regulatory requirements in the respective operational jurisdictions.

As an industry participant, it cannot be overstated that we are here for the long run. We now embark on a new phase of growth and innovation, supported by the power of the community, new users and refined business models, so why do we stop here?

While we have strong driving forces standing behind us, industry players can continue their building, whether it is maintaining stable business performances by adding new features to their infrastructures or finding new pathways for collaboration. The rising tide lifts all boats and when we prioritize industry growth, individual innovators will be in a better position to enjoy the fruits of our collective achievements. Together, we can build a crypto ecosystem that thrives on innovation, trust, and collaboration—a future that benefits everyone involved.

Johnny Lyu

Johnny Lyu

Johnny Lyu is the co-founder and CEO of KuCoin, a leading global cryptocurrency exchange. Founded in 2017, KuCoin has grown into one of the top five crypto exchanges on the market and has already attracted over 30 million registered users from 207 countries. At KuCoin, Johnny leads the company’s daily operations, spot trading, KuCoin Earn, and the expansion and prosperity of the KCS ecosystem. He also led the listing direction, business development, and investment team earlier. He is also the main contributor behind KuCoin Spotlight and Earn. Before joining KuCoin, Johnny had accumulated extensive experience in the e-commerce, automotive, and tech industries.

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