​​What Comes After Crypto Winter?

​​What Comes After Crypto Winter?

Forecasting the future of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry in 2030.

Why? Because in 2025, Congress enacted the Writing Enterprise Blockchain Technology and Hiring Reputable Experts and Employees (WEB THREE) Act, watershed legislation that significantly expanded America’s H-1B visa program to bring more Web 3.0 workers to America’s shores. The legislation also contained provisions to strike the right regulatory balance on emerging blockchain technology, allowing for more innovation and greater investment in the space. As a model for regulating blockchain and building the infrastructure of Web 3.0, lawmakers looked to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and its Section 230 provision, which gave room for new digital platforms to build the infrastructure of Web 2.0.

As a result of threading the regulatory needle, America is the “place to do business” for crypto entrepreneurs from all parts of the world in 2030. The United States remains on top of the global tech hierarchy and has far outpaced China, which failed to reap many of the economic benefits of blockchain after banning all crypto assets in 2021. The U.S. economy continues to grow thanks in no small part to the contributions of Web 3.0. Meanwhile, the federal government collects significant tax revenue from this multitrillion-dollar windfall, which farsighted regulators made possible. Crypto Kumbaya ushers in the next decade of American tech hegemony.

Scenario 3: Crypto Conflict

In this scenario, a new domain in cyberwarfare emerges as major powers weaponize crypto; revisionist states leverage digital assets to undermine the liberal international order.

New assets often lead to new conflicts. Take oil. The Middle East used to be a geopolitical backwater. Then, in the early twentieth century, Western industrialists discovered it was home to the largest petroleum reserve in the world, catapulting the region to global prominence. Oil played a pivotal role in determining the outcomes of World Wars I and II, as well as proxy conflicts throughout the Cold War. To this day, it remains among the primary drivers of trade and tension between nations.

As crypto becomes its own globally recognized asset class, what will be the impact on international relations?

Crypto Conflict imagines a scenario where digital assets open a new front in cyberwarfare. Revisionist states weaponize crypto to wage war on Western economies. Bitcoin experiences rapid global adoption but in all the wrong places—countries like Russia, China, and Iran. Increasingly isolated from the liberal international order and the dollar economy, these states choose to abandon SWIFT for the digital yuan—and they put substantial pressure on developing countries to do the same. Meanwhile, militaries across the world pour billions into bulking up their cyber capabilities. Much like militaries today are preparing for the possibility of conflict in the space domain, militaries in 2030 will be prepping for battle in the crypto domain. Billions are funneled into quantum research in hopes of breaking the blockchains of CBDCs.

This scenario would be driven by three factors:

Growing State Adoption of Bitcoin. El Salvador triggered the ire of the IMF in 2021 when it purchased tens of millions of dollars in Bitcoin and announced that the digital currency would now be recognized as legal tender. The bold move by El Salvador president Nayib Bukele was a small declaration of independence from a global financial system where the United States has outsize veto power. Following El Salvador’s example, The Central African Republic also declared Bitcoin as legal tender just a few months later. Small countries typically have a stronger incentive to adopt Bitcoin because it empowers them to bypass costly remittances that are part and parcel of the traditional financial system. That’s why more countries are expected to adopt Bitcoin in the years to come, with speculation that Paraguay, Cuba, Ukraine, and Panama could be next.

First-Mover Advantage of the Digital Yuan. No country has been more ambitious in its goal of implementing a central bank digital currency than China. China launched its digital yuan—officially known as the e-CNY—in 2021, and it was already in wide circulation as a currency by the time it hosted the Winter Olympics in February 2022. The currency has been integrated into China’s largest mobile networks, Alipay and WeChat.

Meanwhile, OECD countries are still in the research and development phase of their CBDC rollout. This discrepancy gives China a significant first-mover advantage in the CBDC wars, increasing the likelihood that the e-CNY could grow faster than digital currencies from other countries. In the long term, this could pose a risk to the dominance of the petrodollar, especially as China looks to buy and sell oil using its own currency.

Disillusionment with SWIFT and the Dollar Economy. After the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States froze Russian Central Bank assets and moved to exile Russia from SWIFT. For revisionist countries like China, the unprecedented move called into question the viability of the dollar as a pristine asset free from political tampering. In the aftermath of this decision, both China and Russia put renewed effort into growing their own versions of SWIFT. The Chinese international payments program is known as the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS), while Russia’s is known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS). Because of its extensive network, CIPS is the most likely alternative for states alarmed by U.S. sanctions against Russia that are looking for refuge outside the US dollar.

Relative Certainties

Relative Uncertainties


Cyber attacks will increase over the next decade as countries move more of their finances and commercial operations online.


Whether U.S. cyber defense capabilities will keep pace with the cyber offense capabilities of our adversaries.


Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will have growing appeal to revisionist and developing states that do not stand to benefit as much from the dollar-denominated global financial system.


How Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will perform over the next decade, especially if the global economy enters a period of stagflation.


Major powers will focus significant energy in developing quantum computing, not only for its inherent economic value but also for its national security benefits and the potential it has to disrupt blockchains and CBDCs.


Whether quantum computing is achievable over the next decade—if ever.


In Crypto Conflict, blockchain would become a hotly contested domain in cyberwarfare. As CBDCs and stablecoins across the world would rely on the integrity of blockchains to process payments and settle transactions daily, they would naturally become a target for U.S. adversaries. Enormous investment in cybersecurity and quantum computing would be necessary to secure financial networks.

The race for the latter would be akin to the race for the atomic bomb in World War II. Whichever country achieves it first will have a weapon of mass financial destruction with the ability to take down CBDCs and entire economies. Whoever possesses this kind of weapon will have the power to reorder the global balance of power.

Accounting for Black Swans

 Robust scenario analysis must also take into consideration the potential for black swan or “wild card” events. By their very nature, black swans are nearly impossible to predict. But the drivers and historical precedents outlined in this report give us at least an indication of the form a black swan might take. Consider the following outlier possibilities:

American Weimar

In 2023, the developed world is coming off a decade of unprecedented quantitative easing. Simultaneously U.S. inflation recently hit a 40-year high, and for the first time ever, the national debt surpassed $31 trillion. Naturally, fears of stagflation are setting in. But these drivers could lead to something far worse in the near future: hyperinflation.

In the American Weimar scenario, the U.S. economy enters a deep recession over the next two years, forcing the Fed to make an impossible choice: either break the economy and enter a depression by raising interest rates further or turn the money printer back on. The Fed opts for the latter, and central banks across the world follow suit. This leads to a period of runaway inflation similar to the economic disaster facing the Weimar Republic in the 1920s. Americans see the value of their savings and retirement accounts fall by half in just a few short months.

Desperately searching for a hedge against inflation, Americans begin looking to Bitcoin as a lifeboat. The appeal is simple: as a decentralized monetary network, Bitcoin cannot be tampered with by central banks. It offers Americans a form of digital gold that is easier to move, verify, and transact than precious metals. The market capitalization of Bitcoin soon achieves parity with gold and then doubles it by 2030 as younger generations coming into financial maturity adopt it in higher numbers. Desperately searching for a reset, central banks across the world consider pegging their fiat currencies to an asset of globally recognized value. Some return to the gold standard while others adopt what comes to be known as “the Bitcoin standard.”

The Dollar Dethroned by Digital Yuan

As previously outlined in this report, the digital yuan has a first-mover advantage over all other CBDCs. Moreover, it is controlled by an authoritarian government that can make rapid updates to the currency without being slowed by legislatures or any other part of the democratic process.