Cryptocurrencies - Thematic Intelligence

Cryptocurrencies - Thematic Intelligence


Cryptocurrency is a technology theme that sparks intense debates and divides opinions. For proponents, crypto represents an opportunity for significant wealth accumulation through value appreciation or new services like decentralized lending. Some also view it as a way to express discontent with issues ranging from financial bailouts to privacy infringements.Conversely, critics contend that the fundamental question of whether cryptocurrencies have any inherent value remains unanswered and that the volatility of many tokens undermines the proposition of crypto as a distinct asset class separate from traditional financial assets.

Key Highlights

Despite the 2022 crypto winter, both institutional interest and the number of retail users have grown, with governments positioning themselves as crypto hubs. The regulatory narrative has shifted significantly in favor of cryptocurrencies, moving from calls for outright bans to a focus on proper regulation. The EU is leading the way with its Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) bill, which will introduce tougher but more consistent rules for crypto companies across the EU. Additionally, the crypto space continues to experience rapid innovation, from new token types to scalability solutions.

The cryptocurrency market is challenging to track. It is one of the world’s most polarizing technologies, contributing to endless debate. Crypto is also a nascent industry, subject to high volatility and primarily driven by speculation. The industry has, however, come a long way in just a couple of years, and the pace of innovation is extraordinary. Crypto adoption and institutional interest have grown rapidly, and governments are making progress on regulation. Despite this progress, crypto has a long way to go before it achieves mainstream adoption.

  • This report provides an overview of the cryptocurrencies theme.
  • It identifies the key trends impacting growth of the theme over the next 12 to 24 months, split into three categories: technology trends, macroeconomic trends, and regulatory trends.
  • It includes a comprehensive industry analysis, including market size and growth forecasts for cryptocurrency revenues to 2030, and analysis of the key trends in GlobalData's proprietary signals data, including M&A, venture financing, patent, company filing, hiring, and social media.
  • The detailed value chain is divided into four layers: infrastructure, blockchain, application, and services.
Reasons to Buy
  • The crypto market is immature and constantly evolving. The transformative possibilities of cryptocurrencies come with a host of challenges that must be addressed. High volatility, security concerns, and regulatory uncertainty, especially in the US with the enforcement actions taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), are just some of the hurdles that cryptocurrencies face in their journey toward mainstream acceptance. Additionally, issues like the environmental impact of mining and the technology's association with illicit activities pose significant barriers.
  • This report is the perfect introduction to the controversial and fast-moving cryptocurrencies theme. It will help readers make sense of the technology behind cryptocurrencies, understand the potential implications of the theme, avoid the pitfalls, and identify the leading players.

Executive Summary
Technology Briefing
What is cryptocurrency?
What is blockchain?
The centralized versus decentralized world of cryptocurrencies
Types of cryptocurrencies
Technology trends
Macroeconomic trends
Regulatory trends
Industry Analysis
Cryptocurrency market capitalization
Putting the cryptocurrency market capitalization in perspective
The number of cryptocurrencies
The cryptocurrency competitive landscape
The cryptocurrency market closely aligns with bitcoin
Alternative indicators of cryptocurrency adoption
Developer activity drives cryptocurrency innovation
The number of cryptocurrency users globally is increasing
Cryptocurrency adoption in developing countries
Cryptocurrency bankruptcies
Market size and growth forecasts
M&A trends
Failed deals
M&A predictions
Venture financing trends
Alternative fundraising methods
Patent trends
Company filings trends
Hiring trends
Social media trends
Value Chain
Infrastructure layer
Data centers
Blockchain layer
Blockchain protocols
Application layer
Decentralized applications
Payment tokens
Smart contract tokens
Meme coins
Utility tokens
Governance tokens
Services layer
Cryptoasset management
Infrastructure as a service
Sector Scorecard
Payments sector scorecard
Who’s who
Thematic screen
Valuation screen
Risk screen
Further Reading
GlobalData reports
Our Thematic Research Methodology
About GlobalData
Contact Us
List of Tables
Table 1: Technology trends
Table 2: Macroeconomic trends
Table 3: Regulatory trends
Table 4: Key M&A transactions associated with the cryptocurrency theme since January 2021
Table 5: Companies
Table 6: Glossary
Table 7: GlobalData reports
List of Figures
Figure 1: Market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies in circulation
Figure 2: Who are the leading players in the cryptocurrency theme, and where do they sit in the value chain?
Figure 3: Cryptocurrencies provide incentives for users and cut out intermediaries
Figure 4: The majority of cryptocurrencies use public permissionless blockchains
Figure 5: Tokenomics is an important concept to consider when investing in a cryptocurrency
Figure 6: Top cryptocurrency trends
Figure 7: The market value of all cryptocurrencies peaked in 2021, briefly surpassing the $3 trillion mark
Figure 8: The total market value of all cryptocurrencies is less than the market cap of Amazon
Figure 9: There are over 24,000 cryptocurrencies, yet the five largest account for 80% of market value
Figure 10: The list of the leading cryptocurrencies has changed considerably in the last five years
Figure 11: The cryptocurrency market tracks the price of bitcoin
Figure 12: The prices of the four largest cryptocurrencies typically move in unison
Figure 13: Bitcoin’s dominance has remained relatively stable since mid-2021
Figure 14: Monthly active developers increase when prices increase but stay flat when prices fall
Figure 15: There are about 425 million crypto owners worldwide
Figure 16: Emerging markets, particularly in Asia, drive cryptocurrency adoption
Figure 17: Middle-income countries dominate global cryptocurrency adoption
Figure 18: The market crash and liquidity crisis have caused several companies to declare bankruptcy
Figure 19: GlobalData estimates that global cryptocurrency revenues will be worth $1.1 trillion by 2030
Figure 20: Global cryptocurrency revenue will reach $1.1 trillion by 2030, up from $33 billion in 2022
Figure 21: The evolution of cryptocurrencies can be divided into several distinct phases
Figure 22: The cryptocurrency story
Figure 23: The number of cryptocurrency-related M&A deals increased in 2022 despite the crash in prices
Figure 24: Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges lead the way in cryptocurrency-related M&A activity
Figure 25: Players from the US drive M&A activity
Figure 26: The crypto winter caused havoc for the M&A landscape
Figure 27: Market consolidation in the crypto space will intensify over the next few years
Figure 28: In 2022, crypto funding fell 31%, but deal volume increased by 36%
Figure 29: Mega-funding rounds are down in 2022 as investors become more cautious
Figure 30: Venture financing is driven by the US
Figure 31: Most of the volume is in early-stage deals, while most of the value is in later-stage deals
Figure 32: Cryptocurrency is attracting a lot of attention from major venture financing firms
Figure 33: The number of patent applications has declined since its peak in 2020
Figure 34: The US accounts for most crypto patent grants
Figure 35: nChain, a Swiss blockchain research company, leads patent activity by a wide margin
Figure 36: The number of crypto companies going public has boosted crypto-related filing mentions
Figure 37: Most cryptocurrency mentions in company filings are related to trading or mining activities
Figure 38: Half of the top 10 companies with the most crypto mentions are bitcoin mining companies
Figure 39: The number of active cryptocurrency job postings remains high despite layoffs and the crash of 2022
Figure 40: Centralized exchanges are driving cryptocurrency-related hiring
Figure 41: Large drops in market prices, bankruptcies, and scandals in 2022 led to a drop in market sentiment
Figure 42: There has been a lot to talk about in the crypto space over the past two years
Figure 43: Most social media mentions related to cryptocurrency focus on its potential as an investment
Figure 44: Cryptocurrency attracts attention globally
Figure 45: The blockchain and cryptocurrency value chains overlap
Figure 46: The cryptocurrency value chain - Infrastructure layer
Figure 47: Bitcoin is only mined using ASIC chips
Figure 48: Infrastructure layer – semiconductors
Figure 49: A mining rig is needed to mine bitcoin
Figure 50: Infrastructure layer – nodes
Figure 51: Infrastructure layer – data centers
Figure 52: The cryptocurrency value chain - Blockchain layer
Figure 53: The cryptocurrency value chain - Application layer
Figure 54: A bitcoin halving is an important event as it reduces the number of new bitcoins being created
Figure 55: Historically a bitcoin halving event is followed by an increase in price
Figure 56: Application layer – cryptocurrencies - Payment tokens: market leaders and challengers
Figure 57: Smart contract tokens are crucial to creating dApps
Figure 58: Ethereum is the standout smart contract platform
Figure 59: Application layer – cryptocurrencies - Smart contract tokens: market leaders and challengers
Figure 60: Fiat-backed stablecoins are the most common type of stablecoins
Figure 61: Three stablecoins account for 92% of the stablecoin market
Figure 62: Centralized exchanges show a preference for certain stablecoins
Figure 63: Application layer – cryptocurrencies - Stablecoins: market leaders and challengers
Figure 64: Meme coins are made for fun
Figure 65: Application layer – cryptocurrencies - Meme coins: market leaders and challengers
Figure 66: Application layer – cryptocurrencies - Centralized exchange tokens: market leaders and challengers
Figure 67: The broad range of utility tokens reflects the extensive selection of dApps
Figure 68: Application layer – cryptocurrencies - Other utility tokens: market leaders and challengers
Figure 69: Application layer – cryptocurrencies - Governance tokens: market leaders and challengers
Figure 70: The cryptocurrency value chain - Services layer
Figure 71: Most crypto trading occurs on centralized derivatives exchanges
Figure 72: There are numerous centralized crypto exchanges
Figure 73: Binance is the dominant spot and derivatives exchange
Figure 74: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Centralized exchanges: market leaders and challengers
Figure 75: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Cryptocurrency quasi-banks: market leaders and challengers
Figure 76: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Fintech brokerages: market leaders and challengers
Figure 77: Wallets are essential for mainstream adoption
Figure 78: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Cryptocurrency wallets: market leaders and challengers
Figure 79: There are 47 manufacturers and 535 operators of crypto ATMs
Figure 80: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Cryptocurrency ATMs: market leaders and challengers
Figure 81: Institutional involvement in cryptocurrencies is increasing
Figure 82: Institutional digital asset service providers offer a wide range of services
Figure 83: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Institutional digital asset services: market leaders and challengers
Figure 84: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Cryptocurrency payment gateways: market leaders and challengers
Figure 85: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Cryptocurrency exchange software: market leaders and challengers
Figure 86: Crypto data providers offer a wide range of services
Figure 87: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Cryptocurrency data providers: market leaders and challengers
Figure 88: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Cryptocurrency compliance: market leaders and challengers
Figure 89: CoinDesk and CoinTelegraph are the two most popular crypto news sites
Figure 90: Services layer – Cryptoasset management -- Cryptocurrency news: market leaders and challengers
Figure 91: Services layer – Cryptoasset management - Central bank digital currencies: market leaders and challengers
Figure 92: Five mining pools account for most blocks mined
Figure 93: Services layer – Infrastructure as a service - Mining as a service: market leaders and challengers
Figure 94: Services layer – Infrastructure as a service - Staking as a service: market leaders and challengers
Figure 95: The top 25 cryptocurrencies had a combined market value of $1,030 billion in May 2023
Figure 96: Who does what in the payments space?
Figure 97: Thematic screen
Figure 98: Valuation screen
Figure 99: Risk screen
Figure 100: Our five-step approach for generating a sector scorecard

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