The GetBlock team releases the final chapter of its series of articles about the most significant milestones, personalities, and trends in the crypto sphere. As we enter 2022, let’s browse through the most interesting segments of Web3 we will look at in the coming months.

Cross-chain systems

Cross-chain (or, more accurately, cross-network) systems are designed to offset the gap between heterogeneous distributed networks. Seamless cross-chain systems advance the processes of value transfer and make DeFi protocols way more resource-efficient.

As such, with the maturation of crypto and DeFi, the interest in cross-chain systems will accelerate. As the volume of liquidity in DeFi increases, the participants of this segment will need more effective ways to organize its logistics.

Both developers and investors will be interested in cheap and high-performance cross-network infrastructure: single-blockchain protocols will no longer be enough as a technical basis for DeFi protocols.

Projects and tokens: Polkadot (DOT), Cosmos (ATOM).

ZK-powered protocols

Zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-proofs) represent the most advanced instruments to scale Ethereum (ETH) network without sacrificing its security, anonymity and decentralization. Like first-gen Ethereum L2 scalability solutions, they reduce pressure on Ethereum mainnet.

Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin is a vocal proponent of zk-proofs as the most promising and cost-optimized Ethereum scaling technology. As such, all projects that address zk-proofs and their implementations for DeFi use cases will be in the spotlight.

At the same time, their solutions are still relatively rare. Polygon (MATIC), an EVM-compatible high-performance blockchain, acquired Hermez, a next-gen zk-rollup. Immutable X (IMX), a project that supercharges marketplaces for non-fungible tokens with zk-proofs, made headlines by a record-breaking IDO.

Last but not least, ZKSwap (ZKS), a China-based all-in-one product with DEX, NFT marketplace and payment protocol, attempts to build a 360° ecosystem on zk-proofs.

Projects and tokens: Polygon (MATIC), Immutable X (IMX), ZKSwap (ZKS).

‘Serious’ non-fungible tokens

While non-fungible tokens or NFTs took the crypto segment by storm, most of their use-cases still remain in the sphere of gaming and digital art. Despite being profitable and captivating for enthusiasts, both segments fail to unleash the full potential of non-fungible tokens as authorization and verification tools.

NFTs can serve as digital certificates of authenticity. NFTs can cryptographically secure property rights for real estate, IP, luxurious cars, and so on. The tokens can be widely integrated in insurance, due diligence, supply chain and other ‘real world’ sectors.

In the public sector, NFTs can be used as digital passports, certificates of graduation, vouchers for public services, and so on. Sooner or later, Ethereum (ETH) addresses have all chances to replace IDs and passports as identity verification instruments; the mainstream adoption of NFTs will accelerate hand in hand with their process.

Projects and tokens: TBA in 2022.

Layer-1 protocols outside Ethereum (ETH)

Despite the euphoria around Ethereum (ETH) scalability tools, some bottlenecks of the pioneering smart contracts platform can’t be addressed by L2 instruments. And here other L1s come into the party.

Solana (SOL), Avalanche (AVAX), Terra (LUNA), Fantom (FTM) should be named amidst the most viable and popular mainstream alternatives to Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. Solana and Terra are the two most red-hot options: their prices and TVL rocketed more than 100x in 2021.

In the last days of 2021, Terra blockchain, its native cryptocurrency LUNA and algorithmically-backed stablecoin UST were in the spotlight for investors and analysts. The total volume of assets locked in protocols on Terra exceeded that of Polygon and Tron.

Projects and tokens: Solana (SOL), Avalanche (AVAX), Terra (LUNA), Fantom (FTM).