Crypto 2021 — the Year That Was: Ups and Downs That Had an Impact on the Market

The year in review of what has been an exciting year for crypto, despite the niggles along the way.

Crypto 2021 — the Year That Was: Ups and Downs That Had an Impact on the Market

2021 has been an exciting year for crypto investors


2021 has been the most amazing year in the history of crypto. As per PitchBook Data, the total market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies reached $3 trillion (roughly Rs. 2,25,36,058 crore) in 2021, as venture capital funds pumped in $30 billion (roughly Rs. 2,25,346 crore) into the market through the year. The top five bullish crypto events of 2021 were:

  1. In February, Tesla announced the purchase of $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 11257 crore) in Bitcoin. It also said t would take payments in Bitcoin. This led to Bitcoin's total market capitalisation crossing $1 trillion (roughly Rs. 75,04,768.69 crore) for the first time ever.
  2. In March, a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) of "Everydays: the First 5000 Days" from the digital artist Beeple (Mike Winkelmann) was auctioned for over $69 million (roughly Rs. 518 crore).
  3. In April, crypto exchange Coinbase was directly listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Its valuation peaked at a whopping $112 billion (roughly Rs. 8,40,534 crore).
  4. In June, El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele announced plans to make Bitcoin legal tender.
  5. In September, El Salvador officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender.

The upside

Here's how some of the top cryptos fared in 2021:

Cryptocurrency January 1, 2021
(Rounded Off)
December 25, 2021
(Rounded Off)
Bitcoin $29,374 (roughly Rs. 22.06 lakh) $51,000 (roughly Rs. 38.30 lakh)
Ether $730 (roughly Rs. 54,833) $4,000 (roughly Rs. 3 lakh)
Binance Coin $38 (roughly Rs. 2,853) $550 (roughly Rs. 41,308)
Solana $2 (roughly Rs. 150) $190 (roughly Rs. 14,270)
Cardano $0.2 (roughly Rs. 15) $1.5 (roughly Rs. 112)
Terra $0.7 (roughly Rs. 53) $97 (roughly Rs. 7,286)
Avalanche $4 (roughly Rs. 300) $116 (roughly Rs. 8,709)
Polkadot $8 (roughly Rs. 600) $29 (roughly Rs. 2,178)
Dogecoin $0.006 (roughly Rs. 0.45) $0.2 (roughly Rs. 15)
Polygon $0.02 (roughly Rs. 1.5) $2.5 (roughly Rs. 188)

Source: CoinMarketCap.com

In November, the overall market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies crossed $3 trillion (roughly Rs. 2,25,36,058 crore) for the first time ever.

2021 was a great year for meme coins, especially Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.

We have also seen a flurry of news around Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) with China leading the pack.

A prominent report found that 55 out of the top 100 banks in the world have some form of blockchain or crypto exposure in their portfolios.

The downside

On the bearish side, the largest crypto exchange Binance suffered many outages and also faced a ton of legal problems in many countries.

The year also saw a massive number of rug pulls, hacks and scams. Reuters estimated that Decentralised Finance (DeFi) platforms lost over $10 billion (roughly Rs. 75,047 crore) to frauds and scams.

The strangest was the massive $643 million (roughly Rs. 4,825 crore) hack on the Poly Network. The hacker returned all the funds!

A huge rug pull was the Squid Game token, which zoomed to a price of nearly $3,000 thanks to the coverage by top media houses like CNBC, Forbes, Business Insider, etc.

One of the biggest scams, $3.6 billion (roughly Rs. 27,017 crore) , was carried out by brothers Raees and Ameer Cajee who operated the South Africa company Africrypt.

A crypto phishing scam targetted users of crypto wallets MetaMask and Phantom, and the crypto swap platform PancakeSwap.

The US law enforcement agency, FBI, warned of frauds that leveraged crypto ATMs and QR codes.

Other losses include:

  • Liquidity pool provider MonoX: $30 million (roughly Rs. 225 crore)
  • Decentralised Autonomous Organisation BadgerDAO: $120 million (roughly Rs. 900 crore)
  • DeFi protocol bZx: $55 million (roughly Rs. 412 crore)
  • AnubisDAO phishing attack: $60 million (roughly Rs. 450 crore)

The Solana Blockchain had its share of problems. First, it went down for 17 hours and later suffered a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

Bitcoin SV faced multiple 51 percent attacks.

We also saw major crypto crashes in 2021 - Internet Computer (ICP) lost 93 percent in just over a month, IRON Titanium Token (TITAN) went from $52.46 (roughly Rs. 3,937) to $0.00000003 (roughly Rs. 0.0002) in barely 10 days and SafeDollar (SDO), a stable coin suddenly went to zero.

Two crypto exchanges collapsed in Turkey. The first was Thodex, whose CEO disappeared with $2 billion (roughly Rs. 15,009 crore) of investors' funds. The second was Vebitcoin, which stopped activities after facing "financial strain". Two Australian crypto exchanges, Mycryptowallet and ACX, also shut down and cost their investors millions.

Rohas Nagpal is the author of the Future Money Playbook and Chief Blockchain Architect at the Wrapped Asset Project. He is also an amateur boxer and a retired hacker. You can follow him on LinkedIn.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.
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