Crypto digest 2021: The top trends of 2021 and beyond
Cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry have enjoyed increased adoption, media attention, and value in 2021. Looking back on the year, we can point to the emergence of several exciting trends and emerging patterns in the crypto world. Could they tell us anything about what's to come in 2022? Here's what shook the crypto community just this past year.
New all-time highs
Hodlers enjoyed several high points for some of the biggest cryptocurrencies this year. Bitcoin (BTC) hit new all-time highs in quick succession as it grew over 200% over the year, reaching $67,000 in October and $69,000 in November.
Ethereum (ETH) also reached several all-time highs, capping at $4,891.70 in November. Along with these leading cryptos, many altcoins also enjoyed boosts in value, which have raised the bar for future valuations.
NFTs go mainstream
Non-fungible tokens were not invented in 2021, but this was the year they became part of the public discourse. The standout event was the sale of the NFT representing Everydays: The First 5000 Days by artist Mike Winkelman, AKA beeple, for $69 million at the renowned Christie's auction house in March.
This historic sale spurred a new interest in NFTs as investments and boosted the likes of CryptoPunks, CryptoKitties, Bored Ape and more. Now, all kinds of brands — whether in art, music, sports, gaming or other sectors — are creating and selling NFTs in a thriving marketplace. Many companies, especially the big gaming and entertainment media firms, are just getting into NFTs now, so 2022 will likely see more NFTs tied into mainstream entertainment.
SHIB and DOGE
How far can you take a joke? All the way to the moon, it seems! Thanks to the promotion of Elon Musk, the self-labelled 'dogefather', Dogecoin (DOGE) jumped from an obscure meme coin to a serious contender in the crypto space. Its runaway success inspired a wave of canine coins, with Shiba Inu (SHIB) being the most notable. SHIB surprised many by shooting up into the top 12 cryptos by market cap and reaching a valuation of $26 billion.
Although these meme coins started out as jokes, their new popularity has led to investors and companies backing the cryptos, such as Newegg accepting payment in SHIB. In 2022, these funny meme coins could actually be adopted for serious use cases.
Cryptocurrency's popularity and increased adoption have also led to greater awareness of its environmental footprint. Ecological concerns have been raised about the practices of many nations and industries across the world, and although crypto production was previously too small-scale to be of much import, the energy cost of mining Bitcoin has been a popular topic in the mainstream media throughout 2021.
The year also saw the formation of the Crypto Climate Accord, backed by major players in the blockchain industry. The future of cryptocurrency may well be marked by efforts for less energy-intensive mining processes, such as the cloud mining feature you can take advantage of in StormGain.
As cryptocurrency and blockchain networks become more popular, governments were always going to step in at some point, regulating either in support of or against cryptocurrencies in their jurisdiction. China probably had the biggest impact on crypto in 2021. The country banned crypto mining this year, causing a drop in the market as many large-scale mining operations shut down or relocated. On the other hand, this can also be seen as paving the way for the Digital Yuan, China's CBDC, that could prove a very influential centralised digital currency in the near future.
The year 2021 also saw the government of El Salvador wholeheartedly embrace Bitcoin. The South American country declared BTC to be legal tender in September, creating an official national crypto wallet and distributing $30 worth of Bitcoin to individuals in an effort to promote adoption. At the time of writing, El Salvador has purchased 1,981 BTC, with president Nayib Bukele proudly ‘buying the dip' along with many other crypto traders.
The beginning of the metaverse
The metaverse is the hot new buzzword in the tech industry, especially since Facebook rebranded as Meta. These virtual worlds will combine elements of VR, video games, social media and e-commerce, and they present exciting opportunities for cryptocurrency such as electronic cash for purchasing virtual items, NFTs to prove authenticity, DeFi apps for virtual economies and more.
So, will we all be buying up land in virtual reality next year and spending crypto on new clothes for our metaverse avatars? Maybe not in 2022, but the groundwork is being laid for something very exciting, and early adopters who back the right projects will be in a good position in the years to come. Metaverse tokens such as Axie Infinity (AXS) and Enjin Coin (ENJ) are already popular, but next year will likely see new metaverse-focused blockchain projects and coins that could prove interesting investments.
What's coming in 2022?
What can we expect for crypto going into next year? The ongoing situation with COVID-19 and its economic effects seem likely to uphold the tendency for BTC to serve as a haven against fiat currency devaluation. The trend toward increased adoption by institutions and retail investors also appears likely to continue as DeFi and metaverse projects mature.
CBDCs could also be released and legitimised in 2022, not just in China or the Caribbean but also in Europe. Sweden has announced the pilot program for its e-krona, set to roll out over the next five years.
All in all, 2022 looks as though it will be an exciting and dynamic year for crypto. The market could become very competitive, presenting interesting opportunities for traders and investors. One thing's for sure: StormGain will remain the top platform for all your crypto needs, bringing you the best perks and bonuses in the business to maximise your gains. Keep an eye on the StormGain page to avoid missing out on upcoming promotions to earn even more! If you're not a StormGain user yet, sign up here to join the all-in-one crypto platform in just a few seconds.