Over the last year the crypto, and greater Web3 industry has seen a rollercoaster of loss, growth and innovation — and the data shows.
In the latest industry report from cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, “Global Crypto Industry Overview and Trends,” trends and stats were pulled from the industry on everything from nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse to centralized exchange (CEX) usage and regulations.
Despite the turmoil of major events like the FTX collapse, Terra’s implosion and 3AC bankruptcy, the industry still accounted for approximately 320 million crypto users worldwide in the last year.
While the total amount of investment and financing in the “primary market” surpassed $27.7 billion, the total amount of market capitalization of crypto assets shrank by over $2.2 trillion.
1. NFT becomes the most discussed crypto term worldwide
The report analyzed five of the most googled search terms pertaining to the Web3 industry, which include: “cryptocurrency,” “DeFi,” “GameFi,” “NFT” and “BTC.” Of these terms, searches for NFTs dominated worldwide.
According to the report NFTs show dominance because:
“NFTs can be well integrated with various industries, such as sports, arts, entertainment, cultural creations, expanding the application scenarios on a larger scale.”
This last year has seen the focus of NFTs switch from hyped drops to projects with last utility, such as solving diamond certification fraud. Some projects are even targeting the next generation of users with “family-friendly” NFTs.
As for the other search terms, “BTC,” “DeFi” and “Cryptocurrency” were most frequently searched in emerging markets including in South America, South Africa and the Middle East.
2 . The United States dominates CEX usage and industry development
Another key finding related to CEX activity, which reportedly has been on a steady decline over the last year.
However, there were certain countries that had significant shares of traffic to CEXs. The United States took the top spot with nearly 10% of all CEX traffic followed by South Korea (7.4%), Russia (6.1%), Turkey( 5.6%) and Japan (3.8%).
The U.S. also came at the top for crypto market development maturity. This was based on four key indicators which included the percentage of crypto users, share of CEX volume, share of DeFi volume and internet population index.
Related: Why the US is one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world
Lastly, the U.S. has the largest total crypto population, with over 46 million users and is first for its share of DeFi traffic (31.8%). Of U.S. crypto users over half are between the ages of 18-34.
3. Asia is on top for heated interest in NFTs
NFTs may have been the most searched term globally, but it has been on the decline from the previous year. Nonetheless, in Asia, the interest in NFTs remains heated.
According to the report, four of the top five spots were occupied by Asian countries. In top place for NFT interest based on searches was Mainland China, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, Nigeria and Taiwan, respectively.
Recently the courts in mainland China declared that NFTs are virtual property to be protected by law. This is a big move considering the country’s harsh crypto crackdown which began in 2021.
4. GameFi and metaverse dominate investments
Both GameFi and the metaverse have been big winners in the industry over the last year.
Reports have consistently found interest and investment in these two sectors. Many big industry names like Animoca Brands co-founder and executive chairman Yat Siu have said GameFi will become the onboarding point for metaverse.
In Huobi’s report, it revealed that for a second year in a row GameFi and Metaverse collectively exceeded the number of investments compared with categories such as tooling, and trading and lending. In these two categories, capital investment has shot up from $874 million in 2021 to $2.4 billion in 2022.
Related: Animoca creates billion-dollar metaverse fund for developers
A Q3 DappRadar report revealed $1.3 billion in investment for GameFi and metaverse initiatives combined for that quarter. In the next six years, the GameFi industry alone is estimated to have a valuation of $2.8 billion.
5. Over 100 regulations have been issued for the crypto industry
Lastly, there is no talking about 2022 without talking about the slew of regulations that have been pointed at the crypto industry over the last year.
The report chronicles 105 “regulatory measures and guidance” for the crypto industry from over 42 sovereign countries since the start of this year.
According to the research, regulations from the U.S., the European Union and South Korea are the most concentrated and intensive.
The U.S. particularly has taken the spotlight in terms of crypto regulations with a total of 22 federal and state regulatory statutes, touching on everything from crypto transactions and regulatory guidance to judicial decisions and stablecoins.
After the catastrophic collapse of FTX, global regulators have been calling for more unified crypto regulations with intentions to tame the wild west and protect consumers.