2021 In Review: How Did The Major Coins Perform?

As 2021 comes to a close, many crypto investors are taking stock of the past twelve months.

Regarding the five largest cryptocurrencies: each had a significant year, but it wasn’t always a smooth ride, as reported by Barron’s.

Bitcoin remained the “king” of crypto, hitting an all-time-high of $68,789.63, and briefly surpassed $1 trillion in market cap. Since then, it has fallen quite a bit off its high, but is still up around 60% for the year.

If Bitcoin’s performance was mixed, 2021 was a banner year for Ethereum. ETH took a clear and uncontested “second place” in the rankings (and in mindshare) next to Bitcoin among crypto investors. Ethereum is up nearly 400% year-to-date, and is flirting with a half-trillion dollar market cap.

Next comes Binance Coin, which rose over 1,200% in 2021, from a low of around $35, to around $500 at the end of the year.

Following in its wake is Tether, which, as a stablecoin, is a bit less exciting. But investors obviously respect its utility, as the cryptocurrency nearly quadrupled in market cap to $78 billion this year.

Rounding out the top five is Solana, which surged in popularity in 2021. Its price rose over 11,000%, but more importantly it continues to attract serious interest from developers and NFT enthusiasts.

So aside from the numbers, what were the major developments in crypto in 2021?

  • NFTs gained momentum throughout the year, both financially as well in cultural relevance.
  • Ethereum gained mindshare to the point where it is now considered as the first “serious” rival to Bitcoin.
  • Smart contract platforms continued to gain steam from investors and developers; Ethereum continued its run, and Solana gained steam as well.

If 2021 was any indication, we will continue to have crypto surprises in the coming year. It’s a sign of a maturing market that there are major developments covered by mainstream media, beyond the “boom and bust” cycle of BTC prices; 2022 just might be the year that crypto finally “arrives” for everyone else.

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Andy Hagans

Andy Hagans is the co-founder of Cryptogic and a recurring guest on its weekly show. He believes that early blockchain investments provide an asymmetric investment opportunity for enterprising investors.