The bitcoin market cap surpassed $3 trillion this year as retail and institutional investors finally took the plunge into the tumultuous waters of crypto investing. Forbes recently compiled six major milestones within crypto to mark the growth that the space experienced over the course of this year, and they are both noteworthy and indicative of continued innovation within the crypto economy.
- Bitcoin reached 11% of gold’s market cap during its November bull run; gold is currently valued at roughly $11 trillion. At its peak of $68,721, bitcoin represented a $3 trillion market cap and growth of 120%. Ether, the native token of the Ethereum network, which is a prominent home to DeFi and NFTs, demonstrated even bigger gains over the course of the year, growing 443% year-to-date.
- The yearly energy consumption for bitcoin mining is estimated at 02 terawatt-hours, an amount that represents all of the energy usage of Columbia, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, and the Ukraine combined over the course of a year, according to the Cambridge University Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. 2022 is expected to see bitcoin mining grow aggressively, with some of the top mining companies intending to add hundreds of thousands of new computers to their setups.
- NFTs took off in popularity at the end of 2021 with the base price of a Bored Ape Yacht Club monkey, one of the most popular and recognizable NFT collections, sitting at $233,276. This price is described as the “floor price” and is the lowest price that a particular digital asset can be bought at. Beeple made the news when the digital artist sold an NFT for $69 million this year, and as NFTs continue to gain popularity and attention, the trend is expected to continue well into 2022 and beyond.
- It’s been a record year of fundraising for crypto companies, with over $27 billion being raised from venture capitalists. This is more than all the funding raised in the previous 10 years combined, and almost every investment round this year set new records. Of note were NYDIG, a bitcoin company working to create new financial products by blending technology and finance, which raised $1 billion this month, and FTX, a digital asset platform that raised over its valuation from $1.2 billion last year to $25 billion this year.
- While the metaverse has long been a concept that companies have worked towards or kept an awareness of, it became popular with the general population this year, and Google searches are up 1,000% for the term in the last two months. The metaverse is essentially part of the next evolution of the internet, fusing virtual reality with internet capabilities, and is a concept that raised approximately $12 billion in capital this year. The area is anticipated to experience explosive growth in the coming years, and Crunchbase, a venture capital data site, logged over 700 deals being closed related to the metaverse, from online gaming to augmented reality.
- With the recent launches of bitcoin futures ETFs, the number of unsettled contracts on the CME (the only place that bitcoin futures trade) has increased to 88% during the fourth quarter of 2021. The amount of open interest (OI) for crypto had previously been down 14% going into the fourth quarter, but the launch of the bitcoin futures funds has seen the dollar value of these contracts grow to $5 billion, a 351% increase.
For investors looking for an opportunity to gain exposure to crypto’s growth, the Invesco Alerian Galaxy Blockchain Users and Decentralized Commerce ETF (BLKC) offers investment in the blockchain innovation making it all possible. BLKC invests in companies that are developing blockchain, mining cryptocurrency, buying cryptocurrencies, or else enabling technologies, exchange traded products (ETPs), and private investment OTC trusts tied to cryptocurrency.
The fund does not invest directly in cryptocurrencies or crypto assets and does not invest in initial coin offerings or futures contracts on any cryptocurrencies. It carries an expense ratio of 0.60% and currently contains 65 holdings.
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