During a turbulent year for crypto, these people are working to make blockchain better

December 28, 2022 | By Christine Gibson

It’s been a rocky year for cryptocurrencies. Several major industry players are ringing out 2022 with bankruptcies. A string of high-profile collapses helped drain the market of $2 trillion, down more than two-thirds from its November 2021 peak.

Still, there were some bright spots. Ethereum cut its electricity consumption by more than 99% by changing how it verifies transactions in a move called the Merge. Regulatory efforts are picking up speed around the world. Blockchain technology continues to evolve and holds tremendous potential for improving how we save and spend money.

And many of the people dedicated to building a better crypto world provided other reasons for optimism — through their efforts to combat fraud and make the industry and its products smarter, faster and more inclusive. Here are our must-read stories from 2022:

A cyber sleuth who helps crypto con victims get their coin back

With more people buying digital assets like crypto and NFTs, criminals have followed close behind. Jonelle Still is on their trail. Still is director of investigations at CipherTrace, the Mastercard company that specializes in cryptocurrency intelligence and blockchain analytics. In addition to combating money laundering and ransomware extortions, she trains intelligence agencies and police to uncover human trafficking and terrorist fundraising enabled by crypto and helps scam victims get their crypto back.

8 innovators on the future of DeFi, DAOs and CBDCs

One of crypto’s most compelling benefits is its potential to expand access to the financial system. To this end, Mastercard expanded its startup engagement program to crypto, blockchain and digital asset companies, helping them partner and innovate with Mastercard. In April, we interviewed a group of founders who joined the Start Path Crypto to learn about the most exciting developments in blockchain and the obstacles to broader adoption.

Building the infrastructure for digital assets

If you’ve ever bought or sold crypto, there’s a good chance Paxos made your trades possible. This blockchain infrastructure platform is helping a growing list of companies add digital assets to their repertoires. It’s working toward a vision of a future where assets such as stocks, real estate, derivatives and art can be powered by blockchain technology.

Women who are changing crypto and blockchain

Blockchain boosters believe crypto can democratize access to the financial world, but few women are leading the creation of crypto products and services. To help make crypto and blockchain more inclusive, a Mastercard-led initiative called The Belle Block is partnering with prominent women and nonbinary individuals in the space. Their common goal is to engage more women and develop products that benefit underserved communities. To mark its launch, seven of these leaders gathered in New York City in June to talk about education, collaboration and crypto culture. Mastercard launched The Belle Block in Latin America and the Caribbean in November.

Inside Maggie Love’s quest to mint more female crypto experts

Maggie Love, a founder of the blockchain data center company W3bCloud, is giving women the tools to get involved in blockchain and crypto. Her education initiative, SheFi, offers more than 40 hours of classes, demos and live Q&As on digital assets, blockchain wallets and decentralized finance, among other topics.

Why Coinbase is getting into NFTs

Coinbase, one of the biggest cryptocurrency platforms in the world, opened a marketplace in May where people can buy, sell and collect NFTs. Although overall sales of NFTs have fallen this this year, Coinbase could help the market support more artists and musicians, while giving consumers new ways to collect digital goods.

Christine Gibson, contributor