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Happy HODLing, Everyone!

Woah! Only a few hours are left to say goodbye to 2021 and embrace the new year. Major cryptocurrencies experienced a see-saw today, showing the typically volatile nature of the digital currency market.

Bitcoin ($BTC.X) jumped in the morning and dropped later, trading at $46,000. Ethereum ($ETH.X) followed suit, hovering around $3,700. 

As we roll into 2022, the crypto world appears full of potential and surprises. Do you have any crypto New Year resolutions in mind? If not, then think about it. 

Before you ring in the new year, check out today’s stories: 

  • South Korean band plans to sell digital photos as NFTs
  • The five most talked-about tokens of the year in 2021
  • An interview with WazirX CEO over crypto regulations in India
  • “Promising” Ethereum airdrop rugs community
Bitcoin (BTC)
$46,003.10
-3.62%
Ether (ETH) $3,647.62 -2.70%
Binance Coin (BNB)
$509.38
-2.09%
Solana (SOL) $169.41 -2.76%
Cardano (ADA)
$1.30
-4.57%
XRP (XRP)
$0.8091
-3.75%
Terra (LUNA)
$85.00
+0.13%
Polkadot (DOT) $26.50 -5.85%
Avalanche (AVAX)
$104.65
+1.07%
Dogecoin (DOGE) $0.1684 -2.33%

NFT Mania

K-Pop Band Dives Into The NFT Rush 

BTS is entering the NFT market. The South Korean boy band,with more than 36 million followers on Twitter, is planning to sell digital pictures of its band members so fans can collect and trade them. It is similar to a limited-edition collection of physical photo cards. Still, the difference is that the digital cards will move when tapped and play music or show a video of the bandmates talking.

Earlier this year, the band’s management agency Hybe partnered with South Korean crypto exchange Dunamu to create the BTS NFTs. The agency has not yet disclosed when the NFTs would be launched. 

Not all BTS members are happy about the move, though. On Twitter, BTS fans protested the negative environmental impact of NFTs. #BoycottHybeNFT and #ARMYsAgainstNFT were used to oppose the energy consumption needed to mint the tokens. Fans have questioned BTS’s climate activism, including an appearance by the band at the United Nations General Assembly held in 2018, asking why the band is “supporting something terrible for the environment.”

Kim Min-jung, Dunamu’s senior business development manager, told the Wall Street Journal that the platform would have a limited environmental impact. “Its carbon footprint is almost negligible,” he said.

Artists, tech companies, and payment firms worldwide are interested in entering the red-hot NFT market, which has seen $22 billion in sales to date. The trend, however, has started facing challenges from people concerned about its impact on the environment.  Earlier this year, video game publisher GSC Game World faced backlash from its consumers and abandoned plans to include NFTs in its game. However, crypto maxis have rightfully pointed out that not all blockchains are massive emitters, and that regardless of whether or not NFTs exist or not – the mass polluters will continue to do so regardless.

Not that it matters, anyway. Everything pollutes. Even companies that claim that they are offsetting their emissions aren’t doing a whole lot.


Coins Of The Year

Memes, Metas, and Killers Dominated the Year ’21

The 2021 crypto boom showed that the digital asset industry is more than just Bitcoin ($BTC.X) and Ethereum ($ETH.X). From memecoins to aspirational “Ethereum killers” and to metaverse tokens, the rise of these altcoins has been a trend throughout the year. In the wake of the crypto industry’s best year ever, let’s take a look back at the altcoins that captured everyone’s attention in 2021:

1. Solana ($SOL.X): Due to the boom in decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) this year, Solana emerged as the hottest “Ethereum killer”. The token remained strong even during Evergrande’s debt crisis, when markets contracted aggressively.

There were several reasons behind the massive appreciation in the $SOL.X price over the year. For example, the SEC allowed the registration of a Solana-centric fund for institutional investors, the crypto market data network Pyth went live on the Solana blockchain, and the Solana blockchain entered the NFT world. However, the biggest reason might be the network’s explosive growth and high throughput. 

$SOL.X closed positive 10 out of 12 months to register a staggering 10,285.67% year-to-date return. Solana has become the fifth-largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of around $53 billion. So long as it can reconcile its deep-seated problems with scaling and decentralization, it looks prime to continue capitalizing next year.

Here’s the daily chart:


2. Shiba Inu ($SHIB.X): After the emergence of Dogecoin ($DOGE.X), Shiba Inu ($SHIB.X) led the meme-based coins trend in the second half of the year. Unlike the scores of Ethereum killers, Shiba Inu actually was a“Dogecoin Killer.” It not only  flipped Dogecoin, but became the crypto market’s leading memecoin this year. 

Founded in 2020 as an Ethereum-based alternative to Dogecoin, the token soared by over 46,219,036.72% during the last year, according to data from Crypto.com. In comparison, $DOGE.X surged 3,710% in the past year

Shiba Inu recently released a beta version of a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to give users more authority to decide on crypto projects and pairs on the ShibaSwap platform, a decentralized exchange based around the memecoin.

Here is Shiba Inu’s daily chart:


3. Axie Infinity ($AXS.X): If you told somebody that you could make money from playing video games, they’d think you’re crazy. But the year 2021 told us that we can earn money from games and the crypto-economy is a real thing. 

Axie Infinity, a blockchain-based game inspired by the Pokémon series, gained attention when it helped rural communities in the Philippines, who lost their jobs due to the ongoing pandemic. Axie Infinity allowed some people to survive by rewarding players with tokens. The players traded the cryptocurrency for fiat currency, creating a way to earn a living.

Its native token, $AXS.X, has risen nearly 16,966.58% in value in the past year. Its biggest threat in 2021 might be continuing to grow its fanbase, especially since other games are beginning to crop up – threatening users with a good time (and potentially greater rewards.)

Here’s the daily chart:

4. TerraUSD (UST): Terra, a cosmos-based blockchain that creates algorithmic stablecoins pegged to the U.S. dollar or euro, achieved a milestone this year. Its stablecoin UST surpassed DAI in market cap, becoming the largest decentralized stablecoin with a market cap of over $10 billion.

TerraUSD has become the #4 stablecoin, right behind Tether ($USDT.X), USD Coin ($USD.X), and Binance USD ($BUSD.X). However, unlike these three – UST is not run by centralized entities or potentially left up to the scrutiny of the authorities

5. Decentraland ($MANA.X): When Facebook announced it would rebrand to “Meta” earlier this year, some tokens channeling Mark’s newfound “metaverse” ambitions began climbing – and rally they did. 

One of them is $MANA.X, the native token of Ethereum-based virtual world Decentraland, which has risen over 4,166.87% in the past year, trading around $3.35.

Decentraland claims that it’s already a metaverse platform where users can buy and sell virtual properties, develop their land, and show off digital collectibles. Experts say that while 2021 was the year of NFTs, 2022 will be the year of the metaverse, where meta-based tokens will have a lot of room to grow.

One Times Square is hosting its own digital New Year’s Eve Ball tonight at 11 p.m. EST within Decentraland, marking one of the first times a major cultural celebration has been replicated in the metaverse. It might just be the first of many recreations, and big social gatherings, in this digital domain. 

However, the concept is nothing new – users on Roblox, Minecraft, and other virtual games have been doing this stuff for years. The only difference is that the users own everything. 

Here’s the daily chart of $MANA.X:


One-On-One

Amid Scrutiny and Regulations, WazirX’s Bets Big on DEX 

WazirX, India’s largest crypto exchange, will soon launch a decentralized exchange. The move comes as regulatory authorities are examining this Binance-acquired exchange’s operations and the government working on a law to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country.  We spoke to CEO Nishcal Shetty to shed some light on the issue. 

ST: Enforcement Directorate (an Indian law enforcement agency) sent a show-cause notice to WazirX. How will WazirX react, especially given the attention regulatory authorities across the world have had on Binance?

NS: WazirX complies with all applicable laws. We go beyond our legal obligations by following Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes and have always provided information to law enforcement authorities whenever required. We can trace all users on our platform with official identity information. We have cooperated with the agency in the investigation and are preparing a response to the detailed notice we have received on FEMA violations.

ST: Amid the scrutiny, WazirX is planning to launch a decentralized exchange in India. The critics are saying that this is your plan B to combat the situation. How do you respond? 

NS: WazirX had announced its plans to launch a DEX in August 2020, and we’re pretty close to its launch. Our launch plans have nothing to do with any other external factors.

ST: The Indian government is exploring every possible option to tighten the rules and regulate the crypto industry. How hopeful are you?

NS: WazirX is a part of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), working on a self-regulatory code of conduct for crypto exchanges in India. We have a draft version ready and are working on updating the guidelines in line with the technology changes in the last few years. This will help curb illegal activities as well as scams. Governments and tech giants around the globe are embracing crypto, and I’m confident that India will not stay behind.

ST: You said in your #IndiaWantsCrypto Twitter campaign that 2022 would be a year of scaling for the cryptocurrency industry. What are some challenges that keep the campaign from reaching its full potential?

NS: Due to the uncertainty and lack of communication, most people believed that crypto is illegal in India. Over time, many people joined this campaign, and it’s been picked up by journalists and influencers globally. 

In these years, WazirX has witnessed 2648% growth in user signups from Tier-II and Tier-III cities of India. In fact, Tier-II and Tier-III cities have driven almost 55% of total user signups on WazirX in 2021. 

A massive percentage of women from Tier-II and Tier-III cities have joined the crypto bandwagon. Women from these regions contribute to 65% of the total signups by women from all over the country.


Boom and Bust

Another Rug Pull Hits Ethereum’s DeFi Ecosystem

In the waning hours of 2021, a “promising” airdrop by “analytics company” EtherWrapped turned into a nightmare situation for a handful of investors. . In order to get traders to buy the token, the team used the airdrop as bait. Afterward, they sold all the tokens. Sad to say, the team can’t be traced after crashing YEAR token to zero.

EtherWrapped announced the airdrop from a now-deleted Twitter account. Earlier today, it launched a token airdrop, promising to provide Ethereum users with analytics on their transaction history. Until 02:30 UTC, eligible Ethereum users could claim their YEAR token. Tokens were distributed based on user on-chain activity, so more active users received more tokens.

YEAR soon cropped up on decentralized exchange Uniswap after over 4,500 users claimed the airdrop. Nearly four hours after the token had launched, at around 06:00 UTC, the token’s price plummeted to near zero. 

In fact, this incident is similar to other DeFi rug pulls that have occurred in 2021. One incident that gained attention was when a team used Netflix’s Squid Game to launch a token called $SQUID.X, then sold the supply after it gained 300,000% in a week.

These incidents of boom and bust in the crypto space show the downside of the crypto frenzy, highlighting just how risky even the simplest applications can be.