Cointelegraph Consulting: Crypto events of 2021 in retrospect

The 12 months 2021 is coming to a detailed, and if there’s one method to describe how the cryptocurrency trade fared up to now 12 months, it could be momentous development. 

Main cryptocurrencies shattered earlier information, adoption grew, new sectors sprouted and novel blockchain use circumstances made important breakthroughs.

The Market Perception’s newest version recollects the occasions coated in previous points in addition to deep-dive matters in Cointelegraph Analysis’s trade stories.

DeFi and Altcoins

Two of the highest gainers of 2021 have been Solana (SOL) and Terra (LUNA). SOL gained 9,500%, whereas LUNA gained 13,000%. Important investments and ecosystem development catalyzed the immense features for the 2 tokens. One may additionally argue that the 2 being billed as potential “Ethereum killers” had an element in contributing to their large rallies.

Within the decentralized finance (DeFi) scene, the 2 tokens sit among the many high 5 in whole worth locked (TVL). Solana is at No. 5 with $11.45 billion, and LUNA has just lately surpassed Binance Coin (BNB) for the No. 2 spot with $18.9 billion, in line with Defi Llama. Furthermore, the rising ecosystems of Solana and Terra deserve a deeper look, which is why they’re the topic of Cointelegraph Analysis’s upcoming stories.

DeFi adopted an identical development trajectory because the broader crypto market in 2021. 

Competitors has undoubtedly elevated for Ethereum. Its TVL share was 97% in January however is at present right down to 62.54%, per Defi Llama. The following part of improvement for the sector comes into query in 2022, particularly for the reason that development of DeFi this 12 months has been so substantial that authorities have switched from denying the trade to grappling with methods to cope with it. 

The DeFi market capitalization stays a small fraction of the general cryptocurrency market cap, nevertheless it underwent the identical development trajectory. Some consider that integration with legacy banking may very well be one of many predominant focuses for DeFi in 2022.


Nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, discovered their breakout 12 months in 2021 regardless of current since 2014. The majority of gross sales got here up to now 12 months, surpassing $14 billion in December. Digital artwork collections and digital collectibles dominate 91% of those gross sales volumes, which is likely one of the key information revealed on this report.

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The gross sales within the first half of the 12 months have been pushed primarily by particular person artists becoming a member of the house with their respective collections and a few high-profile gross sales, whereas the second half introduced in additional mainstream manufacturers.

For example, Coca-Cola auctioned a wearable bubble jacket pores and skin in Decentraland, and Visa bought its first NFT. Such participation from these manufacturers enabled the NFT market to return into full bloom. The report additionally revealed that essentially the most worthwhile NFT assortment in 2021 was “CryptoPunks.” A “CryptoPunk” NFT presents a greater all-time common return on funding in comparison with NFTs on different in style collections, equivalent to “CryptoKitties” and “Bored Ape Yacht Membership.”

NFTs have additionally disrupted the gaming trade and develop into key to totally realizing the idea of metaverses by their blockchain properties. Nonetheless, some critics doubt that the parabolic surge in 2021 will play out in 2022, particularly with extra regulatory scrutiny. 

Nonetheless, this 12 months’s quantity of enterprise capital investments funneled into NFT firms is past sizable. NFT funding in 2021 is already at $2.1 billion as of Q3, but practically 40% of VC deal actions contain solely a single agency in Andreessen Horowitz, according to PitchBook. Subsequently, as gross sales and curiosity for NFTs proceed to develop, it could be tough for companies with a thirst for top development potential to withstand NFTs.


2021 has been progressive within the cryptocurrency regulatory entrance. The 117th United States Congress has launched 35 payments that concentrate on cryptocurrency regulation, blockchain coverage and central financial institution digital currencies. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed his views that cryptocurrency is just not a major risk to the U.S. monetary market’s stability. Nonetheless, a probable dialogue that might seep into subsequent 12 months is the regulation on stablecoins.

The President’s Working Group on Monetary Markets has stated in a report that stablecoins may very well be a helpful various fee possibility however are “topic to acceptable oversight.” At present, there are not any rules on stablecoins, whilst their market capitalization handed $162 billion as of this writing, however a invoice proposed by Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis may very well be a step in that route.

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Lummis plans to introduce a complete invoice in 2022 that can present regulatory readability on stablecoins, information regulators round asset courses and provide shopper protections. Cryptocurrency regulation can be a speaking level in 2022 and also will be a subject that the Cointelegraph Analysis workforce can be analyzing additional.


It’s virtually sure that everybody within the house agrees that Axie Infinity revolutionized gaming. The play-to-earn mannequin was an enormous hit, because it added actual earnings potential to enjoying video video games. Information shows how play-to-earn decentralized functions (DApps) dominated the latter half of 2021 by way of linked, distinctive, energetic pockets addresses. And since September, gaming tokens equivalent to The Sandbox (SAND), Axie Infinity (AXS), Enjin (ENJ), Illuvium (ILV) and Extremely (UOS) have even beat out Bitcoin in features, as revealed on this publication’s earlier concern.

The gaming sector took the helm from DeFi that noticed essentially the most addresses linked within the first seven months of the 12 months. The 2 DApp classes birthed a brand new sector, GameFi, which is believed to be the following logical step in blockchain improvement. Crypto-based video games already allow customers to have management over their in-game property by way of NFTs, however the parts of DeFi may take it to a different stage. Incorporating DeFi would imply that options equivalent to staking can be out there to customers the place they’ll earn curiosity of their tokens.

But, the sector remains to be in its early phases, however its enchantment lies inside its attractiveness to customers who might not essentially be cryptocurrency holders. Attracting such customers may additional contribute to extra cryptocurrency adoption, which can probably be its point of interest for GameFi in 2022.


With the developments in 2021, cryptocurrencies have been in a position to captivate a wider viewers in comparison with the 12 months earlier than. In simply the second quarter, international adoption has grown 880% since 2020, Chainalysis information exhibits. And the important thing occasions talked about above are probably contributing components to cryptocurrencies going extra mainstream. The NFT enterprise capital actions said earlier symbolize solely 7% of the $30 billion poured into crypto-related investments in 2021.

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However regardless of the obvious development, cryptocurrency possession stays comparatively low. TripleA estimates the worldwide cryptocurrency possession fee to be at a mean of three.9%. Ukraine, Russia and Venezuela are the highest international locations, with no less than 10% of their inhabitants proudly owning cryptocurrencies.

Regardless of rising adoption, cryptocurrency possession stays comparatively low worldwide. 

The low possession charges imply substantial room for development, which is why a CAGR of 60.8% from 2021 to 2026 for the cryptocurrency market might have some advantage. This 12 months, the worth of the cryptocurrency market has already grown from $364.5 billion final 12 months to greater than $2.5 trillion — a 586% surge. And within the coming 12 months, the brand new sectors in GameFi and maybe property associated to Web3 may presumably be new avenues for continued development. 

Tokenization of sure securities may additionally occur on a a lot bigger scale, and it’s even predicted to be the norm by 2030. Moreover, the prevalence of cryptocurrencies for funds may be one other space with untapped potential, which can be explored additional in one other upcoming report.

Predicting what sectors in 2022 are poised for a similar breakthrough that NFTs had this 12 months can be tough, if not, unimaginable. Nonetheless, stories that fastidiously examine and go in-depth about sure matters would provide a greater manner of understanding the nuances of a particular sector.

Cointelegraph’s Market Insights Publication shares our information on the basics that transfer the digital asset market. The publication dives into the most recent information on social media sentiment, on-chain metrics and derivatives.

We additionally assessment the trade’s most vital information, together with mergers and acquisitions, modifications within the regulatory panorama, and enterprise blockchain integrations. Join now to be the primary to obtain these insights. All previous editions of Market Insights are additionally out there on

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