- 21. Bitcoin advocate Jack Dorsey resigns as Twitter CEO
- 20. A Bitcoin billionaire dies by drowning
- 19. The Taproot upgrade
- 18. John McAfee commits suicide
- 17. Shiba Inu surpasses Dogecoin by market cap
- 16. A $600 million DeFi hack
- 15. Coinbase goes public
- 14. Beeple's $69 million NFT sale
- 13. Ethereum launches EIP-1559
- 12. The first U.S. Bitcoin ETF
- 11. Cardano launches smart contracts
- 10. Vitalik Buterin burns $6 billion worth of Shiba Inu
- 9. Apple CEO Tim Cook says he owns crypto
- 8. Dogecoin crashes after Elon Musk's SNL appearance
- 7. Bitcoin's market cap tops $1 trillion
- 6. El Salvador makes Bitcoin legal tender
- 5. Elon Musk makes a U-turn on Bitcoin
- 4. Gary Gensler sworn in as new SEC chair
- 3. Dogecoin hits a $90 billion valuation
- 2. China purges Bitcoin miners
- 1. Tesla buys Bitcoin
2021 has been a blockbuster year for cryptocurrencies, with their total market cap surpassing $3 trillion at its peak. Here are some of the key events that have defined the industry this year:
21. Bitcoin advocate Jack Dorsey resigns as Twitter CEO
After leaving his top Twitter job, Jack Dorsey has started fiery debates about Web3, locking horns with Marc Andreesen and other proponents of the new crypto buzzword. Some already say that post-Twitter Jack is their favorite Jack.
20. A Bitcoin billionaire dies by drowning
Mircea Popescu, a controversial Bitcoin evangelist, drowned in Costa Rica in June, leaving a rumored $2 billion fortune behind.
19. The Taproot upgrade
Bitcoin is very conservative compared to altcoins, which many see as its greatest virtue and greatest flaw at the same time. In 2021, however, the crypto king saw its most significant upgrade in years, Taproot.
18. John McAfee commits suicide
Antivirus software pioneer and crypto baron John McAfee was found dead in his Spanish prison cell after committing suicide by hanging. The news came just hours after his extradition to the U.S. was authorized.
17. Shiba Inu surpasses Dogecoin by market cap
Shiba Inu was determined to prove that "Dogecoin killer" was not just a flashy nickname by briefly becoming the top dog on the block in late October, benefiting from a massive retail-driven frenzy.
16. A $600 million DeFi hack
DeFi hacks are quite mundane, but an anonymous hacker stealing $600 million worth of crypto from Poly Network and then returning the whole sum after weeks of bizarre negotiations attracted quite a lot of attention.
15. Coinbase goes public
The largest U.S. exchange put crypto in the spotlight with its much-anticipated public listing that took place on the Nasdaq in April. The debut laid the groundwork for more major crypto companies to go public.
14. Beeple's $69 million NFT sale
After digital artist Beeple (Mike Winkelmann) raked in $69 million at a Christie's auction with his non-fungible token called "Everydays: The First 5000 Days," everyone who claimed that NFTs were just a fad was in deep denial.
13. Ethereum launches EIP-1559
A fee-burning mechanism has allowed the Ethereum community to weaponize the deflationary narrative about "ultra-sound money" that later pushed the Ether price to new record highs.
12. The first U.S. Bitcoin ETF
The launch of America's first futures-based Bitcoin ETF was rather a consolation prize than an actual victory for the crypto space, but it helped to reignite Bitcoin’s rally. Now, major industry players are aggressively trying to get a spot ETF approved in 2022.
11. Cardano launches smart contracts
After months of incessant hype, Cardano, one of the top "Ethereum killers," finally launched smart contracts, but not without controversy.
10. Vitalik Buterin burns $6 billion worth of Shiba Inu
The Ethereum co-founder, who was unwillingly gifted half of Shiba Inu's supply by the coin's anonymous creator, burned 90% of his SHIB tokens and decided to donate the rest to charity.
9. Apple CEO Tim Cook says he owns crypto
The cryptocurrency community received a major endorsement from the boss of the world's most valuable company, whose market cap is approaching $3 trillion. Apple, however, is yet to make a foray into crypto.
8. Dogecoin crashes after Elon Musk's SNL appearance
Dogecoin's epic fall was much quicker than its rise. After Elon "Dogefather" Musk jokingly said that the meme could be a "hustle" during his appearance on "Saturday Night Live" on May 8, the price of the coin collapsed and has not recovered since.
7. Bitcoin's market cap tops $1 trillion
2021 was the year that Bitcoin joined the trillion-dollar club for the first time—on Feb. 19. Sadly for bulls, the cryptocurrency will finish the year below this mark, currently sitting at $887 billion.
6. El Salvador makes Bitcoin legal tender
El Salvador, a small tropical country in Central America, made history by adopting Bitcoin as an official currency in a first for a nation-state, but the move sparked some protests within the country.
5. Elon Musk makes a U-turn on Bitcoin
The Bitcoin community quickly became disillusioned with its newfound hero after Musk announced that Tesla had made the decision to drop Bitcoin payments. Multiple weeks of chaos on Twitter ensued, with the Bitcoin price plunging sharply lower.
4. Gary Gensler sworn in as new SEC chair
Gary Gensler was sworn in as the new chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in April. Wall Street's new top cop adopted a harsh stance on crypto from day one, earning a decent number of critics within the industry.
3. Dogecoin hits a $90 billion valuation
The O.G. cryptocurrency inspired by the Doge meme seemed unstoppable after briefly surpassing the market cap of Chinese tech giant Xiaomi and becoming the fourth-biggest cryptocurrency in early May. It appeared as if the canine frenzy was actually taking over the world.
2. China purges Bitcoin miners
China's Bitcoin bans have become a running joke within the cryptocurrency community. In 2021, however, the Chinese government went to extremes by purging all of its Bitcoin miners and ceding ground to the U.S. in the global hash power race, which crypto proponents view as a massive geopolitical blunder.
1. Tesla buys Bitcoin
Tesla wowed and shocked Bitcoiners as well as the broader investment community with its audacious $1.5 billion Bitcoin purchase that moved the corporate adoption narrative into a higher gear in February. Suddenly, every CEO had to think about whether Bitcoin had a place on his or her company's balance sheet.