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2021 Crypto Year in Review
New ATHs, the Axie Infinity phenomenon, joining YGG, finding hidden porn in a government agency website, starting the Cryptopop Art Guild … it’s the Cryptoday 2021 Year-ender!
To say that 2021 was a crazy year in crypto would be an understatement, but yeah, let’s start with that: 2021 was a crazy year in crypto. For my final Cryptoday newsletter of the year, I’ll be doing a retrospective on the year that was, as well as writing down a few predictions for 2022.
Most people forget that the bull run of this cycle actually began in Q4 2020, with Bitcoin capping off that year at $30,000. It would eventually go on to double that number with a jaw-dropping $67,000 ATH in November 2021. Ethereum lagged behind at <$1000 but quickly caught up with its own ATH in May ($4,100) followed by a lengthy retrace that would only bounce back and crest in November at $4,800. Neither crypto is currently anywhere near their respective ATHs, but both are net-positive for the year.
Amongst the rest of the billion-dollar club, two other coins defined this supercycle: $SOL and $AXS. Both coins are best-in-class in their respective arenas: high-throughput layer-1 in the case of Solana, and play-to-earn economics for Axie Shards. They both began the year with prices in the $1.00 range ($AXS was at $0.50) and both pumped out over 100x returns for their investors. Cardano began the year with some promise, but ultimately lacked the technological differentiators necessary to maintain the market’s interest. $ADA closes its 2021 books at a relatively modest 6x profit, while a much younger competitor, Avalanche, has so far 10x’d, breaching $100 for the first time in late November and trading in that same range as I write this.
The biggest story of 2021 is undoubtedly that of Axie Infinity, and I’ve talked about this topic at length in so many previous letters that I thought I’d take a step back and just emphasize why it’s such a big deal for us crypto old-timers. In May 2018, I was at Consensus NYC watching well-known Bitcoin maximalist Jimmy Song in a debate against Consensys founder Joe Lubin. Live on that main stage, the two men made a $500,000 bet that in four years’ time, there would not be a single Ethereum-based app that had more than 10,000 daily active users. We won’t know the final results of the bet until next year, but it was so interesting to me how different the crypto community was back then. The average Bitcoiner did not think DeFi, P2E, or NFTart would ever matter, and the ensuing social media chatter on that bet was divisive, to say the least. We know now of course that three years after that bet, there aren’t just multiple Ethereum apps that see more than 10k DAU, but we even see those numbers on younger blockchains like BSC, Solana, and Avalanche. If Jimmy Song loses that bet — and given that we’re seeing 2M DAU on Axie Infinity alone these days, it’s looking pretty certain that he will — it could go down in history as the single most quantifiably-incorrect call anyone has ever made on the dynamics of crypto adoption.
2021 has also been a pretty intense year for me on a personal level too. In January, we soft-launched BloomX, a retail crypto trading website built with Binance technology. In March, my NFTart collaboration with Jose Delbo made over $400,000 on NiftyGateway. The following month, my CurioCards project blew up on Opensea in a really big way, eventually seeing over $100M in total sales volume. In May, I retired the BloomCast, the crypto news show that I had been hosting every Tuesday since the lockdown started, after 48 fun but exhausting episodes. In July, I discovered hidden pornography in an official government agency website, while attempting to lobby for regulatory lenience in the importation of Trezor hardware wallets. In September, I left my startup BloomX to join Yield Guild Games as its Philippine Country Manager. That same month, I launched the Axie Archipelago project and the Cryptopop Art Guild (CPAG). The latter is a new guild concept attempting to support 200 underprivileged Filipino artists with Play-to-Earn income while helping them become successful NFT artists. In October, CurioCards made history as the first art collection to ever be auctioned off at Christies in exchange for ETH, with the winning bid exceeding $1M equivalent. In November, my collaboration with Heart Evangelista was auctioned off on Opensea for a total of 3.6M pesos. And finally, this December, we raised over a million dollars in donations for victims of Typhoon Odette, which destroyed over 50,000 homes here in the Philippines. The official announcements will go out after Jan 1, but as of this morning we have successfully sent financial assistance to over 1,600 affected households across the country.
But back to the markets: where is crypto heading in 2022? We may see an uptick in January as institutional traders take new positions, but I think that we'll see a flat market for at least the first half of the year. I’m still looking towards Ethereum 2.0 to kick off a new hype cycle as the mainstream media recasts blockchains as finally being “environmentally friendly.” The play-to-earn space has been undergoing its own hype cycle at a different cadence from the broader crypto world, and in 2022, a ton of fresh money in the play-to-earn space will start to bear fruit. Our roadmap for YGG Pilipinas is some of the most insane stuff I've ever helped conceptualize, and we've got exciting developments with AxieArchipelago, CPAG, and my own personal art collaborations all happening simultaneously too. Q1 2022 is going to make the entirety of 2021 look like a dress rehearsal. 🤣
See you all next year, cryptofam! I hope you use the holidays to reflect on the year that was and think about what your biggest goals for 2022 should be. We’re all in this together, and wagmi :)