Michelle is the CEO of the Association for Digital Asset Markets, which works in partnership with financial firms and regulatory experts to devise a code of conduct for digital asset markets.
“2021 was the year Washington woke up to the digital assets industry. The year started with the rushed FinCEN “Unhosted Wallets” proposal, which the industry was able to voice its concerns and delay. At the same time, pro-digital asset Senator Cynthia Lummis joined the Senate.
As the Biden Administration got up to speed on digital assets, it seemed like all of Washington was studying the industry in some shape or form. Then came the Infrastructure Bill, which contained a rushed provision defining a broker for tax reporting purposes. This flawed language unleashed digital asset supporters from all segments of U.S. society and made it clear that policymakers and regulators need to act carefully and consider innovation as a key pillar of their decisions.
The year culminated on a highly positive note with the early December crypto CEOs hearing in front of the House Financial Services Committee. Lawmakers were surprisingly warm to all participants and were genuinely interested in the innovation benefits that can be harnessed in Web 3.0. The hearing went a long way to legitimizing crypto in DC, similar to how bank CEOs appear in front of Congress on a yearly basis.
Looking to 2022, lawmakers are starting to realize the long term benefits this industry can provide to the United States, and this, combined with the Biden administration being in office for a year, now presents a real window to get something done on a bipartisan basis to advance the industry and provide guardrails for market integrity and consumer protection. I expect to see a responsible public policy framework developed, from which the industry can flourish and the U.S. can benefit.”
Hatu is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of DAO Maker, which creates growth technologies and funding frameworks for startups while simultaneously reducing risks for investors.
“2021 has been a stop-start year for crypto and DeFi, as regulatory bodies have not clarified their stance on the industry. This has held back the retail population from getting involved, and this is a huge opportunity cost for the industry. However, with El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender and more countries embracing crypto, the future looks brighter.
In 2021, yes, there have been multiple deliberations at various levels regarding crypto and its regulatory status. Governments and regulatory authorities across the globe have expressed reservations against the mainstreaming of crypto. However, they also realize the industry is maturing and currently is even too big to have a blanket ban imposed.
I believe blockchain technology must be nowhere near the regulatory scheme of things, as the tech and its applications supersede the need for oversight. They bring much-needed facets like transparency and decentralization to the forefront. Regulating blockchain technology will only adversely impact our evolution as a society.
Apart from this, in 2022, I expect more acceptance on the regulatory front as crypto aims to revolutionize the financial system across the globe with DeFi. Crypto forensics is on the rise, and I expect it to be adopted by governments to safeguard their citizens.
Regulations are necessary for crypto in 2022, but restrictions are not.”
Alex is a writer, speaker, investor and adviser focused on the impact of emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies. He is the general manager of Ninepoint Digital Assets Group, an investment management services provider in the field of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
“I think 2022 is the year of multichain. 2021 saw the rise of new layer-one protocols like Solana and Avalanche that promised to improve on Ethereum with faster throughputs and lower fees. But these benefits may prove impermanent. As they become more popular, they may suffer the same fate as Ethereum. Remember, Ethereum fees used to be cheap too until the network found a product-market fit with the rise of liquidity mining and other DeFi applications.
With a tsunami of new users coming into the ecosystem, it became a victim of its own success. Fees skyrocketed, turning Ethereum into a ‘whalechain,’ meaning only the wealthy could afford the fees. The same thing could happen to other layer ones. That’s OK. I believe the scarcest resource in the world for the next few years will be block space. All these layer ones will probably fill up, meaning we need better ways to interconnect different protocols.
Most new crypto users will only interact at the application layer, not knowing or caring what base chain they run on. That means making interoperability a reality. A few groups are working on multichain, including Cosmos, which supports hundreds of crypto assets worth tens of billions of dollars. 2022 is the year of Multichain Maximalism, and Cosmos is leading the way.”
Alan is the chief legal officer at PrimeBlock, a sustainable Bitcoin mining operation, infrastructure solutions provider and member of the Bitcoin Mining Council, with locations spread across North America.
“We’re going to see more countries adopting crypto as a legal currency. We’re also going to see central governments coming out and taking their own currencies and putting them on a blockchain. China has already said it is going to do this, which will speed up the real competition for private cryptocurrencies from a payment perspective.
Central bank digital currencies do not present competition from a store of value or inflation protection perspective because it’s still the same fiat currency, subject to the same monetary policy manipulation by central banks. It’s certainly something that is fully digital, transparent, and has both good things and some very scary things that come with it. The hope is that, at least in the United States, the dialogues around CBDCs will happen alongside maintaining the values of our society in mind, including our own privacy and control.
How China versus the U.S. will run it will differ, so the dialogue needs to consciously ask the right questions. There’s a way to get carried away with technology that really ignores the fundamental, social, political, philosophical and legal impacts it could have on society. It’s an immensely powerful tool — I’m not understating or overstating it. The government has a lot of regulatory control of the payment, banking and monetary systems now by regulating important intermediaries like banks and other entities. This is going to be directly impacting us on a micro level.”
Sandra is CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council, an industry association for the blockchain technology ecosystem.
“​​In 2022, it will be ‘corporate career risk’ to not have a baseline understanding of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. From bankers to corporate executives to politicians, it is imperative that they get on board and seriously consider the implications of blockchain.
Further, 2022 winners will ‘expect the unexpected,’ and adapt to investing, servicing clients and participating in new trends.
In 2021, few expected NFTs to become the killer app, driving mainstream interest and adoption. Web3, the Metaverse and DAOs will enter mainstream curiosity in 2022.
The boring infrastructure stuff is critical. Crypto markets and the blockchain industry are experiencing explosive growth, but to scale, they need common terminology, standards and sound governance, including conflict resolution.
The Global Blockchain Business Council will continue the Global Standards Mapping Initiative in 2022, mapping the regulatory, technical, academia and business states of cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
GSMI is the largest crowd-sourced, open-access crypto and blockchain research project. GSMI 2.0 content, released in November, was the result of eight months’ work from over 200 individuals and 131 institutions, including student researchers and veterans of government, industry, start-ups and regulation.
For 2022, I remain mindful to stick to the original vision of leveling the playing field for many, not a few.”
These quotes have been edited and condensed.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Sebastian is the chief strategy officer at Coinsource, a Bitcoin ATM provider in the United States.
“In 2022, we expect more countries to follow El Salvador’s lead and adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, particularly countries across Latin America and Asia. As a result, we anticipate an increase in the number of Bitcoin ATMs across Latin America, and also in Europe. As new countries adopt, it is likely U.S. dominance in the crypto industry will be reduced.
Regulation of crypto will continue into 2022, which is generally a good thing. However, it must be reasonable and fairly applicable to all. We have the potential to solve compliance in many of the protocols once and for all, so we need to double down on this. The industry is on a good path to increase the standards by which it measures compliance, but there needs to be a dialogue between experts on both sides of the regulatory debate.
Nefarious activity within the crypto space has been on a steep decline for several years now. Alignment on regulation, such as in the EU with MiCA, will create a level playing field that will allow for continued growth in the long term. We hope the U.S. will soon follow in providing regulatory clarity and guidelines that will keep it on foot as a key hub for global crypto innovation.
We have witnessed huge growth within the Bitcoin ATM, or BTM, industry in 2021, with global installations up by 70%. We do not see this slowing down any time soon. With so much activity in the market and the strong demand for BTMs from all sorts of known and new target customer groups, we believe that the BTM space will continue to grow at a similar, or even faster, rate. It is projected that the number of BTM installations will hit 100,000 by 2025, and we would say that this is a conservative estimate.”
Tristan is the core contributor to Zeta Markets, an under-collateralized DeFi derivatives platform, providing liquid derivatives trading to individuals and institutions alike.
“We’ve seen a Cambrian explosion in the DeFi ecosystem in 2021, with peak TVL approaching $300 billion vs the 2020 peak of $21 billion. This sounds like the growth surely has to slow. Yet, DeFi still represents just a fraction of CeFi trading volumes.
At Zeta, we see a clear opportunity for more and more CeFi infrastructure to be built on-chain in a permissionless manner. This will unlock innovative products that have previously been impossible to implement. The following has already started to happen:
Composability trumps the siloed products of CeFi, which has created really powerful network effects and will continue to do so.
DeFi UX continues to improve, DApps on Solana, in particular, are now improving with the looks and feels of CEX products (i.e., Robinhood).
On-chain derivatives are still in their infancy but are already showing promise (dYdX surpassing Coinbase in trading volume).
On-chain primitives like oracles and order books are now a reality.
DeFi growth sustaining itself and achieving its potential blockchain speed and transaction costs will be critical. CeFi markets rely on speed and deep liquidity. This dependency is already showing some truth, with DeFi expanding outside of the Ethereum ecosystem. We suspect this is a trend that is likely to continue in 2022 and expand the DeFi pie as a whole — cross-chain bridging will be a big theme for DeFi in the years ahead as we move toward a multi-chain world.”
These quotes have been edited and condensed.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
This year, new research showed that there’s still a long way to go before there is gender parity in the crypto and blockchain space. WEF’s April Global Gender Gap Report 2021 found that it will take close to 135.6 years to close the gender gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, that hasn’t stopped these women who used blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to tackle a whole range of social issues ranging from girls’ education in developing countries to the wealth gap in black communities in the United States.
In no particular order, these 10 women are changing the world using crypto one block at a time.
Tavonia Evans is the founder and lead engineer of GUAP Coin, which she created to help close the wealth gap and support black-owned businesses in the United States. Despite being hospitalized with COVID-19 and facing sweeping funding cuts, Evans says that her company accomplished more this year than ever before.
“We’ve onboarded hundreds of women of color into the Masternode space, an area of crypto that is largely male-dominated,” she told Cointelegraph. 70% of GUAP nodes are owned by women of color.
“We’ve sparked awareness about crypto among a population with less access and education in crypto and finance — and we continue to do so.”
This year, the company onboarded its first brick-and-mortar merchants. It also launched the xGUAP wrapper on Binance Smart Chain.
Lisa Wade was the 2021 recipient of Blockchain Australia’s Gender and Diversity Leader of the Year award, which recognized her work advocating for women and LGBTIQ+ people in the blockchain industry.
She is the founder of NEOMI, an investing ecosystem that connects charity entrepreneurs looking to raise capital with investors looking for authentic impact investments. Wade explained to Cointelegraph:
“NEOMI has a lens on our theory of change, which supports LGBTI and female entrepreneurs.”
Wade is also the chair of NAB Pride and pioneered the Australian bank’s “Rainbow Women” initiative, which gives LGBTIQ+ women a space to speak about issues that are holding them back on career development in the finance sector.
She also continued her work in environmental activism, co-creating a blockchain initiative called Project Carbon which tokenizes voluntary carbon credits.
Olayinka Odeniran is the founder and Chairwoman of Black Women Blockchain Council (BWBC), which is working toward increasing the number of black female blockchain developers to half a million by 2030.
Over the past year, the BWBC partnered with blockchain software company Consensys to help African people throughout the globe get involved in crypto.
She also launched a room on social audio app Clubhouse called “What The Hell is Blockchain” and a community site where members can network and learn about everything from nonfungible tokens (NFTs) to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
In case this wasn’t keeping her busy enough, she also released a social impact NFT collection CyberMermaid through ocean conservation nonprofit The Dope Sea.
In 2022, Odeniran plans to host a month-long event for Women’s History Month in March and release a new program to teach African women about NFTs and blockchain.
Maliha Abidi is a Pakistani-American author and internationally acclaimed visual artist. She founded ‘Women Rise NFTs’ this year. The collection of 10,000 NFTs represent diverse women from around the world including activists, artists, scientists and coders.
The collection has been featured on the front page of Rarible and at DCentral Miami. Abidi also had an artist residency during Art Basel in Miami.
According to Abidi, so far, 2,350 NFTs from the collection amounting to over 150 Ether (ETH), around $591,000, have been sold to 1,200 unique buyers including some big names like Randi Zuckerberg and Gary Vee. 10% of the total profits from the project will be donated to charities supporting women and children.
Abidi’s major project for next year will be the creation of the world’s first metaverse school for marginalized children from around the world.
Lavinia Osbourne is the founder and host of Women in Blockchain Talks (WiBT), which is a female-led educational platform in the United Kingdom where women can network and learn about blockchain. She told Cointelegraph:
“Getting started in this revolutionary space is key to change and adoption, so Women in Blockchain Talks wants to make this as easy as possible for people — women and marginalized groups in particular — to do just that.”
This year, WiBT launched the 50k women into Blockchain by 2023 campaign, which Osbourne explained to Cointelegraph will “show that blockchain is for everyone as well as highlight the different pathways” to get involved in the space.
Osbourne also founded the upcoming female-centric Crypto Kweens NFT Marketplace, which is currently being built on the Rarible protocol.
WiBT introduced a Middle East ambassador to expand their international reach to women and marginalized groups wanting to learn about blockchain technology with translated versions of their educational material.
Jen Greyson is a Utah-based advocate of women’s empowerment through cryptocurrency and a board member for Kerala Blockchain Academy (KBA) in India.
KBA trains women in STEM and blockchain to become leaders in the space. In 2021, it introduced several new blockchain courses, including two free foundation programs. The Academy trained close to 7,000 students this year, with over 6,000 students enrolling into the foundation programs in less than four months.
She told Cointelegraph: “The blockchain training program aimed to equip start-ups and individuals with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitude” needed to crack into the sector. Greyson added further:
“While my home state of Utah is languishing in even getting computers in every school for every student, across the globe, KBA did this in 2021 while navigating a pandemic.”
This year, the Academy’s vaccine traceability solution Immunochain was selected for a government health program in Kerala. KBA also developed a blockchain-powered multi-party document signing and verification system called Sign-A-Doc.
In 2022, Greyson will be launching an NFT podcast and an academy “focused on bringing more crypto education to the feminine.”
In May this year, Manasia Vora co-founded the Komorebi Collective on Syndicate, becoming the first investment DAO focused on funding female and non-binary crypto founders.
She is also the founder of the non-profit Women in Blockchain (WIB), which aims to provide a space for women to mentor each other about blockchain and crypto. “We aim to connect women to thought leaders in this space to inspire, collaborate and encourage others,” she said in a LinkedIn post. On Dec. 15, WIB tweeted:
“Crypto is about shared abundance and shared ownership. But this isn’t possible if the underrepresented communities are not included in the building, in the design, in the decision-making!”
Roya Mahboob is not only an internationally-recognized activist but was also one of very few female tech CEOs in Afghanistan before being forced to flee in September this year when the Taliban took over control of the country.
She is the founder and CEO of Afghan Citadel Software Company (ACSC), where over half the employees are women. Because many Afghan women are unable to access a traditional bank account, she pays her employees in Bitcoin. In an August interview with CoinDesk, she said:
“If young people can learn about computers, they can learn about Bitcoin. And now everybody wants to learn how to access Bitcoin. They need to.”
She is also a board member and president of the Digital Citizen Fund (DCF), a non-profit aiming to educate girls and women from developing countries about technology and finance.
Mahboob also sits on the advisery board of Ashford University’s Forbes School of Business & Technology and recently created EdyEdy, a platform that helps young people from developing countries learn practical digital literacy skills.
Cleve Mesidor is the author of My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto, and a former appointee of the Obama administration.
She was appointed as public policy adviser at Blockchain Association in March this year and is a Mayoral Appointee for the DC Innovations and Technology Inclusion Council.
She is also the founder of the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, and LOGOS, a social platform on the blockchain for activists.
The Botswanan “Bitcoin Lady” Alakanani Itireleng is the CEO of the Satoshi Centre, which educates members of her community on how they can make money from crypto and blockchain technology.
The self-funded center is in the process of developing an incubator where startups will be able to network with potential sponsors or mentors.
She has campaigned for the Bank of Botswana to regulate and legitimize Bitcoin as a legal currency and is also developing a local crypto wallet that will be able to directly connect to regular ATMs.
In a July interview with Forbes, Itireleng said, “I was feeling that there’s something about Bitcoin that is unique, that is different from normal fiat money.” She added further: “I always call it a currency of love.”
2021 was a breakout year for the cryptocurrency market in many respects and most investors are absolutely thrilled that Bitcoin (BTC) price established a new all-time high of $68,789. In the same timeframe, Ether (ETH) went on a parabolic rally which saw its price gain 565% from Jan. 1 to hit a record high at $4,859 on Nov. 10.
While it was a banner year for large cap cryptocurrencies, some of the biggest gains and most impactful developments came from the altcoin market where decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) rallied by thousands of percent and helped to usher in a new level of awareness and adoption for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Here’s a look at five altcoin projects that made significant contributions to the cryptocurrency ecosystem in 2021.
The decentralized exchange Uniswap (UNI) has arguably had the greatest impact on the crypto ecosystem as a whole since launching in the summer of 2020, with the DEX seeing significant growth throughout 2021 as it helped facilitate the launch of thousands of new crypto projects by removing the barriers to launch that existed on centralized exchanges.
Data provided by Dune Analytics shows that Uniswap has been the dominant DEX throughout the year and it has consistently seen more trading volume than all other DEXs combined.
As seen on the chart above, the volume traded on decentralized exchanges really started to ramp up in the second half of 2021 led in large part by activity on Uniswap.
Throughout 2021 Uniswap led the field in development as well, with the developers behind the protocol announcing the release of Uniswap v3 in March. The v3 upgrade included multiple protocol upgrades and it built the foundation to integrate layer-two scaling solutions like Optimism and Arbitrum with Uniswap as a way to help reduce the transaction costs and processing times for users.
Aave (AAVE) is a DeFi lending protocol that allows users to deposit their tokens and lend them out as a way to earn a yield or pledge them as collateral in order to borrow another asset.
As the DeFi sector started to gain traction in early 2021, AAVE emerged as a community favorite thanks to the wide swath of crypto assets supported and the backing from some well-funded players.
Over the course of the year, AAVE expanded its capabilities and reach with the release of AAVE v2 which added support for Polygon, a layer-two scaling solution, and Avalanche, which is a popular cross-chain blockchain network.
As a result of these added capabilities, the total liquidity available on the AAVE protocol has surpassed $25.7 billion, making AAVE the top-ranked DeFi protocol by total value locked (TVL).
Curve Finance is a stablecoin-focused protocol that utilizes an automated market maker to manage liquidity on the platform and across the DeFi ecosystem.
Stablecoins have emerged as a foundational piece for the cryptocurrency community as a whole in 2021 because they provide sufficient liquidity for the market and a safe haven for traders seeking shelter during periods of high volatility.
The growing importance that stablecoins have benefited Curve protocol and its native CRV by accelerating its integration of stablecoins into many of the top DeFi protocols, including the Yearn.Finance ecosystem and Convex Finance.
Despite the fact that a significant portion of the assets locked on the Curve protocol are stablecoins, the platform now ranks as the second leading protocol in terms of TVL behind AAVE, with data from Defi Llama showing that $21.77 billion in value is now locked in Curve vaults.
Curve has also integrated with many of the most active blockchain networks, including Ethereum, Avalanche, Harmony, xDAI, Polygon, Arbitrum and Fantom, which is further evidence of the protocol’s quest to be the stablecoin liquidity provider for the entire crypto market.
Related:US Financial Stability Oversight Council identifies stablecoins and cryptos as threats to financial system
Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn (p2e) trading and battling game that allows participants to collect, breed, raise, battle and trade NFT-based creatures called Axies.
The p2e model emerged as a new fan favorite over the course of 2021 because it provides users with the ability to earn a daily income alongside their gameplay, which offers a few unique advantages when compared to the traditional pay-to-play model.
Alongside the rise in popularity of Axie Infinity came a new all-time high for the platform’s native AXS token. As the token stormed to new highs, the platform generated a daily revenue of $17.55 million at its height on August 6.
Axie Infinity was also one of the earliest projects to establish the trend of migrating away from the Ethereum network because of high fees and slow transactions. Earlier in the year the project migrated to the Ronin sidechain and in November the project launched its own DEX called Katana.
Dogecoin is an open-source proof of work cryptocurrency that leads the field of “meme” coins that made headlines all throughout 2021.
While the project has few contributions on the technological or development front, frequent shilling from the likes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban helped to push Doge into a 23,746% rally that saw the price rise fr from $0.0031 on Jan. 1 to an all-time high of $0.74 on May 8.
On top of the gains seen in DOGE price, the token received increased attention after it was announced that it would be used to help fund the launch of a lunar satellite by SpaceX and the Dogecoin movement also kicked off a meme-coin rally and spawned a bevy of copy-dog projects li Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Dogelon Mars (ELON).
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.