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Where crypto angel investors should deploy capital after Ethereum ETH approval

The following is a guest post from Tim Haldorsson, CEO of Lunar Strategy.

In nine short years, Ethereum has gone from pioneering on-chain smart contracts and programmable crypto to becoming the backbone of decentralized finance and blockchain infrastructure. The recent SEC approval of ETH ETFs is just a single step in this journey, albeit a significant milestone that has solidified Ethereum’s status as a mature asset class worthy of serious investment consideration.

This op-ed will highlight the most promising sectors within the Ethereum ecosystem that I believe angel investors should watch closely to take advantage of this economic momentum.

Layer 2 Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Ethereum paved the way for the birth of decentralized on-chain markets, planting the seeds that have blossomed into a global DeFi sector with a market cap of $104.55 billion. DeFi is a complex rabbit hole filled with unique financial mechanisms that are unparalleled in traditional finance. However, they rely on the security, speed, and decentralization offered by Ethereum’s smart contracts. Layer 2 networks like Base, Arbitrum, and zkSync have emerged to address Ethereum’s scalability issues, reducing usage costs and increasing transaction speeds without sacrificing privacy or security. These improvements make Ethereum’s technology more accessible and perfect for DeFi activities.

In the DeFi space, projects like lending and borrowing platforms, futures and perpetuals trading platforms, token seeding and launching platforms, and both centralized and decentralized exchanges have proven immensely successful. Even in the days when ETH only commanded the attention of a small niche of market participants, these technologies were spun into a myriad of business models that proved a real demand for DeFi solutions on a grand scale. Some of the top DeFi protocols have even grown to multi-billion dollar valuations, underscoring the strength of this sector.

As Ethereum transitions into a recognized commodity, the potential for further growth in DeFi becomes even more certain, making it a lucrative area for angel investors to deploy capital.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is one of the most important technologies of our time, comparable to the impact of blockchain technology. The world needs AI technologies that can be trusted and that are free from centralized control.

Blockchain enables secure, private, and decentralized frameworks for AI services, crucial for preventing monopolies on scarce compute resources and for providing broader access to decentralized machine learning networks. By leveraging Ethereum’s blockchain for AI projects, developers are already building AI services that remain secure and decentralized.

This intersection of AI and blockchain is an attractive playing field for investment, as the demand for decentralized and secure AI solutions continues to rise. AI projects built on Ethereum have already achieved multi-billion dollar market caps, showing discerning observers that it is a powder keg of explosive growth. The recent approval of ETH ETFs might be the spark that ignites the next leg of expansion this sector is primed for.

Decentralized Physical Infrastructure (DePIN)

DePIN is one of the exciting blockchain-dependent sectors that have emerged thanks to the miracle of smart contracts. In a nutshell, it merges physical infrastructure with digital networks of decentralized participants and facilitates the global exchange of limited but in-demand resources like sensors, data storage, or wireless connectivity in return for crypto tokens.

DePINs offer decentralized governance, peer-to-peer infrastructure sharing, tokenization, and enhanced security and privacy for traditional and digital industries.

As demand for DePINs grows, so will the market for these resources, driving token appreciation and market expansion. Ethereum powers the smart contracts that run these DePINs, making it a crucial component of this ecosystem. With the recent approval of ETH ETFs, more angel investors are likely to turn their attention to DePINs, recognizing their potential for high returns and significant real world impact.

ETH Restaking

Staking is a fundamental aspect of securing decentralized networks like Ethereum through economic game theory. Validators, who run the nodes powering the blockchain, are required to stake ETH. If they follow the rules, they earn rewards; if they attempt to cheat, they lose their staked ETH. Currently, over $100 billion worth of ETH is staked—that’s how important this mechanism is to operating blockchain networks.

Restaking takes this concept further by applying the same game theory to secure any protocol on the blockchain. This enables smaller participants to maintain high levels of security through proof-of-stake mechanisms that would otherwise be unattainable. Restaking helps to create a more resilient network for multiple protocols, making it cost-prohibitive to attack any single participant within the larger proof-of-stake pool.

Liquid restaking services further simplify the process for those seeking to stake tokens without managing complex validators. These services issue Liquid Restaking Tokens, which accrue yield and interest from validator rewards and can be traded or restaked to generate additional rewards. This sector’s growth underscores its importance as a security mainstay for blockchains, making it a compelling area for angel investors.

Conclusion

The approval of ETH ETFs has stamped Ethereum as a leading investment vehicle. The Ethereum ecosystem offers many exciting opportunities for angel investors, from Layer 2 DeFi and AI integration, to DePINs and restaking.

It’s important to study these sectors and understand both their leading narratives and growth catalysts. This way, investors can deploy smart capital while contributing to the growth of Ethereum.

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