There’s a LOT going on in crypto right now. Maybe we need to hire an AI journo to cover it all – at least it won’t eat all the biscuits. Until that happens, we’ll keep rounding up occasional expert takes for state-of-play articles such as this one.

While banks crumble and uncertainty swirls through financial markets, Bitcoin and crypto assets more broadly have somehow managed to keep ticking up so far this year – in a kind of one-and-a-half steps back, two-steps forward fashion.

Why? Well, it’s a decent question, and we put it, along with a few others, to a diverse group of global crypto founders and CEOs.

We think that what they came back with formed a pretty good overview regarding the crypto industry (particularly in America) right now, and what could lie ahead…


‘This is Bitcoin’s time to shine’

Why have Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptos been on the rise just lately amid the banking storm in the US and elsewhere? 

Sunny Aggarwal, Co-Founder of Osmosis Labs (creator of the leading Cosmos DeFi exchange):

“As we know, Bitcoin was initially created in response to the fragility of banking systems and the mess that banks created, causing the 2008 financial crisis. We know this because the original Bitcoin genesis block included the note, “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.

“For the last decade or so, the financial system had been running smoothly, after the government bailed everyone out in 2008.

“But now that things are looking shaky again — this is Bitcoin’s time to shine. This is what it was built for. We need a more transparent financial system, and that’s exactly what cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology can help to enable.

“For instance, you may have been banking with SVB, but you don’t have any view into what sort of financial decisions they’re making under the hood, even though it’s your money that is at risk. By building transparent financial systems, we can prevent this type of situation from happening again.

“The main idea is that instead of relying on centralised authorities and governmental bodies to enforce things, we can enforce via transparent code. For example, with on-chain lending markets, you know they’re over-collateralised because you can see the exact code mechanisms that enforce those rules.”


Matthew Niemerg, Co-Founder of Aleph Zero (layer 1 privacy-enhancing blockchain): 

“In the crypto industry, there is a popular adage: ‘Be your own bank’.

“By holding Bitcoin and other digital assets, you can avoid the next financial crisis by limiting the amount of money you have deposited in the banks so you are not affected by any potential bank runs.”


The crypto rise was already happening

Is the collapse of SVB, Silvergate and the spreading US and European banking contagion actually doing the crypto market and industry a favour right now, thanks to the ‘be your own bank’ thesis?

Ashton Addison, Founder & CEO of Crypto Coin Show (crypto media channel):

“This banking crisis is providing a little help with Bitcoin’s price and sentiment as an alternative to the traditional banking system, but Bitcoin’s natural four-year cycle and rise starting in January of 2023 were already happening prior to the banking crises being public information. 

“The banking contagion isn’t necessarily doing Bitcoin a favour. But [Bitcoin] is returning the favour to smart-asset allocators who diversify savings into it. And that’s because it is self-custodial and not directly tied to the fractional reserve part of traditional banking.”


Kevin De Patoul, Co-Founder and CEO of Keyrock (crypto market maker):

“Recent bank collapses in the US, including SVB, have highlighted the fragility of the traditional banking system, built on fractional reserves. Fractional reserves become tricky when information spreads within minutes on Twitter and everyone can request withdrawals directly on their phones.

“The slightest crack in trust creates real risks of bank runs. This has fuelled the narrative for disintermediated markets and digital assets in general, which is therefore positive for the industry in the long run. This shows why what we are building is needed and makes sense. 

“In the short term, however, these collapses are of course impacting the markets negatively by making capital harder to move around and diminishing liquidity across the board.

“More broadly, this creates interesting questions around CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currency). As people lose faith in banking intermediaries, they want to store their capital directly with the government by acquiring T-Bills (treasury bills).

“From there, to CBDCs, you only have a very short step to take. While this may be good for the efficiency and security of our financial markets, it does raise questions about our freedom as citizens, due to the additional power it would give to governments. It also questions the viability of the banking system as a whole if everyone bypasses it to use CBDCs directly.”


Adam Miller, CEO & Founder of MIDAO (enabling DAOs in the Marshall Islands)

“For the foreseeable future, crypto cannot survive on its own. Everything is still denominated and usually sold in dollars (or other fiat currencies) held at banks. And as such, we need good banks that are willing to provide fiat services to institutions that provide the bridge between crypto and fiat. 

“But this [banking] collapse was a small failure; no one is losing anything except the shareholders of the banks, who knowingly took the risk of running a bank. If the traditional financial system fails in a big way, such that lots of people lose money, then we will see.”


‘Now is more important than ever to pay attention’

Are we seeing the beginning of a macro financial shift here?

Ashton Addison, Founder & CEO of Crypto Coin Show:

“There have been significant macro financial shifts over the past few years that are now reaching a critical juncture. The rise of digital assets and DeFi has gained considerable popularity and credibility, which has made them a perceived threat to traditional finance.

“In addition, central banks around the world are considering the transition to CBDCs, which adds another layer of complexity to the situation. In the case of the United States, this transition must be managed carefully to maintain the dominance of the US dollar as a global currency, and the continued strength and dominance of the US financial system.

“As these factors converge, there is a need for calculated moves and strategic planning to navigate the changing financial landscape. Meanwhile decentralised finance will continue to grow and with the incorporation of AI superspeed as another macro factor needed to be considered. Decades worth’ of thought and planning will likely play out in a short time. Now is a more important time than ever to pay attention.”


Are we at the start of a crypto bull market?

Do you believe we’re witnessing the start of a crypto bull market at this early stage in 2023? Or is patience for that required? 

Barney Mannerings, Co-Founder of Vega Protocol (DeFi derivatives infrastructure protocol)

“People expect rates to stop rising sooner given SVB etc, making risk assets more appealing. And perhaps they think that large crypto projects are done blowing up given that USDC didn’t die.

“That said, I wouldn’t overthink it. People love to obsess over short-term volatility, and whenever Bitcoin and the broader market have a good week they always want to know why.

“The truth is that short-term volatility is difficult to predict and explain, and it’s often going to be a better use of time to focus on long-term outcomes and projects that are building solutions to make a real difference to the world of finance that we operate in.”


Scott Lawin, CEO of Candy Digital (next-gen sports and culture digital asset platform):

“While I believe the recent unprecedented moves by central banks to stabilise the US and European banking systems may mark the beginning of the end of the current inflationary tightening cycle, we remain in a period of increased volatility and uncertainty around traditional finance, which will likely drive flows back into crypto assets.

“That said, the inflation picture remains unclear and the regulatory landscape for crypto is uncharted, so it is difficult to say whether we are seeing the start of a new bull market vs a temporary “flight to decentralisation” given the market events of the past few weeks.”


That $1 million Bitcoin bet the other day… bonkers?

Is Balaji Srinivasan’s notorious prediction/bet of BTC hitting US$1 million within 90 days (June 17) completely insane? Or… do you agree with elements of the former Coinbase exec’s rationale?

Ashton Addison, Founder & CEO of Crypto Coin Show:

“Yes, it’s a little insane. John McAfee made a similar prediction of a $1 million BTC price with over a year of runway to allow the price to develop, but that never played out.

“For BTC to hit $1 million within 90 days, we would have to experience extreme hyperinflation of the US dollar and some kind of civil or global war, and if that happens, BTC being at $1 million would be the least of our worries.

“While I don’t believe BTC will even reach $100,000 by then, the outrageous prediction is generating a lot of attention from people outside the industry who aren’t following Bitcoin closely.

“As the top-performing asset of 2023, surprisingly, many outside of finance have forgotten about BTC after losing interest during the crypto downturn last year. This crazy prediction should at least awaken people to the fact that the central banking crisis is an issue that affects almost everyone in the country and that Bitcoin is part of the solution to fractional reserves.

“I do think BTC will reach $1 million, just not in 2023.”


Sunny Aggarwal, Co-Founder of Osmosis Labs:

“Obviously, as a financial trade, it is insane, but that’s not the meta game of the bet.

“Balaji is not making a financial trade here. He’s not dumb, and there’s clearly a bigger game being played. His goal is just to get people talking about Bitcoin again – as well as the money printing and inflation that’s happening.

“By making his prediction, he now gets to share his perspective with major financial news outlets and the like, which is probably worth at least $1 million to him, right? So no, I don’t think it’s insane, I think he’s – excuse the cliche –playing chess, not checkers.”


Is the US shooting itself in the foot re crypto?

How concerned are you about the shuttering of crypto-friendly banks in the US and what that could mean for the crypto industry there? 

Sunny Aggarwal, Co-Founder of Osmosis Labs:

“It’ll definitely make things harder for crypto companies in the US to get banking services. That said, a lot of companies already rely on things like stablecoins anyway.

“For instance, Osmurica Inc, one of the US-based subsidiaries of the Osmosis Foundation, doesn’t actually keep much money in a bank account at all. It actually just keeps all of its money in a variety of stablecoins and Bitcoin.

“So, I think it’ll sort of further push people on-chain, and also encourage a push for more infrastructure to be on-chain, for doing things like payroll and invoicing, which will be beneficial overall.”


Kevin De Patoul, Co-Founder and CEO of Keyrock:

“It’s important to recognise that the collapse of Silvergate, SVB and Signature Bank are not crypto-related events.

“While Silvergate was a main gateway for crypto on-ramps for many businesses, it is a relatively small bank and it won’t shake the crypto ecosystem widely.

“Having said that, it is another set back for the US and pushes them further away from the opportunity to be the leader in the digital currency space. The collapse of Silvergate creates a clear market gap and there will be international players who are eager to take advantage of it, for example, the BCB Group in Europe.

“As for SVB, they’re not a big part of the crypto market infrastructure. SVB going down caused a temporary de-peg of USDC, which went down to 88 cents on the dollar. This caused significant turmoil in the market given the importance of USDC in crypto.

“However, that was a temporary overreaction of the market as Circle’s backing is solid and not majorly reliant on one banking partner. I believe Circle is strengthened by these events down the line, having shown their solidity and ability to find new partners in a couple of days when needed.”


Major crypto narratives for 2023

What do you think will be the most prominent crypto narratives for the remainder of the year? And which are the most important? 

TLDR spoiler: According to these crypto experts, they’re:

• decentralised stablecoins

• AI and blockchain merged tech

• ZK scaling tech

• regulatory clarity

• NFTs

• DeFi

• self custody of digital assets


Sunny Aggarwal, Co-Founder of Osmosis Labs:

“We’ve learned a lot over the past year or so. We can’t trust unscalable Ponzi mechanism designs. We can’t trust centralised exchanges. We can’t trust banks. We shouldn’t be trusting centralised stablecoins, and should instead be pushing for decentralised stablecoins.

“It’s time to go back to our roots. This space was created over a decade ago to address the fundamental problems with the banking system, and provide an alternative, so I think this coming year is going to represent sort of a return to our early roots.”


Ashton Addison, Founder & CEO of Crypto Coin Show:

“The primary narrative that emerged at the start of 2023, alongside the release of ChatGPT, is the incorporation of AI into technologies across web3. Blockchain and AI go hand in hand as technologies that will benefit our everyday work.

“Blockchain involves a lot of data, and combining it with AI makes it faster and easier to turn this data into actionable information. Web3 AI startups have outperformed most categories of projects this year.

“Secondly, with the impending increase in regulation and the entrance of more enterprises and institutions, there is a growing demand for more privacy functionality in web3.

“The Zero Knowledge (ZK) technology can deliver more privacy, as well as speed and efficiency, to web3 technologies. Some ZK experts explain that Zero Knowledge will be as big as blockchain itself.

“This is a huge market that is still in its infancy and should be watched closely by innovators and investors looking to capitalise on the growth of ZK in Web3.”


Scott Lawin, CEO of Candy Digital:

“The most prominent crypto narratives for 2023 will be around the evolving regulatory framework for crypto assets, and the continued adoption of digital assets by both businesses and everyday consumers.

“While volumes remain dramatically lower from 2022 levels, the number of brands entering the space continues to increase and the consumer applications across identity, community, loyalty and engagement continue to get stronger.”


Amir Sarhangi, Co-founder of Supermojo (a new platform for easy NFT purchases):

“I think NFTs will be one of the most prominent crypto narratives this year because they’ve changed the way people think of digital ownership.

“We see NFTs becoming more mainstream through very established, trusted and global brands integrating digital collectibles onto their platforms like Starbucks, Nike and Reddit. Most consumers will not even know they are using NFTs but they will love the experience and the utility. We see this as the next big wave of users into the crypto ecosystem.”


Kevin De Patoul, Co-Founder and CEO of Keyrock:

“The most prominent crypto narratives for the remainder of the year will be the continued growth of DeFi and the need for a stable and trustless financial system.

“In addition, blockchain and distributed ledger technology will be an important part of the conversation as governments, regulators, and companies explore the potential of this technology to revolutionise their operations.

“Finally, the need for better regulation and clarity in the crypto space will be a key conversation point as the industry continues to grow and mature.”

Ivan Manchev
, Marketing Manager at Ambire Wallet (web3 wallet built on Account abstraction):

“Self-custody remains a prominent narrative for now. It started with FTX, but failing banks will solidify it.”


These responses were edited lightly for clarity. None of the information and views expressed in this article should be construed as financial advice.