2021 has seen its usual share of highs and lows in the cryptocurrency world, from Bitcoin beating its record price to people left bagholding NFTs of rocks. Of course there are people behind those peaks and troughs, and so we proudly present the 2021 FullyCrypto Cryptocurrency winners and losers.
Michael Saylor – MicroStrategy CEO Salyor rolls over for a second year in our winners list due to MicroStrategy’s sensational Bitcoin profits and his work in the sector. MicroStrategy now owns ₿121,044 at an average cost of $29,534, meaning a paper profit in the billions, while Saylor has taken an active role in developing the work of the Bitcoin Mining Council.
Sam Bankman-Fried – The 29-year-old FTX founder and CEO has overseen extraordinary growth of the platform in 2021, leading to Forbes doing a cover profile piece and calling him “the richest 29-year-old in the world”. His valuation? Over $22 billion. Not only that, FTX actually works and is regulated, unlike some exchanges we could mention.
Beeple – Digital artist Beeple (real name Mike Winkelmann) sold his epic piece of artwork Everydays – The First 5000 Days for an astonishing $69 million at Christie’s in March, just three weeks after selling another piece, CROSSROAD #1/1, for $6.6 million. There’s riding the NFT wave and there’s riding the NFT wave.
Tether – Tether could not have wished for a better 2021; they settled with the Office of the Attorney General over the iFinex affair at a cost of $18.5 million and then, eight months later, settled with the CFTC over misrepresentation of their backing between 2016 and 2019 at a cost of $41 million. This may not seem like good news on the surface, but all criminal charges were avoided and it means they finally have a huge monkey off their back with minimum penalties and the freedom to carry on with the slate wiped clean.
Craig Wright – Wright admitted he was “incredibly relieved” to have only been hit with a $100 million judgement following a jury ruling he stole bitcoin and IP from his best friend just months after his death. This was because he has avoided a multi-billion-dollar payout, which might put him in the winners list (his lawyers certainly thought they won), but given there is ample evidence that Wright fabricated the entire story he has cost himself $100 million, which sticks him firmly in the loser’s category.
Leverage Traders – There were more liquidations in 2021 than ever before in the cryptocurrency space, despite the likes of Binance and FTX dialing back the amount of leverage they offered. Billions of dollars was lost by leverage traders in a market that is famous for its ludicrous gains. Episodes like the 87% Binance US flash crash reinforced why leverage trading is best avoided.
Binance – The exchange has gone from being the darling of crypto to the exchange that people both in and outside of crypto love to hate. Regulators from all over the world were racing to ban their citizens from using the exchange, while banks fought equally hard to stop their customers from buying crypto on the site. In response, CEO Changpeng Zhao has promised to take the platform legit, but its fall from grace has been one of the epic stories of 2021.
Early NFT Buyers – Anyone with the foresight to have picked up a Cryptopunk in 2017 or a Bored Ape when they first came out is, if they haven’t cashed in already, holding a JPEG worth millions. The two NFT categories have been the posterchildren of the NFT boom, with auction houses selling them for millions and films/TV series’ imminent.
John McAfee – McAfee was arrested in Spain in 2020 after years of boasting about being uncatchable while on the run from authorities. The U.S. was granted permission to extradite him on June 23, only for McAfee to hang himself in prison that very night after claiming he would not get a fair trial. Naturally, conspiracy theories emerged immediately, but nothing with much evidence, leaving McAfee’s death to be nothing more than a tragic end to an incredible life.
Cryptocurrency Space Set for More Drama in 2022
Congratulations and commiserations to our 2021 cryptocurrency winners and losers. With 2021 coming to a close we can look forward to 2021 bringing with it another barrage of contenders vying for a spot in next year’s list. Will we see some familiar faces? With Craig Wright set for more court action next year we very much expect so.