2023 is here, and people are already forecasting about markets, curves, trends, assets and so on… Experts and analysts produce solid content (eg: look at the crypto theses for 2023 produced by Messari or the reports from Splunk), and it’s time to take a look back to remember the hot moments of 2022. Ups and done marked this year. Of course, the sums lost to hacks and frauds was even higher than in 2021: there have been numerous attacks exceeding USD 100 million (eg: Wormhole’s $325 million, or Nomad Bridge for $190 million, or the Beanstalk lending protocol (BEAN) that lost $180 million). Some people even listed all the hacks using the Foundry toolkit for Ethereum. In fact, in October, Chainalysis described 2022 as the most important year in terms of hacks, when during the same month, no less than 11 hacks led to more than 710 million US dollars in losses.
Total damage due to hacks in 2022: more than 3 billion dollars… Dramatic frauds such as the now infamous FTX scandal shook the industry. Despite having used undisclosed funds while claiming bankruptcy, Sam Bankman-Fried didn’t spend Christmas in jail after being extraded from the Bahamas earlier this month. Still, the man is facing two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy stacked against him.
Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, two of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle pleaded guilty to criminal charges and are actively cooperating with prosecutors in their ongoing investigation of FTX’s collapse. It is very likely that this investigation and the ensuing legal consequences that will follow will go on through a good portion of 2023. “Yet, the sector is thriving in terms of adoption”. Add a bearish market on top of that, and you have a cocktail that could plant the seed of doubt in the mind of the most hardened investor or entrepreneur.
Still, the blockchain sector is gaining traction in a very positive way: heck! the year even ended with Bloomberg.com titling a newsletter: “Crypto Starts to Look Like Just Another Financial Instrument” on December 27. For starters, despite its heavy regulations, China is launching its “China Digital Asset Trading Platform,” to trade digital copyrights and property rights along with collectibles. The platform’s underlying blockchain is called “China Cultural Protection Chain”. Since China’s regulations don’t allow standard NFTs per se (you don’t buy them with crypto tokens), but digital collectibles that are subject to the same property rights as items sold on e-commerce (ie: NFTs purchasable with Chinese Yuan – more info here)
Cryptocurrencies, despite being stuck in periodic market crashes and financial turmoils, are getting more approval among small states seeing undeniable advantages in their use. 2022 ended with a nice news: New Fiji prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka who was appointed on December 24 this year has had extensive discussions with former parliament member Lord Fusitu’a, with the intent of making Fiji one of the next countries to use Bitcoin as a legal tender in 2023 (more info about this bold announcement on Twitter). At the same time, Crypto.com added payment by Google and Apple Pay to their functionalities, while Metamask did the same with Apple. Binance added this functionality in 2022, which makes the blockchain ecosystem ultimately more resilient (and perhaps more subject to centralization, alas).
2022 was also the theater of many events that were emblematic cases for decentralized systems: be it controverted elections, or even social networks deplatforming people for any reason linked to any stance in the political spectrum.
Projects of decentralized social media grew up in 2022, including DeSo (short for Decentralized Social Blockchain). The project’s main argument is to offer an incredibly low cost for a tweet (less than a penny). This layer 1 blockchain is built to power social media applications, with a business model including of course NFTs and micro-tips, but also custom creator-coins.
Twitter former CEO Jack Dorsey even advocated this in an interview: Bitcoin, while being an old, is still the number 1 asset for wannabe investors, and elegant in its “crude” simplicity that makes it so hard to hack. In fact, Bitcoin is like this old car with no electronics that can be repaired indefinitely: it may not be the first choice for complex trips, but you will always see that model on the roads in a few decades.
Still, the lack of smart contracts on this platform was slightly problematic, and this issue has been tackled by the Stacks project (more info on their whitepaper). Pegged at 1:1 with bitcoin, the sBTC token (for “stack bitcoin”) can be used to make bitcoin fully programmable and is convertible back to BTC. The current Stacks protocol uses a “proof of transfer” consensus mechanism where anyone can be a miner (“stacker” who earns STX rewards if a STX is locked up for a certain length) to work around Bitcoin’s simple scripting language. More info for developers here.
It is noteworthy that Bitcoin sidechains are not new (we already had the Liquid sidechain federation in 2014, published by Blockstream – more info on their whitepaper). On our side, we’re pursuing our mission: making the blockchain sector more mainstream by offering simple to use products.
But with this intent comes the will to inform the public of great projects, food for thought for business people, and inspiration from new business ideas.
Which is why, among other things, we published a podcast: find our last episode below.
Worse, they require you to educate your customers: obtaining a payment or a signature in this context is always less likely (adding more steps diminishes your chances of seeing your customer complete the payment).
Which is why we signed a partnership with Salesforce, and are now developing custom solutions to enable an easy access to Web3 for businesses (big and small alike): smooth user experience and easy access is the key here, and we are launching our first product Q2 2023. A few of them are in development and we want more people to be able to use Web3 if they find it worth of their use, even if they don’t exactly know its specific aspects. New smart-contract languages are still developed even though there are great products on the market. Take Ethereum-based Cairo this year, for example: on December 26, it became the third-largest smart contract language by total value locked (TVL) at $418.23 million (more than Solana’s Rust that had a TVL of $396.22 million the same day, or Cardano’s Haskell, whose TVL was $53.27 million).
Top products are still Ethereum’s Solidity and Vyper (TVLs respectively reaching a whopping $50.4 billion and a still impressive $3.98 billion). Thoughts and prayers for Solana, that lost 90% of its developers and saw Solana Rust’s TVL fall down from $12 billion.
Bottom line: there is a market for more programming languages on the blockchain. This year has been less furnished than we hoped regarding our Glow programming language.
Still, we kept developing it via a partnership with the Filecoin foundation and released an update (announced by Filecoin as well).
We’re hoping to complete Glow from an alpha version to an MVP with Smart Contracts usable by DApp developers in their projects. And of course, we want to release a comprehensive MOOC for everyone to learn the language. Mutual Knowledge Systems has proudly signed a partnership with the Laconic network: Laconic is THE tool for DApp-developers who need to query a blockchain (Ethereum, or others) to know the state of one or multiple smart contracts in real time.
This query will offer blockchain industry actors an equivalent to the Bloomberg Terminal to cheaply access a tremendous amount of data to provide services to DApp developers and users.
Mutual Knowledge now is providing its technological expertise and the experience our team has gained by working cohesively over the past two years to develop this network, along with other prestigious and competent teams.
More info about the Laconic Network here. One or a few members of our team will attend the following in 2023:
- ICIOTBB in Zurich, Switzerland – Jan 14 and 15
- The Blockchain Event in Fort Lauderdale, USA – Feb 14 to Feb 17
- Blockchain Fest in Singapore – Feb 16 and 17
- Block Moutnain in Chiang Mai, Thailand – Feb 24 and 25
- Expoverse in Miami, USA – March 2 to March 4
- South African Blockchain Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa – March 16 and 17
- Paris Blockchain Week in Paris, France (duh…) – March 22 and 23
- ETHCC in Paris, France – TBA
- Mining Disrupt in Miami, USA – July 25 to July 27
- Decentralized in Athens, Greece – Nov 1, 2 and 3
If you’re a small business owner willing to set foot in the blockchain world, or if you are willing to embrace web3 in a bigger company, 2023 is your year!
If you are a blockchain enthusiast learning about this fascinating technology, 2023 is a great year to start, as there are many people vulgarizing the sector’s concept and explaining everything.
If you are an investor, projects are blossoming everywhere: what a time to be alive!
If you are a regulator… hey, the tech is here to stay, but a world a place where distributed technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies is not guaranteed for now: empowering sovereign individuals and communities around the world with this tech is something you can advocate!
In any case, whoever you are, the whole team of Mutual Knowledge Systems wishes you a Happy New Year 2023!