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Crypto in 2024: Mid-Year Reflections

Four takeaways from the first six months of 2024.
Arjun Chand Arjun Chand Jun 26, 20245 min read
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Crypto in 2024: Mid-Year Reflections

Crypto moves fast – like blink-and-you-missed-it fast.

The first half of this year has been no different, with new chains and applications emerging daily and the crypto industry gaining mainstream acceptance in the financial world.

Amid the Twitter echo chambers and the frenzy of bull market price action, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. So, let's zoom out and focus on the signal amid the noise.

TL;DR Crypto is just getting started; don't get shaken out.

Today, we’ll take a step back to reflect on the key developments of H1 2024, exploring the significant events and trends that highlight the progress we've made this year. 👇


1️⃣ Crypto is now mainstream

Remember the days when crypto was a niche plaything for cypherpunks? Those days are well over.

In the first half of 2024, crypto broke through to the mainstream with a vengeance.

The turning point was the long-awaited approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs in January. Suddenly, Wall Street had a comfortable on-ramp to crypto, and they took it in a big way. Eleven ETFs launched in one day, and volumes broke records

And it didn’t stop at Bitcoin. The SEC finally greenlit eight spot ETH ETFs in May, further validating the entire crypto ecosystem, opening the door for even broader institutional adoption.

It’s not just the ETFs. Fortune 500 companies are jumping in, too. A record number are launching crypto projects, from consumer payments to tokenized treasuries to who-knows-what.

The bottom line? Crypto is no longer on the fringes. It's being embraced by the biggest names in finance, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. The future of finance is crypto, and everyone knows it.

Source: The State of Crypto: The Fortune 500 Moving Onchain

2️⃣ Crypto Adoption Accelerating

Crypto adoption is accelerating at a remarkable pace. The number of active users across blockchains is up big time, hitting an all-time high of 42.92 million active addresses in April.

Source: State of Crypto Index

This isn't just a fleeting trend; it's a sign that there’s something meaningful for users to do onchain. One factor is likely the proliferation of different types of applications and services within the crypto ecosystem, from social-fi apps like Farcaster, Friend.tech, and Fantasytop, to new chains and innovative DeFi primitives like restaking. 

Another factor is the resurgence of DeFi. DeFi activity and mindshare are on the rise again, signaling a renewed interest and activity onchain, one that's moving beyond simple speculation to perhaps some real-world utility, like in the form of stablecoins for payments and asset tokenization for RWAs such as government securities.

The momentum is clear: more people are coming onchain, and they're finding more reasons to stay.

3️⃣ Ethereum Still Dominant, But Solana Rising

Ethereum remains the dominant force in crypto. Over 60% of the total value locked in DeFi sits on Ethereum, a testament to the lindy ecosystem, which acts as a foundation for countless applications and chains.

This dominance is not just a matter of capital but also technological progress on the roadmap. Ethereum is scaling through L2s like Base who have seen robust adoption this year, and thanks to the most recent Dencun upgrade, offer users significantly lowered gas fees.

However, crypto is more than just Ethereum and its ecosystem now. Today we have ecosystems like Solana that are making impressive strides of their own.

Forget the hype for a second, and let's focus on the numbers. Daily active users on Solana are 2-3x what they were this time last year, putting them near the peak of the 2021 frenzy. This user growth isn't just a vanity metric; it's translating into real usage – Solana's DEX volumes have even surpassed Ethereum's on multiple occasions this cycle, as it has become the home for memecoin trading.

Moreover, Solana’s innovation engine is running hot. Tech advancements like zk-compression and user-friendly features like Blinks are setting the stage for broader adoption, and we can see that Solana’s network effects are taking root in real time.

Make no mistake: Ethereum isn't going anywhere. Its established network effects and vast developer community ensure its continued importance in crypto. But Solana's impressive strides can't be ignored. Both ecosystems are thriving, each in its unique way. This parallel adoption is a win for crypto users, as it accelerates innovations and drives the entire industry forward.

4️⃣ More Chop Ahead, Then Up-Only

Bitcoin broke its all-time high in March, briefly breaching the $70,000 mark. While that party seemed to end pretty abruptly, let's not get carried away. This bull market is far from over.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been a bit euphoric lately, haven’t we? Stocks at all-time highs, memecoins mooning, and every celebrity dropping their own token. A reality check was probably overdue, hence June's chop. But here's the key takeaway: the market sentiment may have pulled back sharply, but the long-term crypto outlook remains positive.

5 Reasons to Stay Bullish on Crypto on Bankless
Market sentiment may be turning, but don’t ignore the bullish signals.

The long-awaited ETH ETFs are nearly here, interest rate cuts are likely on the way, and crypto will likely continue to earn a place on the national stage during the U.S. elections with potential positive policy shifts in play.

This pullback might feel like the end, but in crypto, it's often a buying opportunity. So, unless you're facing margin calls, maybe hold on and enjoy the ride.


Closing Thoughts

So, has the first half of 2024 been all smooth sailing for crypto? Not quite.

We saw our fair share of noise — regulatory FUD, narrative bubbles, memecoin mania, celeb coins, choppy price action, and airdrops that didn't quite hit the mark.

But hey, that's crypto. Zoom out, and things look a lot brighter. Crypto adoption is accelerating, institutional interest is at an all-time high, and the regulatory scene is improving. All these signs point to continued growth for the industry as the fundamentals are strong, and the catalysts for the future are already in motion. 

The bull market must go on.

Arjun Chand

Written by Arjun Chand

17 Articles View all      

Cross-chain tech critic at LI.FI. Mostly focused on memes, passively interested in current happenings in the multi chain reality. Former XRP bag holder.

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