Blockchain technology's real-world use cases such as faster cross-border payments, identity management, smart contracts, cryptocurrencies, and supply chain – blockchain technology is here to stay and become the next innovation just like the Internet. There have been attempts to formulate digital money, but they weren't successful due to security and trust issues. But blockchain needs no central authority, and its operations are controlled by people who use it. Plus, it can't be modified or forged, causing a massive hype and demand in the market. Blockchain has moved past cryptocurrency and discovered implementations in other real-life applications; that's where we can expect Blockchain technology to be simplified and not remain a complex concept.

As more companies realize how blockchain can benefit them, they'll reserve more resources, money, and time into the technology, and millions of use cases will emerge. Today, this blog discusses the top future trends for blockchain technology that will dominate the world in the year 2022 and ahead.

1. Central Bank Digital Currencies – a new chapter in the national legal tender

With the rising popularity of cryptocurrency over the past few years, the notion of digital currencies being adopted as legal tender is no longer a far-fetched concept. Several countries have already set the wheels in motion to introduce their digital currency, also referred to as Central Bank Digital Currencies.

Such currencies are envisaged to function in tandem with conventional legal tender. The main reason many countries are considering national cryptocurrencies is that they can enable governments to benefit from the enhanced security and transparency of transactions, which could lead to a decline in financial fraud. In 2021, El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, and the UK government has already endorsed Bitcoin to be developed in 2022. The trend of Central Bank Digital Currencies is projected to be adopted by more nations in the next few years, including China, Japan, and Russia.

2. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – a horizon beyond just art

2021 saw the rise of Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) as the latest application of blockchain technology. These unique digital tokens were initially popular in art, with artists launching their NFTs to an excellent response, including Beeple, The Kings of Leon, and Grimes.

However, NFTs have swiftly moved much beyond the artwork. Now NFTs are increasingly gaining prominence in fields such as sports and gaming. For instance, the popular game Axie International has applied the concept of NFTs to enable users to use their own NFTs as participants in the game. Non-fungible Tokens have also been used in the world of fashion, with international giants such as Nike, and Dolce and Gabbana launching NFTs for their footwear and clothes, respectively. In 2022, more sectors like real estate are likely to jump aboard the fascinating NFT bandwagon.

3. Blockchain and IoT – a match made in (digital) heaven

In a world ruled by gadgets and the Internet of Things (IoT), it is no surprise that security and integrity are major concerns for users. This is, arguably, the main driving force behind the collaboration between blockchain technology and IoT.

Since the central premise of blockchain technology is the seamless creation and maintenance of clear, chronological, and unchangeable records of digital transactions, it has seemingly limitless application in not only machine-to-user transactions but also machine-to-machine ones. With the continued incorporation of 5G technology worldwide, the usage of blockchain in tandem with IoT is expected to address concerns around the security, scalability, and transparency of transactions.

4. Blockchain technology – towards a greener and cleaner future

One of the main arguments against the usage of blockchain technology is its adverse impact on the environment. The higher the application of this technology, the higher is the consumption of energy and the corresponding carbon footprint. This dark hue of blockchain technology prompted Elon Musk to stop, at least for a while, the acceptance of Bitcoin as payment for Tesla cars.

With the ever-rising consciousness of our role in reducing our respective carbon footprints, 2022 is slated to be the year when blockchain technology becomes greener and cleaner. In a pioneering step, Ethereum has already announced plans to switch to a Proof-of-Stake model in its blockchains to reduce the harmful impact on this blue planet. This year is also expected to be the harbinger of using renewable energy sources in blockchain technology.

5. The Metaverse – from science fiction to reality

Gone are the days when the Metaverse existed only in science fiction, and our only idea of virtual reality was the parallel universes that unfolded in Mad Max and Star Wars. Giants in the

technology sector have already expressed interest in investing time, money, and resources in exploring and developing the Metaverse and its applications across a wide variety of industries. Facebook and Microsoft are some organizations that are leading the way in this trend.

The application of blockchain technology in the Metaverse can lead to a higher degree of decentralization and enhanced transparency, and easy access for users. In 2022, several new projects applying blockchain technology in the Metaverse are expected to add more intrigue yet more clarity to the Metaverse.

Countries like the USA, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, China, Japan, Australia, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and UAE are heading the charts to leverage this emerging technology's potential. And according to a Gartner report, we can see a market size of USD 10 billion by 2022. By 2025, blockchain business value will grow to over $176 billion and increase to $3.1 trillion by 2030. These numbers show how blockchain technology will be a force to reckon with, and soon, the world will leverage it in their everyday lives.