5 cryptocurrency projects that made waves in 2021


2021 was a breakout yr for the cryptocurrency market in lots of respects and most buyers are completely thrilled that Bitcoin (BTC) worth established a brand new all-time excessive of $68,789. In the identical timeframe, Ether (ETH) went on a parabolic rally which noticed its worth achieve 565% from Jan. 1 to hit a document excessive at $4,859 on Nov. 10.

Whereas it was a banner yr for giant cap cryptocurrencies, a few of the largest beneficial properties and most impactful developments got here from the altcoin market the place decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) rallied by 1000’s of % and helped to usher in a brand new degree of consciousness and adoption for blockchain know-how and cryptocurrencies.

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Right here’s a take a look at 5 altcoin initiatives that made important contributions to the cryptocurrency ecosystem in 2021.


The decentralized change Uniswap (UNI) has arguably had the best impression on the crypto ecosystem as an entire since launching in the summertime of 2020, with the DEX seeing important development all through 2021 because it helped facilitate the launch of 1000’s of recent crypto initiatives by eradicating the boundaries to launch that existed on centralized exchanges.

Information offered by Dune Analytics exhibits that Uniswap has been the dominant DEX all year long and it has persistently seen extra buying and selling quantity than all different DEXs mixed.

Month-to-month DEX quantity by challenge. Supply: Dune Analytics

As seen on the chart above, the quantity traded on decentralized exchanges actually began to ramp up within the second half of 2021 led largely by exercise on Uniswap.

All through 2021 Uniswap led the sector in growth as nicely, with the builders behind the protocol saying the discharge of Uniswap v3 in March. The v3 improve included a number of protocol upgrades and it constructed the muse to combine layer-two scaling options like Optimism and Arbitrum with Uniswap as a means to assist scale back the transaction prices and processing occasions for customers.


Aave (AAVE) is a DeFi lending protocol that permits customers to deposit their tokens and lend them out as a solution to earn a yield or pledge them as collateral with a view to borrow one other asset.

Because the DeFi sector began to achieve traction in early 2021, AAVE emerged as a neighborhood favourite because of the broad swath of crypto belongings supported and the backing from some well-funded gamers.

Over the course of the yr, AAVE expanded its capabilities and attain with the discharge of AAVE v2 which added help for Polygon, a layer-two scaling answer, and Avalanche, which is a well-liked cross-chain blockchain community.

Complete liquidity on the AAVE protocol. Supply: Aave

On account of these added capabilities, the overall liquidity accessible on the AAVE protocol has surpassed $25.7 billion, making AAVE the top-ranked DeFi protocol by complete worth locked (TVL).


Curve Finance is a stablecoin-focused protocol that makes use of an automatic market maker to handle liquidity on the platform and throughout the DeFi ecosystem.

Stablecoins have emerged as a foundational piece for the cryptocurrency neighborhood as an entire in 2021 as a result of they supply adequate liquidity for the market and a protected haven for merchants looking for shelter during times of excessive volatility. 

The rising significance that stablecoins have benefited Curve protocol and its native CRV by accelerating its integration of stablecoins into lots of the prime DeFi protocols, together with the Yearn.Finance ecosystem and Convex Finance.

Even supposing a good portion of the belongings locked on the Curve protocol are stablecoins, the platform now ranks because the second main protocol when it comes to TVL behind AAVE, with knowledge from Defi Llama displaying that $21.77 billion in worth is now locked in Curve vaults.

Complete worth locked on Curve. Supply: Defi Llama

Curve has additionally built-in with lots of the most lively blockchain networks, together with Ethereum, Avalanche, Concord, xDAI, Polygon, Arbitrum and Fantom, which is additional proof of the protocol’s quest to be the stablecoin liquidity supplier for the complete crypto market.

Associated: US Financial Stability Oversight Council identifies stablecoins and cryptos as threats to financial system

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn (p2e) buying and selling and battling sport that permits contributors to gather, breed, increase, battle and commerce NFT-based creatures referred to as Axies.

The p2e mannequin emerged as a brand new fan favourite over the course of 2021 as a result of it gives customers with the power to earn a each day revenue alongside their gameplay, which provides a number of distinctive benefits when in comparison with the normal pay-to-play mannequin.

Alongside the rise in recognition of Axie Infinity got here a brand new all-time excessive for the platform’s native AXS token. Because the token stormed to new highs, the platform generated a each day income of $17.55 million at its peak on August 6.

Axie Infinity worth vs. complete income. Supply: Token Terminal

Axie Infinity was additionally one of many earliest initiatives to determine the development of migrating away from the Ethereum community due to excessive charges and sluggish transactions. Earlier within the yr the challenge migrated to the Ronin sidechain and in November the challenge launched its personal DEX referred to as Katana.


Dogecoin is an open-source proof of labor cryptocurrency that leads the sector of “meme” cash that made headlines all all through 2021.

Whereas the challenge has few contributions on the technological or growth entrance, frequent shilling from the likes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban helped to push Doge right into a 23,746% rally that noticed the value rise fr from $0.0031 on Jan. 1 to an all-time excessive of $0.74 on Could 8.

DOGE/USDT 1-day chart. Supply: TradingView

On prime of the beneficial properties seen in DOGE worth, the token obtained elevated consideration after it was introduced that it could be used to assist fund the launch of a lunar satellite tv for pc by SpaceX and the Dogecoin motion additionally kicked off a meme-coin rally and spawned a bevy of copy-dog initiatives li Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Dogelon Mars (ELON).

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