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U.S. will be big elephant in the room in 2022, says WEF’s Sheila Warren

While China made a big moves in banning crypto this year, US lawmakers appear to be warming up to the industry, setting the stage for next year.

Welcome to Forkast Forecasts 2022. In this series, leaders, innovators and visionaries in blockchain-related fields tell Forkast.News their predictions for the year ahead.

Sheila Warren

Sheila Warren is the deputy head of the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which works with governments, companies, and stakeholders from around the world to accelerate the adoption of new technologies in the global public interest. She also is a member of the forum’s executive committee. Warren sits on the advisory board of the Cryptoeconomic Systems journal at MITPress and OECD Blockchain Policy Centre as well as the board of the Financial Technology Association. She co-hosts CoinDesk’s popular podcast series Money Reimagined. In last year’s Forkast Forecasts, Warren predicted “big moves” coming out of China

Predictions for 2022

Big moves out of the U.S.

“If I predicted last year that China was going to be the big elephant in the room making some big moves, I think this year, it’s actually going to be the U.S.… Policymaking takes a very long time, so I certainly would not predict that 2022 is the year that we see a lot of the policies enacted. But I do think that we’re going to see maybe an uptick in the kind of hearings and the activity that’s happening within the U.S. government and U.S. regulators focusing on this space.

CBDCs outside China

“So whether this is really the year of the dollar coin or the Fed doing something or not, we’ll have to see those experiments continue to be ongoing. Whether it’s the E.U. — I actually do think the E.U. could lap the U.S. in terms of issuance of digital coins. That’s something to keep an eye on to see what happens there. And of course, the digital yuan getting more and more traction. We’ll have to see what goes on with China and how China is getting to expand its use of digital yuan beyond the borders of China into a lot of other spaces and what that does to accelerate maybe some of the movement in the CBDC (central bank digital currency) space.”

NFTs will be tickets to entry

“Showing proof that you own an NFT(non-fungible token) in order to enter into a physical space that’s going to become something that moves forward. Part of that is because the psychology around vaccine certification in many parts of the world, having to flash a credential to get into something is becoming a very normal activity. And so having to flash an NFT to prove that you own the ape or the monkey or whatever it is to get into a space within it doesn’t really seem that weird.” 

Continued investments into blockchain and crypto

“We’re going to see more and more investment money flooding into this space — whether we get ETFs, kind of what those look like that really start taking off, whether we see more SPACs or public companies in this space. We’re going to see more and more companies move out of that very early sort of seed phase or token phase into something more baked and mature, and that’s going to have tremendous implications for the job market. The labor market moving into this industry and what that does overall for its valuation.”