Crypto events of 2021 in retrospect

The year 2021 is drawing to a close, and if there’s one way to describe how the cryptocurrency industry has fared over the past 12 months, that would be significant growth.

Major cryptocurrencies have broken previous records, adoption has increased, new sectors have sprouted, and new blockchain use cases have made significant inroads.

The latest edition of Market Insight recalls events covered in previous issues as well as in-depth topics in industry reports from Cointelegraph Research.

DeFi and Altcoins

Two of the top 2021 winners were Solana (SOL) and Terra (LUNA). SOL gained 9,500%, while LUNA gained 13,000%. Large investments and the growth of the ecosystem catalyzed the immense gains for both tokens. It could also be argued that the two, billed as potential ‘Ethereum killers’, contributed to their massive rallies.

In the decentralized finance (DeFi) scene, the two tokens are in the top five in terms of total locked-in value (TVL). Solana is at No.5 with $ 11.45 billion, and LUNA recently passed Binance Coin (BNB) for second place with $ 18.9 billion, according to Defi Llama. Additionally, the emerging ecosystems of Solana and Terra merit further examination, which is why they are the subject of future Cointelegraph Research reports.

DeFi has followed a similar growth path to the broader crypto market in 2021.

Competition has undoubtedly increased for Ethereum. Its TVL share was 97% in January but is currently down to 62.54%, per Defi Llama. The next phase of the industry’s development is in question in 2022, especially since DeFi’s growth this year has been so significant that authorities have moved from denying the industry to finding ways to address it. .

DeFi’s market cap remains a small fraction of the cryptocurrency’s overall market cap, but it has undergone the same growth trajectory. Some believe that integration with traditional banking services could be one of DeFi’s main goals in 2022.


Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, found their breakthrough year in 2021 despite having been around since 2014. The bulk of sales have been in the past 12 months, surpassing $ 14 billion in December. Digital art collections and digital collectibles dominate 91% of these sales volumes, which is one of the key data revealed in this report.

Sales for the first half of the year were mostly driven by individual artists who joined the space with their respective collections and a few high profile sales, while the second half attracted more traditional brands.

For example, Coca-Cola auctioned off a wearable bubble jacket skin to Decentraland, and Visa bought its first NFT. This participation of these brands has allowed the NFT market to flourish. The report also revealed that the top-grossing NFT collection in 2021 was “CryptoPunks”. A “CryptoPunk” NFT offers an all-time best average return on investment compared to NFTs from other popular collections, such as “CryptoKitties” and “Bored Ape Yacht Club”.