- 2021 has been a crazy year for crypto; its value jumped to $ 2.3 trillion from less than $ 800 billion.
- Experts expect a growing adoption of crypto and decoupling between bitcoin and altcoins in 2022.
- Insider has compiled their price predictions, altcoin recommendations, and top radar trends.
By all indications, 2021 has been a crazy year for cryptocurrencies, which saw their total market value climb to $ 2.3 trillion, from just under $ 800 billion at the start of the year.
Fueled by growing institutional adoption, bitcoin hit a new all-time high of nearly $ 69,000 as companies including MicroStrategy, You’re here, and To block (formerly Square) added digital currency to its balance sheets. El Salvador became the first country to adopt bitcoins as legal tender, alongside the US dollar, attracting the interests of other nations to follow the same path.
Celebrities, star athletes and even the mayors of Miami and New York have chosen to take some, if not all, of their paychecks in bitcoin.
But 2021 wasn’t all about bitcoin. Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency, also hit a new all-time high of nearly $ 4,900, driven by explosive growth in decentralized finance, non-fungible tokens, and metaverse-related activity on the network.
For the industry, this year has been marked by record milestones. In March, an NFT artwork by digital artist Beeple sold for over $ 69 million. In April, Coinbase became the first US-based crypto exchange to be publicly listed on the Nasdaq exchange. In May, the crypto market collapsed after Tesla CEO Elon Musk stopped accepting bitcoin as a payment method, citing the massive amount of energy spent mining bitcoin. Along the way, even coins, including Musk’s favorite dogecoin coin and rival shiba inu coin, have exploded in popularity.
Over the summer, layer one protocols such as solana, avalanche, and algorand competed to become the fastest, cheapest, and most scalable platform for developers. Decentraland and the Metaverse related sandbox gained widespread recognition overnight after Facebook decided to rename “Meta.” Captivated by the abundance of crypto opportunities, venture capitalists flocked to a record $ 30 billion in blockchain companies eager to usher in the so-called Web 3.0 era.
Of course, with greater visibility comes greater responsibilities. The crypto industry still has a lot of serious issues to tackle over the coming year. In 2021, crooks stole $ 7.7 billion in cryptocurrency from victims, up 81% from the previous year, according to Channel analysis. Meanwhile, controversies over whether certain stable coins pegged to the US dollar are fully backed by their dollar reserves have put the industry in hot water with US regulators.
As discussions of an impending crypto winter have surfaced recently, analysts, investors and industry executives expect to see further integration of crypto in 2022 as stadiums are renamed after crypto companies and NFTs continue to integrate into pop culture.
Insider spoke to nine of them and compiled their predictions below.
James Faris, Kari McMahon and George Glover contributed to this story.