When the first cryptocurrencies emerged in 2009, the space felt like the Wild West—it was unregulated, it was experimental, and it took a fair amount of know-how to move through it comfortably and not get swindled. Over the ensuing decade, crypto crept towards the mainstream, slowly turning skeptics into proselytizers. By summer 2021, everything had changed. Finance, art, even whole companies were being run on the blockchain and were no longer relegated to the margins.
To get here, hundreds of people had their minds changed about the value and power of blockchain. We spoke with 12 of them to understand their “unlock moment” and where they see crypto going in the future.