2021 is about to end and there’s no better time to revisit the best happenings in the crypto world than now. From the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and crypto predictions to dramatic price drops and all-time highs, 2021 has indeed been an eventful year for many Bitcoin (BTC) traders and investors alike.

To make sure you won’t miss any important feats in the crypto world this year, we made a list of the notable crypto and Bitcoin happenings in 2021. Let’s get started, shall we?

🇸🇻 El Salvador adopts Bitcoin as legal tender

The rise of thousands of other cryptocurrencies fascinated many countries and jurisdictions to create their very own virtual money—more commonly known as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), but El Salvador had a different plan. 

Instead of developing and introducing its own version of digital currency, El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as its legal tender on September 7, 2021. This is probably the most world-shaking news we have on this list. Not only did El Salvador make a life-changing decision for its people, but it also brought the country’s flag to the wall of history makers around the world. 

El Salvador

As per El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, Bitcoin is a powerful means that could help many Salvadorians living outside the country’s borders to send money back home. He believes that BTC can bring financial inclusion, investment, tourism, innovation, and economic development to his country. 

Today, many changes are happening in the country and the government is laying out many plans to develop El Salvador’s financial system. One of these includes the country’s plan to build the world’s “Bitcoin City,” funded by BTC-backed bonds.

Ever since El Salvador’s brave step towards adopting Bitcoin as legal tender, many countries have started to explore what BTC and other digital currencies can offer. However, at the time of writing, El Salvador still stands as the first and only country to use Bitcoin for all monetary transactions.

🇨🇳 China bans cryptocurrencies for good

Let’s talk about one of the biggest crypto markets globally—China. If you’re updated about the happenings in the cryptocurrency world, you’re probably aware that China seemingly has a love-hate relationship with Bitcoin and digital currencies in general.

If we’re going to talk about crypto bans, this isn’t the first time China has implemented such restrictions. On the flip side, this might be the last. This year, China decided to point out the energy consumed by Bitcoin mining operations and how it may affect the country’s environmental goals. Because of this, the BTC market saw a significant decline since almost 50% of all crypto-mining activity came from China.

Not long after—around September 2021—the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) announced that all cryptocurrency-related transactions would be considered illegal. At this point, China effectively banned digital coins like Bitcoin for good. As per PBOC, the said activities “seriously endanger the safety of people’s assets.” BTC’s price fell by over 2,000 USD after the announcement. 

Fast forward to today (December 2021); reports say that Bitcoin mining has totally recovered from the Chinese crypto crackdown. In fact, data from Blockchain.com revealed that the network’s hash rate is up about 113% in five months this December. This means that the computing power that was cut out because of the crypto ban was now completely pared back by the network.

☝️ NFTs are on the rise

Aside from China’s crypto crackdown and El Salvador’s love for Bitcoin, the other thing that made headlines around the crypto space this year was non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These are unique, one-of-a-kind, and irreplaceable assets. NFTs have special identification codes and metadata that make them uniquely identifiable from other assets. You can think of them as passports that aren’t transferable and are distinguishable from others.

This year, NFTs in different industries have emerged and many enthusiasts have tried their hands on it—even the most famous artists, celebrities, companies, and other personalities worldwide. Non-fungible tokens are so popular that you can now find NFT games, artworks, music, and more online. Examples include NBA Top Shots, F1 Delta Time, Sorare, and NFL Dapper Labs. Believe it or not, most NFTs are even selling at very high prices. No wonder NFT has become Collins Dictionary’s word of the year for 2021.

🎮 Crypto and blockchain transform the gaming industry

The Axie Infinity, MOBOX, and Crypto Kitties are just a few of the many blockchain games that have emerged in the crypto world. Since the pandemic began, many people started to look for other ways to make money in the comfort of their homes. Luckily for others, they found what they’re looking for in blockchain games.

If you’re a gamer and a crypto enthusiast at the same time, blockchain games allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds. This type of game will enable you to earn crypto by simply playing. The best thing about this is that the fractions of crypto you make while battling inside the game can be cashed out and spent in the real world. 

The Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) and Smooth Love Potions (SLPs) from the Axie Infinity game, for example, can be traded easily using any of the nearly 400 payment methods on Paxful. If you’re wondering how to do so, we made this step-by-step guide to help you get started.

💸 Bitcoin drops and reaches new ATHs

This year started with Bitcoin selling at over 29,000 USD. In January, BTC reached a price of nearly 41,000 USD. This was followed by another all-time high in February when Bitcoin skyrocketed to over 57,000 USD per coin. Its value shot up again to 61,000 USD in March, followed by another ATH of over 63,000 USD per coin in April. 

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Chart 2021
Bitcoin (BTC) Price Chart
Source: coindesk.com

There were also some declines this year, especially in the second quarter, where BTC’s value dropped to almost 30,000 USD. September saw an increase again when BTC reached over 52,000 USD. On the flip side, there were also declines in between when Bitcoin dropped to 41,000 USD within the same month.

Despite the rises and falls, Bitcoin reached its new ATH of over 67,000 USD per coin in November. But as of writing, BTC is selling at around 48,000 USD per coin. The market saw fluctuating price movements, making crypto predictions even more challenging than before. Undeniably, many factors have contributed to the price increases and dips within the year—some of which included the events we talked about earlier. 

⚡️ Lightning-fast BTC transactions are now on Paxful

To make Bitcoin transactions more accessible and more convenient for you, Paxful integrated the Lightning Network into its system. Now, you can send and receive Bitcoin using your Paxful Lightning Wallet in a matter of seconds. You can also check out Paxful’s Lightning Diaries trip on Instagram and discover how this lightning-fast BTC transfer works in El Salvador.

💰 Bitcoin ETFs surfaced the crypto space

What else does Bitcoin 2021 hold? Let’s talk about the exchange-traded fund (ETF). This kind of fund allows you to hold multiple types of assets. ETFs track the market performance of an asset or a set of assets, which can be traded on different exchanges.

In the crypto space, Bitcoin ETFs mirror the value of BTC, but here’s the thing—you don’t get to actually own fractions of BTC. Simply put, Bitcoin ETFs allow you to invest in BTC and grab the financial opportunities it offers without actually holding some.

This reality piqued the interest of many traders and investors who are just starting to try their hands on Bitcoin and other digital currencies. BTC ETFs began to surface in the crypto world because it drops the need to understand every detail about Bitcoin and how it works.

What does 2022 hold for crypto?

2021 is, without a doubt, a rollercoaster ride for many folks in the crypto space. There were ups and downs as well as wins and flops. We’re nearly done with Bitcoin 2021 happenings and we’re thrilled to know what 2022 will bring.

Will Bitcoin reach a whopping price of over 80,000 USD per coin? Will there be new technologies that could take the crypto and blockchain industry to new heights? 

While no one still knows what 2022 might bring, one thing’s for sure—Bitcoin and other digital currencies still have a lot of new financial opportunities to offer.