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Here are our top 10 picks of the most important events that happened in the crypto world in 2021.
The year 2021 was a very eventful year in terms of crypto news as the industry saw a mix of ups and downs borne out of institutional entry into the space, regulatory irregularities, and more. The industry reacted on all fronts in different ways with Bitcoin (BTC) charting its own course and some altcoins decoupling from the impact of the premier coin.
The industry saw a number of trends emerge including NFTs, Metaverse, both of which complements the fast growth seen in the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem in the previous year. The crypto ecosystem also saw record venture capital funding this year as investors look for promising projects to back in hope of a profitable, metaverse-driven future.
As it is customary with Coinspeaker, we look back through the year and surveyed the industry for the biggest crypto news of the year. Here are our top 10 picks.
Bitcoin Price Hits New ATH
As far as the crypto industry is concerned, Bitcoin remains the most-watched digital currency. The coin did not disappoint its investors as it inked a series of All-Time Highs (ATH) this year beginning with the $29,374 it opened the year with after a well boosted December 2020 runup. Bitcoin was pumped to new heights following the $1.5 billion purchase of the coin by American electric vehicle company, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) back in February.
Beyond these early events, Bitcoin rose organically to an ATH above $66,000 in the fourth quarter, lending hopes to the projection that the coin is billed for more ambitious price levels.
Crypto Market ATH and Record Venture Funding
The global digital currency ecosystem’s market capitalization also attained an ATH of $2.6 trillion, riding on the back of boosted Bitcoin price growth. The record market cap presented a number of assertions, one of which is the potential of the crypto industry to surpass the market cap of Gold which sits comfortably beyond $11.4 trillion according to data from CompaniesMarketCap.
2021 already heralded a record amount in venture capital funding which topped $4,891.70 $30 billion this year. Beneficiaries of this funding include trading platforms like FTX Derivatives Exchange, DeFi platform 1Inch Exchange as well as numerous payment, NFT, and Metaverse-focused startups.
Ethereum Price ATH and a Road to Ethereum 2.0
Ethereum, the world’s most congested blockchain network also recorded a series of milestones this year beginning with its ATH push. The coin rose to a high of $4,891.70 following a series of successive upshoots per Coinspeaker’s report.
Ethereum also re-adjusted its protocol in line with its plans to float Ethereum 2.0, its Proof-of-Stake (PoS) version. A major move was the launch of the London Hardfork (EIP 1559) back in August which turned Ether into a deflationary asset through a gradual fee-burning mechanism. According to Etherchain, 1304499.6 ETH has been burnt thus far and it is worth approximately $4.8 billion.
The Rise of Memecoins
The review of the biggest news in 2021 will not be complete unless due credence is given to memecoins. Beginning with Dogecoin (DOGE) which saw new highs, thanks in part to a massive early-year push from Elon Musk, the Shiba Inu-themed token soared to an ATH of $0.7376 back in May and ranked amongst the top 10 digital currencies for a relatively long period of time.
Beyond Dogecoin, other memecoins including Shiba Inu, Floki Inu, Akita Inu, and many others also emerged, printing thousands of percentage profits to reward their community. While the majority of these memecoins started as a joke, developers are now beginning to add additional features such as NFTs, P2E, wallets, and exchanges to give more value to their community worldwide.
Regulation: SEC vs Ripple, Stablecoins
The digital currency ecosystem experienced a number of regulatory challenges this year particularly from China and the United States. The regulatory uncertainty in the US pitched the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Ripple Labs over the sales of XRP coins which the regulator termed was conducted as security. Chinese authorities banned Bitcoin and mining activities, an event that significantly decreased the price of digital assets for a while.
At present, the President Biden administration is also pushing the US Congress to regulate stablecoins which are now largely being used in funds transactions even beyond the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
New Stars in Top 10 Crypto List: BNB, SOL, ADA, etc
The rankings of the top cryptocurrencies also saw a complete reorganization this year with new promising coins admitted into the top 10 clubs. Binance Coin (BNB) sits in the third position with Cardano (ADA), Solana (SOL), Terra (LUNA), Polkadot (DOT) also maintaining their stance as top-performing coins despite the incessant corrections the market experienced.
The Rise of NFTs
This year can be better tagged as the year of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) as Beeple’s historical NFT opening to the year heralded a wave of high profile blockchain-imprinted digital collectible sales. Last week, Coinspeaker published the list of the top ten NFT sales of the year, a piece that gave insight into how far the ecosystem pioneered by collections as CryptoPunks has grown in the past years.
The Rise of Play-to-Earn Trend
A prominent evolution that was also experienced in the course of the year is the Play-2-Earn (P2E) trend that was notably brought to the limelight by Axie Infinity. Blockchain developers and innovators notably found a way to intercept both NFTs and gaming, both intertwined for the benefit of players. This trend is still notably developing and we are bound to see clearer directions in the coming year.
Mainstream Players Venturing into Crypto Payments
From Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: PYPL) to Mastercard Inc (NYSE: MA) to Visa Inc (NYSE: V), there has been a prominent involvement of traditional payment processing firms and fintech into the crypto payments ecosystem.
This is a way to showcase how grown the crypto industry is and highlights the ease with which both crypto and traditional industries can be integrated if there is the willingness of all stakeholders to work together.
Coinbase IPO and First Bitcoin ETF
Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ: COIN) topped several news charts when it went public back in April via a direct listing. The company’s record-breaking market debut sent hope and assurances to smaller firms, including Bakkt Holdings Inc (NYSE: BKKT) most of which trailed Coinbase’s path in going public.
Investors’ clamor for a Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund was also answered under Gary Gensler led-SEC this year. While a full-blown spot Bitcoin ETF is still quite distant, the SEC approved ProShares Bitcoin Futures ETF ‘BITO’ for trading on the NYSE back in October. Earlier this month, Coinspeaker also reported that Fidelity Investments floated its first spot Bitcoin ETF in Canada.
This series of investment products now offer investors a wide range of options to get exposure to Bitcoin other than holding the digital currency directly.