In 2021, net crypto capitalization spiked to historic highs, NFT commissioners made ten-digit fortunes, GameFi tokens and IDO ‘gems’ rallied 200x. As such, choosing the most influential trends of 2021 is not an easy task.

Regulatory crackdown on crypto gained steam; Bitcoin miners were under fire

Never ever cryptocurrency enthusiasts expected support from governments across the globe. But in 2021, watchdogs and politics of dozens of countries – both democratic and authoritarian – attacked crypto on all fronts.

Great Chinese Bitcoin ban in Q1, 2021 was the most notable ‘battle’ of this war. Since 2021, all crypto-related operations and mining of all Proof-of-Work coins are strictly prohibited in China.

Also, in Q2, 2021, many watchdogs – from UK to Australia, South Africa, and Singapore – issued statements to emphasize that Binance, the largest crypto ecosystem in the world, is not authorized to perform any financial operations in mentioned countries.

At the same time, this ban demonstrated that in 2021, crypto isn’t something than can be restricted by court order. As we covered in GetBlock, Bitcoin miners successfully moved their equipment overseas in just four months as Bitcoin hashrate fully recovered.

Additionally, attacks on centralized services stimulated crypto newsbies to study decentralized finances (DeFi) protocols, starting from PancakeSwap and Uniswap DEXes.

NFT frenzy took Web3 space by storm

‘NFT’ is the word of 2021, at least for the enthusiasts of the cryptocurrencies segment. Non-fungible tokens (or digital collectibles) went far beyond the scope of being just ‘Cryptokitties’, i.e. ‘pet rocks’ for the clutch of Ethereum nerds.

By the end of this year, the most popular NFT collections – Crypto Punks and Bored Apes Yacht Club – see their most expensive assets valued over ten millions dollars. Numerous influencers and celebrities – including award-winning director Quentin Tarantino – jumped on this bandwagon.
And this is only the beginning – the NFT sphere is ready to unleash the unparalleled opportunities for ‘serious’ use-cases in finances, insurance, supply chain tracking and authenticity verification.

Metaverses are here to stay

GameFi, metaverses, Play-to-Earn protocols – typically, these terms are used similarly to each other describing online games built around NFTs and cryptocurrency transactions. Largely, they belong to the MMORPG genre when the land and in-game assets are represented as NFTs.

Also, these protocols can integrate basic DeFi primitives such as the opportunity to collateralize in-game value or to yield farm on core native assets.

Axie Infinity and The Sandbox are two most popular metaverse-centric games (their figureheads are named Persons of the Year by GetBlock, have a look)!

Finally, the hype around metaverses is catalyzed by the decision of Mark Zuckerberg to re-brand his Facebook into Meta.

Lines between DeFi and TradFi are blurred

Last but not least, in 2021, the segment saw a lot of crucial ‘intersections’ of decentralized and traditional finances. In early April, leading U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase went public through direct listing of COIN shares on NASDAQ.

For many, this listing is one more evidence of ‘mass adoption’ of cryptocurrencies by mainstream financial institutions.

Also, first Bitcoin futures ETFs were approved in the U.S. in October.

Both events will highly likely catalyze the fresh wave of institutional capital inflow into Bitcoin products.

That’s it for 2021, so, stay tuned for our top ideas for 2022 in crypto!