Shiba Inu, Dogecoin, Elon Musk, China and SEC: Top 22 Crypto Events of 2021

Shiba Inu, Dogecoin, Elon Musk, China and SEC: Top 22 Crypto Events of 2021

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.

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