The tech leader's guide to 2023

What's ahead for cryptocurrency, cybersecurity, AI-based application development, and extended reality in 2023? Here's a roadmap from some of tech's most forward-thinking leaders.

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Others, looking to history, see a longer trajectory for blockchain and related technologies. Simon Jones, CEO and co-founder of Voltz Protocol reminds us that "the dot-com boom led to some of the biggest businesses in the world, like Amazon and Google, but these businesses emerged after the 'bubble' popped." Jones believes we'll see something similar with decentralized finance. The "projects that come out the other side of this cycle will become pivotal players for the new global and decentralized internet."

Shawn Douglass, CEO of Amberdata, also foresees "massive growth on the heels of yet another collapse in trust" for decentralized finance and decentralized custody.

“As we course-correct after the FTX collapse, decentralized solutions will be more popular than large centralized platforms, allowing DeFi to see more success and adoption than ever before," says Tony Cheng, general partner at Foresight Ventures. Similarly, “DeFi will benefit from the collapse of many CeFI failures and more people will protect their wealth through Bitcoin." notes Will Szamosszegi, CEO of Sazmining.

Derek Yoo, CEO of PureStake, (a development team for Moonbeam) says that cross-chain “interoperability will be the key to any killer (blockchain) app in 2023 [...] Dapps will span multiple chains to optimize for cost and efficiency—this will provide a solid foundation for more scalability in the next bull market."

Will Reeves, CEO and co-founder of the Bitcoin awards company Fold points to CBDC (central bank digital currency) as a potential driver for crypto adoption, remarking “as news of CBDC planning continues to propagate, look for new entrants to flock into Bitcoin as an alternative."

Dan Moore finds a middle ground, saying “Cryptocurrency/blockchain companies will be in a 'winter' throughout 2023.”


Cybersecurity seems to be on a permanent growth trajectory. Matias Woloski, CTO of Auth0 Lab at Okta (see interview), sees both crypto wallets and passkeys as major themes in 2023, saying he expects that “digital wallets will continue to gain consumer adoption driven by major platforms. But we will see them become a new primitive beyond just payments. We are seeing a version of this with Web3 wallets, and support for passkey/FIDO will be a big enabler.” 

Woloski adds that “as passwords get replaced, the phone will represent a stronger first factor. This will not only improve the user experience but security as well. At Okta, we detect breached passwords at a baseline of 50,000 incidents per day—up from 26,000 last year." Woloski notes that replacing passwords with passkeys can reduce identity attacks:

Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all supporting passkeys. The focus will shift to easing the developer experience, making it super easy for the people building applications to adopt passkeys in one click or less. There will also be developments for workforce identity to address challenges around allowing administrators to opt-in to passkeys for certain scenarios.

Eric Avigdor, senior director of product management at JumpCloud, says that “securing the IT landscape continues to be a significant challenge for organizations of all sizes. Specifically, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have to juggle distributed workforces and heterogeneous device types and policies without the budget or staff that enterprises enjoy." In response, Avigdor believes that 2023 will see more companies shifting the responsibility for security "from the user to tools and technology."

Additionally, “2023 will be the year when IT teams seek to centrally manage user identity and access—not just because it makes their job easier but because it lightens the security load on employees,” says Avigdor.

Stephanie Wong, head of developer engagement for Google Cloud, ties the economy into cyber security:

2023’s economic pressure will up the ante for cybercriminals. With more security breaches like the recent LastPass incident, securing cloud credentials is more important than ever. But there is an increasing responsibility for development teams to harden their software development life cycle—by shifting security to the left at source code and avoiding secrets whenever possible.

Derek Yoo adds that in the blockchain realm, “security for cross-chain communication is a top priority, to avoid the amount of exploits we see on existing bridges and in current interoperability scenarios.”

XR—extended reality

Investor and founder Soleio points our attention to extended reality (XR), which encompasses augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality development:

2023 is the year that mixed reality and spatial computing capture the imaginations of consumers and developers alike. Meta has hinted at their plans with their Passthrough technology, and Apple’s long-rumored efforts may finally come to light. The key change will be how developers perceive the viability of this new market and the real-world use cases they can now build for as we begin the transition from desktop/mobile to XR.

Rich Harris has similar hopes:

People are overly cynical about virtual and augmented reality. Crossing the threshold from curiosity to mainstream computing platform means solving difficult hardware engineering problems, making progress that seems glacial next to the explosive AI industry, but when it happens it will become ubiquitous seemingly overnight." Harris notes that he hopes to see more developers using WebXR APIs. "It's crucial that we don't let a single company dominate this space.

Climate and energy

Ravi Pendekanti, senior vice president of product management and marketing for Western Digital’s HDD business, points to climate, saying "Corporate climate commitments and environmental sustainability are vital for a company's long-term success and for the wellbeing of humanity. Data centers have a significant role in helping companies meet their goals." In 2023, Pendekanti expects that hyperscale, communications service providers (CSPs), and enterprise data center customers will continue to search for ways to improve their sustainability and total cost of ownership (TCO). "Storage optimization can be used as a means to reduce power/energy consumption, emissions, e-waste, and other environmental impacts, making data centers more eco-friendly.”

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency can also play a role here, says Will Szamosszegi: “Bitcoin mining will help many energy companies reduce methane emissions while the broader geopolitical conflict will strengthen the use case for Bitcoin.”

Developer experience

Developers as human beings is a rising theme. Guillermo Rauch sees a movement this year from “devops to dev experience," or DX, where DX "will take center stage. Great developer experience leads to better developer productivity and improved developer velocity, directly improving your bottom line.”

Elain Szu, VP of marketing at, continues:

Today, developer productivity has to include not just velocity, but also code quality plus developer happiness." This trend, she says, drives the need for developer-first application performance monitoring tools. "Only when you empower devs to do good work, with their preferred way of working, can you be sure that your end customer is also getting the best possible experience.


I believe that the tech industry will continue to work its way through uncertainty as the year progresses. This uncertainty spells opportunity for those who are sharp-eyed and ready to jump, and it may help to shake out what isn’t working. We’ll arrive into the new year, in 2024, as a more clarified industry, purified of dross and poised for explosive strength in the coming years.

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to provide insight for this article.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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