The Biggest Winners and Losers from 2021's Crypto Year

2021 was a pretty big year for the crypto industry - hitting numerous milestones and introducing new knowledge across the globe.

The Biggest Winners and Losers from 2021's Crypto Year

That isn't to say there weren't disappointments. Certain aspects didn't quite live up to expectations. Writing out a definitive list would be a herculean task, but several interesting points are worth noting.

2021's Crypto Winners

Dogecoin

Dogecoin might not have recorded the biggest gains of the year, but there's no denying 2021 was a smash hit for the dog-themed cryptocurrency.

Riding on the back of celebrity endorsements and Elon Musk's tweets, DOGE hit some unprecedented highs. At its all-time high of $0.74, DOGE gained 18,400 percent on the year.

It has yet to reclaim that spot, but it's obvious the coin means business. All eyes will be on DOGE in 2022 as Tesla looks to start selling merch and accepting the coin for payments.

Ethereum killers

The Ethereum blockchain has been the go-to source for anyone looking to build decentralized applications (dApps) in the blockchain space. But, the blockchain has been plagued by several issues - primarily rising gas fees and transaction delays.

Sensing an opportunity, several other blockchains began to tout themselves as alternatives.

Solana and Cardano made huge strides this year, attracting some heavy hitters. These blockchains - known as "Ethereum killers" - were largely successful due to developer incentives. Their coins jumped significantly this year, with tokens like SOL and ADA delivering outsized returns across the board.

Coinbase

Already the largest exchange in North America, Coinbase became the first crypto company to list on a major American stock exchange in 2021.

In April, Coinbase was listed on the NASDAQ. The company's stock currently trades at $256.34, its market cap standing at $67 billion. By listing on the NASDAQ, Coinbase showed that crypto has truly become mainstream. More initial public offerings (IPOs) are expected in 2022.

El Salvador

This year, El Salvador became the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender. Nayib Bukele, El Salvador's charismatic president, has done all he can to boost crypto adoption - from airdropping $30 in BTC to all adults in the country to building a fully functional Bitcoin City.

For now, the reception to El Salvador's Bitcoin law has been mixed. With the country already investing millions of dollars in Bitcoin, it stands to gain a lot when the asset starts to rally.

FTX

FTX is currently the world's second-largest crypto derivatives exchange, trailing only Binance. The company ascended to this lofty plateau just two years after it was founded.

FTX closed $900 million in funding back in July. The funding round valued the exchange at $18 billion, making CEO Sam Bankman-Fried the wealthiest person in crypto.

NFT Marketplaces

From OpenSea to Rarible to Nifty Gateway and more, NFT marketplaces are all the rage. These platforms make it possible for people to mint, buy, and sell NFTs without so much as a single ounce of coding skills.

NFTs became a worldwide phenomenon in 2021, and activities ballooned. OpenSea, the largest of these marketplaces, processed over $10 billion worth of transactions. The sky is only the beginning for these platforms.

The Biggest Losers

Nigerian Regulators

In February, the Central Bank of Nigeria published a press release confirming it would restrict the activity of crypto traders and enthusiasts from its banking sector - a big blow to exchanges and businesses across the country.

Regardless, Nigerian crypto enthusiasts still believe in digital assets. Top local exchanges such as Quidax, BuyCoins, and Patricia have been able to work around the ban and are still providing services to their customers.

Hope for Regulation

Many believed that the Biden administration would offer a proper regulatory regime for crypto. But we're nearly one year into office, and nothing has shaped up.

Congress has held several meetings - including a recent one with top crypto executives. Still, nothing concrete has developed. Crypto regulation has made little progress since Trump, but we remain optimistic.

Meta

Formerly known as Facebook, Meta launched plans for a stablecoin - called Libra at the time - in June 2019. However, massive pushback from regulators has left the company unable to progress.

Even after rebranding Libra to Diem, Meta's past privacy indiscretions continue to hinder forward movement. Two and a half years after it was announced, Diem is still nowhere to be found.

It's worth noting that Meta isn't giving up. The company has started testing its wallet service Novi and has inked a custody partnership with Coinbase. We'll see what 2022 brings.

Iron Finance

Iron Finance was making waves as a stablecoin project. Sadly, it didn't last. Iron suffered a significant bank run in the middle of the year, causing the price of its TITAN token to fall to zero.

A report from CipherTrace revealed that Iron Finance lacked a price stabilizing mechanism. When the drops came, they wiped out the product and its token. For those investors who might want to put money into a hot project, Iron Finance served as a warning note.


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