Cryptocurrencies were incomparable vectors of greed and fear in 2021, alternately generating and wiping out fortunes as they moved wildly while adding some $ 1.5 trillion in overall market value along the way.
Bitcoin, up over 60% this year, has absorbed much of the attention but has had to share more spotlight with Ether and Binance Coin as well as meme tokens such as Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.
In fact, Bitcoin’s share of the crypto market declined significantly during 2021, as other tokens skyrocketed, a sign of widening investor interest in digital assets despite – or may. -being because of – enormous volatility.
Bitcoin’s decline in dominance is likely to continue next year “given the explosion of assets in the crypto space and the various use cases,” said Vijay Ayyar, head of Asia-Pacific with Luno crypto exchange in Singapore.
Here are five key charts that tell the story of the year in crypto and point the way forward:
The overall market value of cryptocurrencies soared from around $ 1.5 trillion in 2021 to some $ 2.3 trillion as of December 17, according to tracker CoinGecko, which has nearly 12,000 tokens.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, started the year with a 70% market share.
That number has dropped to less than 40%, in part as Ether’s popularity has grown. But money has poured into other tokens as well, and for some this trend could be a sign of potentially destabilizing speculative foam.
The controversy over Bitcoin’s putative role in investment wallets continues to rage.
Proponents argue that it offers the highest inflation hedge in a generation. But the token in 2021 tended to correlate more consistently with risky assets, like tech stocks, rather than inflation expectations.
The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index’s over 160% rise this year far exceeds the jump in more conventional assets like commodities and global equities, up 23% and 13% respectively.
Of course, given the huge swings in crypto, the old adage of no pain, no gain also applies.
Bitcoin is now testing major technical support levels after falling over 30% from a record high just over a month ago.
One is the 55-week moving average – which in the past has sometimes provided a floor for massive selling – while another is a level of around $ 44,100 implied by a Fibonacci survey of the rally from the trough. from March 2020 to peak November 2021.
The cryptocurrency has already passed below a trendline drawn since the start of its push during the pandemic.