3 Things that will flourish in 2022
2021 was a big year, a lot happened down our end of the earth. New Zealand adjusted to living with Covid; Auckland was in a lockdown that lasted over 100 days; There were vaccine rollouts, and anti-lockdown protests mixed with anti-vax protests. It was kind of a bonkers year with an underlying theme throughout everything – Covid. Everything we’ve seen this past year has had a link to the virus that has been the subject of the majority of news headlines and events for the last couple of years. But there were three things you may or may not have heard of that took 2021 by storm and will only continue to grow and evolve in 2022.
The first is something that has been around for over 10 years and is constantly changing the way we look at money – if you don’t already know that is Cryptocurrency or Crypto. The first decentralized Cryptocurrency was called Bitcoin, created in 2008 presumably by a pseudonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto. I say presumably because the identity/identities have never really been confirmed. So what is Bitcoin? In a nutshell, it’s a digital currency that operates without any central control or oversight from banks or governments. Seems legit right? This is where banks and governments are like “no no no this seems hella dodgy, I will not support this!” and fair enough. It’s hard to trust a currency that operates entirely online and without regulations from banks or governments.
There are some that beg to differ though. Bitcoin went on the rise in early February 2021, when major companies and financial institutions began to support the digital currency. One of those companies is Tesla. The Apple of electric vehicles with well-known entrepreneur Elon Musk at the helm as their CEO. This prompted Bitcoin to hit an all-time high in market value of 1 Trillion dollars. Yes, you read that right. 1 TRILLION DOLLARS. The crypto market is enormous; as of now, there are over 8,000 cryptocurrencies out there.
A question a lot of us had at some point or another during 2021 was; what the hell is an NFT? Well, basically, an NFT or Non-Fungible Token is a digital token that is permanently linked to a piece of digital art and is encrypted with the artist’s signature. It validates the piece’s ownership and authenticity. NFT’s can act as digital assets that can be used to represent real-world things like art, music, videos, and in-game items. But how did these digital things garner the attention they have today? Glad you asked. Back in late February, an American digital artist by the name of Mike Winkelmann, professionally known as Beeple, put up a piece of digital artwork for auction called Everydays: the First 5000 Days as an NFT and on March 11th that piece sold for over $69 Million dollars. It was put up under Christie’s Auction Company and was the first time a major auction house sold a fully digital, NFT based artwork.
This sale prompted mainstream coverage of NFTs and the world started to pay attention. As of the end of 2021, there was $23 Billion in trading volume for NFTs. Despite this mountain of trading, there has been criticism of NFTs that they’re all too easy to download a copy of for free, so what’s the point? The point is not to be the only person able to access your purchased digital art but to be the only person in possession of the true, original piece that comes with an authenticated signature from the original verified artist. This new age of art is coming and it’s coming fast. Are you still with me? I know I’ve been throwing a lot of complicated terms at you, NFTs, Crypto, Beeple. So let’s move on to the third and final topic that came a bit later in the year but is already making money moves in 2022, and that is the Metaverse.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, we’ve had to adjust to communicating almost solely with people through our laptops and phones. By now I’m sure we’re familiar with the video conferencing company; Zoom. The communications company has been around for yonks since 2011 but at the height of the pandemic in 2020 when the majority of the world was in lockdown, remote work, online classes and online social interactions increased dramatically for obvious reasons. Soon everyone was dropping zoom links to catch up with friends and work calls. Online living was becoming the norm, and soon it could be the new way of living.
On October 28th, the popular social media website we knew as Facebook rebranded itself under a new name called Meta. Although it doesn’t have as much of a ring to it as Facebook, the name change was done to help Meta focus on building the Metaverse. So what is the Metaverse? The Metaverse itself is a network of 3-D digital worlds created for social interaction. Using an avatar created by you, you can meet up with friends and hang out as you normally would, except now you’re online. You have a work meeting? Well, you can go to a virtual room made to look like an office space and have it there with all your colleagues who may not live in the same city as you. The Metaverse includes activities even as simple as designing a new house for your avatar to live in. What you can do in the Metaverse will be endless, the technology and capabilities that are being created are amazing and are definitely where the world is heading. But the question on my mind isn’t, ‘What are the possibilities?’ It’s ‘What if we grow accustomed to this life?’.
I guess my concern about the Metaverse is people getting so accustomed to it and spending more time in their virtual worlds than in their own life. That’s where I’m like ‘mmmm maybe not’. We don’t know what it will be like in 10 years, who knows it could be a part of everyday life, but in 2022 watch for the Metaverse.
There you have it 3 things that have somehow had a link to Covid-19 but have only grown for the better during the pandemic.
By Keenan Rogers