These Are the Top Crypto Gamechangers to Watch in 2024 – Messari

Blockchain analytics firm Messari named BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and the Blockchain Association’s CEO Kristin Smith among its top 10 people to watch in crypto in 2024, especially as election fever brews in Washington. DeFi’s revolving door of prominent individuals spans veterans like MakerDAO’s Rune Christensen and new builders on Solana.

According to Messari, Fink’s 2023 Bitcoin rant will go viral if the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approves its Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) this year. Warren’s political pull in the White House would likely come up against Smith’s high-profile advocacy group, the Blockchain Association, to shape the future of crypto in the US in an election year.

Three Key Figures in the Bitcoin ETF Race

Due to the firm’s success with previous ETF applications, BlackRock’s application for a spot ETF heralded a new era. Fink famously called bitcoin and the tokenization of assets “digitizing gold” and “international asset.” 

“Specifically on bitcoin, as I’ve said in the past, we’re a believer in digitization of products. Bitcoin is an international asset,” the CEO said in a July interview on Fox Business.

BlackRock’s ETF application ruling will come after the SEC decides whether to approve a fund from Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest. Wood is bullish on Bitcoin despite having sold shares in Coinbase and the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. 

Michael Sonnenshein, the CEO of Grayscale Investments, will also be a key figure on the Bitcoin ETF front. The miseries of Grayscale’s parent, the Digital Currency Group, and its CEO, Barry Silbert, may well fuel a succession narrative in 2024. Grayscale’s CEO said the company is “operationally ready” to convert its Bitcoin Trust to an ETF upon SEC approval.

Read more: How To Prepare for a Bitcoin ETF: A Step-by-Step Approach

Crypto Leaders Who Will Fight Washington

Senator Elizabeth Warren is on the opposite end of the spectrum, having amassed an army of anti-crypto White House staffers. The politician hasn’t sponsored any successful bills but has used crypto’s small role in terrorist financing to sway Washington. Her influence means she should be one to watch out for come the November elections.

Warren will likely encounter Smith and the Fair Shake political action committee, which have been key crypto advocates in recent years. Smith’s Blockchain Association has grown in importance as Washinton grows more hostile to crypto. Its Policy Summit lineup included outgoing House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry, Coinbase’s legal chief Paul Grewal, and Ripple’s lawyer Stu Alderoty.

Warren will also have to deal with Nic Carter, a prominent crypto voice instrumental in counteracting the crypto terrorism narrative. His thesis about the government stifling crypto in 2023 with “Operation ChokePoint 2.0” became a major talking point.

DeFi Players to Watch This Year

DeFi still has much to do to win over politicians and users, but its advocates continue to march forward. People to watch in 2024 are decentralized social media experts Dan Romero and 0x Racer. 

Romero’s focus on user experience and building communities has made his Farcaster app a gamified substitute for X. 0x Racer was key in developing incentive schemes that grew decentralized social media application friend.tech. The platform economically incentivizes interactions between influencers and followers.

Denelle Dixon of the Stellar Network and Lucas Vogelsang of real-world asset tokenization company Centrifuge may make waves in tokenization, a space expected to boom this year. Dixon’s crypto advocacy in Washington and goodwill with banks saw her selected to tokenize Treasuries with investment firm Franklin Templeton in 2023. Vogelsang and former JPMorgan employee Christine Moy are set to fuel tokenization with key partnerships on Wall Street and in decentralized finance, according to Messari.

Read more: What is The Impact of Real World Asset (RWA) Tokenization?

Rounding up the DeFi catwalk for 2024 is MakerDAO’s Rune Christensen, who, through a series of careful considerations, is moving the DAO towards its ultimate “Endgame” plan. Others worth keeping an eye on are Solana-based inventors like Meow (Jupiter), Lucas (Jito), Mert (Helius), Armani (Backpack/Mad Lads), Vibhu (DRiP), Edgar (MarginFi), Cindy (Drift), and Bartosz (Cube).

Musk and Company Seen as “Net Positive”

Last but not least, Messari calls X CEO Elon Musk, US presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, and TV personality Tucker Carlson “net positive” personalities for crypto in 2024. Ramaswamy’s speeches on the virtues of Bitcoin have influenced other politicians ahead of the elections in November. Carlson is famous for challenging censored narratives, while Musk’s X platform remains the go-to destination for uncensored crypto discourse online.

Do you have something to say about the top 10 players in crypto this year or anything else? Please write to us or join the discussion on our Telegram channel. You can also catch us on TikTokFacebook, or X (Twitter).

Top crypto platforms in the US | January 2024

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