From NFTs to the metaverse, 2021 saw crypto breaking into mainstream consciousness. But as we move past the inflection point, Ripple’s Managing Director for APAC & MENA, Brooks Entwistle, predicts a more focused approach to crypto in 2022 with a renewed focus on real-world applications and their tangible business outcomes.
Over the past year, the emergence of multi-CBDC projects and linkages between national real-time payment systems in the region (such as Singapore’s PayNow with Thailand’s PromptPay) has put the spotlight on ways to address inefficiencies in cross-border payments. Amid growing demand for instant settlements and immediate access to capital, the uptake of RippleNet’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service in Asia Pacific & MENA is expected to continue accelerating in the coming year. “Remittances will continue to be a key use case, but given the fragmented nature of this landscape, we should expect other applications to come to the fore as well such as trade flow or treasury management,” said Entwistle.
Meanwhile, although there has been great progress in terms of new regulatory frameworks for digital assets, Asia Pacific will remain particularly uneven in the immediate future. “The region is so diverse. Intertwining social, economic, digital, and political challenges in each jurisdiction creates unique complexities which means some markets are going to race ahead while others struggle to come up the curve,” added Entwistle. However, as more traditional financial institutions join the crypto conversation, this will likely encourage regulators and policymakers to think long-term and lay down some clear rules of the road to allow innovation within crypto to manifest maturely.
Entwistle finally highlighted the need for talent to join the industry, citing that as more start-ups emerge and FIs enter the crypto fray, the talent gap will only grow wider and deeper in 2022. “At some point, we will see consolidation, and the crypto giants plant their stake in the ground, but not necessarily within the next year. So we’re going to be jostling for talent from a small pool of builders and innovators unless the industry as a whole does more to attract, retain and nurture a new generation of people with the grit to take crypto to the next level.”