2021: Year of the NFTs

2021 has been the cryptocurrency industry’s biggest year ever. And NFT (non-fungible token) has become Collins Dictionary’s word of the year for 2021.

The year of NFTs

2021 will be remembered as the year that introduced NFTs to the masses. Despite being conceived in 2014, NFTs did not begin to leave a visible footprint until this year. In 2021, the NFT space generated over $23 billion in trading volume. Significant trends such as randomly generated collectibles, the involvement of mainstream celebrities in the space, or the rise of play-to-earn, were the main drivers behind a record year for NFTs. The latest metaverse boom was the cherry on the cake.

In 2021, the NFT space experienced one of the most impressive expansions overall. During the first six months of 2021, the NFT space generated a record $2.5 billion in trades, smashing the figures previously seen in the space.

The value of NFT collectibles appraised significantly in 2021. The collections are not simple NFT projects anymore. Some have become exclusive brands. Considering the top 100 NFT collections by historical trading volume, we estimate an NFT market cap of $16.7 billion.

“NFT” being named word of the year 2021 says it all.

DeFi 2021 performance

Often overlooked by the impressive expansion of the NFT and game categories, the performance of DeFi in 2021 was very positive also. After 2020, DeFi became the most critical category, showing increased growth. In 2021, the industry’s TVL is measured at $189 billion, a 767% increase from the previous year.

Despite living under the 2021 shadows of both NFTs and GameFi, the DeFi sphere improved considerably into a more mature and very competitive, and complete ecosystem.

What’s next in 2022?

NFTs have been in the spotlight for the second half of 2021 and we’ll see continued weaving of NFTs into games as well as DeFi.

2022 will be even bigger since the masses are starting to realize the power of NFTs and play-to-earn games.

“DeFi will still be a thing in 2022. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of DeFi” — says Paycer UG founder & CTO Nils Gregersen in Hamburg, Germany.

Some DeFi trends are expected next year: Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) that offer unregulated, decentralized finance and a new regulated centralized- decentralized finance.

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