CoinDesk 2021 Annual Crypto Review

Thanks to 2021, most people have at least heard of crypto by now – not just Bitcoin and Ethereum, but altcoins like DOGE and SHIB, as well as terms like NFTs and the metaverse. In CoinDesk Research’s 2021 Annual Crypto Review, we aim to summarize some of the key themes and metrics that marked the past year’s progress in cryptocurrency markets.

AccessTimeIconJan 6, 2022 at 1:58 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 3, 2023 at 4:32 p.m. UTC

Overall, 2021 was an extraordinary year for the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.

Bitcoin and Ethereum asset prices touched all-time highs while over $20 billion of venture capital and funding flowed into crypto companies. Coinbase went public, more bitcoin made its way onto MicroStrategy’s balance sheet, and a bitcoin ETF finally began trading in the United States.

Meanwhile, traditional businesses, professional athletes and celebrities were aping into NFTs, as DeFi took the virtual world by storm with promises to remake the legacy financial system.

Politicians routinely discussed crypto policy, China banned bitcoin mining and crypto trading, and a sovereign nation made bitcoin legal tender.

On the tech front, Bitcoin and Ethereum implemented protocol-wide improvements as legitimate layer 1 smart contract competitors to Ethereum began making waves.

All this and more are explored in the CoinDesk 2021 Annual Crypto Review.


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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

George Kaloudis

George Kaloudis was a research analyst and columnist for CoinDesk.

Edward Oosterbaan

Edward was an analyst on the CoinDesk Research team focusing on Ethereum and DeFi. He holds ETH, AVAX, OHM and a small amount of other cryptocurrencies.