Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge. When he's not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.
As the year winds down and we anticipate 2023, Coinspeaker has put together a recap of some of the most newsworthy events of 2022.
The year 2022 saw so many ups and downs, as well as breakthroughs and setbacks in the crypto, fintech, and technology space. Here are the top 15 stories that grabbed our attention throughout this year.
Euro Sinks Against Dollar
The euro plummeted to a 20-year low against the US dollar due to economic issues, including inflation, which affected member states. In September, reports stated that the energy crisis in Europe from the fallout of Russia’s war in Ukraine showed no signs of abating. At the time, the euro was changing hands at 0.9780 against the greenback, with the bullish nature of the US currency following the Fed’s third 75 basis point rate hike.
Bitcoin Crash, Tesla Constraints
Bitcoin (BTC) outperformed Tesla‘s (NASDAQ: TSLA) stock in 2022 amid a massive price correction. The leading digital currency collapsed 66% year-to-date and is further way off its November 2021 all-time high of approximately $70K. Meanwhile, Tesla stock is also under intense selling pressure, correcting 72% YTD. As a result, this year is one of the worst-performing years for the prominent EV manufacturer.
In 2022, Tesla weathered the shutdown of its Shanghai gigafactory due to the renewed surge in Chinese Covid cases. Meanwhile, BTC has been largely trading under the $17K threshold for several weeks.
UK inflation was a hot topic of discussion, especially in the latter half of the year. Reports from two weeks ago stated that inflation receded from a 41-year high, but food and energy prices were still up.
UK inflation came in at 10.7% for November, slightly below the 10.9% consumer price index (CPI) analysts were expecting. Last month’s entry represented a 0.4% dropdown, with “housing and household services” being the most significant upward contributor. Meanwhile, according to the Office for National Statistics, “transport,” especially motor fuels, was the most significant downward contributor for November.
Crypto Insolvency Crises
Crypto-minded companies experienced a prolonged insolvency crisis. This credit crunch began mid-year with the Terra collapse in May and culminated in November with FTX’s crash. Several CEOs of these troubled crypto-focused platforms resigned after their respective companies failed.
Other affected companies halted operations, especially customer withdrawals, in a desperate bid to retain funds for liquidity survival. Some companies, including Three Arrows Capital, received default notices from their creditors after failing to repay massive loans.
Bahamian crypto exchange FTX suffered a spectacular collapse in early November after experiencing the equivalent of a customer bank run. The demise of the once second-largest exchange sent shockwaves throughout the entire digital currency industry. In addition, FTX’s bankruptcy also renewed calls for thorough oversight of the crypto space even as former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried went into hiding.
Bankman-Fried was eventually arrested by Bahamian authorities and extradited to the US for a criminal trial.
Twitter Deal Done & Dusted
Outspoken Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) in 2022 on the promise to revamp the popular microblogging platform. Musk paid $44 billion to seal the deal after securing funding from many high-net-worth investors. However, the Twitter acquisition almost did not happen after Musk walked away from the deal due to an impasse with the corporation’s executives. After a lengthy back-and-forth, almost resulting in a full-blown legal case, the Tesla CEO successfully took over the company.
Months after establishing ownership, recent reports suggested that Musk could step down as Twitter’s CEO. A recent poll by the controversial businessman revealed that most followers support this move.
Meta Platforms Drops Out of Top 20 Most Valuable Companies
Also in October, social media giant and Facebook parent Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META) dropped out of the top 20 most valuable companies. Although Facebook once hit the trillion-dollar market cap, Meta was worth a relatively tame $270 billion as of two months ago. In perspective, the tech giant is currently barely worth more than pharmaceutical mainstay Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and beverage heavyweight Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO).
The Ethereum Merge
One of the crypto industry’s most defining and watershed moments this year was the Ethereum Merge in September. This development came with high expectations that the popular and widely versatile blockchain would usher in a new operational era.
The Merge saw Ethereum transition from the costly and energy-intensive proof-of-work model to the cheaper and ‘greener’ proof-of-stake protocol.
Meta Taps NFTs for Instagram
Meta became one of the leading social media platforms to incorporate the emerging possibilities of blockchain into its service value. In August, the Facebook parent announced the rollout of non-fungible token (NFT) support on Instagram in over 100 countries.
According to Meta at the time, its social media NFT initiative could be deployed on blockchains, including Ethereum, Flow, and Polygon.
Leading Businesses Boycott Russia and Slap Sanctions Following Ukraine Invasion
Several prominent Western businesses and corporations boycotted Russia for its decision to invade Ukraine in February this year. The list of companies that halted operations and exited the Eastern European nation cut across many industries. They included tech players Accenture (NYSE: ACN), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), and Nokia.
Russia also incurred a slew of heavy economic sanctions that systematically sought to cripple the country.
Elon Musk & Bernard Arnault Tussle Briefly for Title of ‘World’s Richest’
2022 also saw a temporary changing of the guard at the summit of the ‘world’s richest.’ This development came about when Musk briefly ceded his ‘world’s richest’ title to Louis Vuitton CEO Bernard Arnault.
Musk initially dropped to second place following a sizable drawdown in his personal net worth after acquiring Twitter. However, the Tesla CEO was able to reclaim the top spot a short while later.
Elon Musk has been the world’s wealthiest individual since September last year. As of early December, he had a net worth of $185.7 billion.
Oil Price Blues
Oil prices also constantly made the news due to the fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war. Crude fluctuated between astronomically high levels and lower lows as consumers felt the brunt of its sharp price changes.
Crypto Legalization in Ukraine, Brazil
Crypto saw increased adoption among several use cases in a number of countries. For instance, in March, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy officially signed digital currencies into law to aid financial efforts towards its strife with Russia.
Furthermore, last week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro approved a crypto regulation bill that facilitates crypto payments for goods and services.
Ronin Network Scandal
Despite the new possibilities crypto posed this year, recurring endemic problems also caused concerns. 2022 saw several crypto hacks and cybersecurity breaches as hackers exploited the novel technology. For instance, in August, reports covered the attackers who made away with $625 million from Axie Infinity’s Ronin Network. After stealing the massive sum in March, the hackers transferred the funds from the Ethereum blockchain to BTC.
Microsoft-Activision Deal on Hold
Tech giant Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) encountered resistance from the Federal Trade Commission in its bid to complete a $69 billion Activision (NASDAQ: ATVI) acquisition deal.
The FTC filed an antitrust against Microsoft, arguing that the company stood to gain an unfair advantage over competitors by owning Activision.