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Crypto’s weird and wild year: 8 moments that defined the blockchain in 2021

The year 2021 was one for the ages. COVID-19 raged on. The metaverse stepped into the limelight. The stock market popped, with the tally of public debuts soaring to new heights. Billionaires—and the rest of the world—looked skyward, imagining a future beyond our Earthly boundaries.

At the same time, some of the most headline-grabbing stories of the year revolved around the evolving landscape of finance, which is quickly being pioneered by the brave and the bold. From Elon Musk and NFTs to meme coins and cryptocurrency crackdowns, these were some of the biggest moments that defined the blockchain in 2021:

Bitcoin reached record highs—again and again

Bitcoin repeatedly defied the expectation of skeptics in 2021, soaring to dizzying heights with mind-numbing effect. It rose meteorically from $30,000 at the beginning of the year, to $40,000, to $50,000, and then—after an early-summer cratering of the crypto economy, with Bitcoin losing over 30% of its value during the course of a single day—back up to a record high of $68,000 in November.

The roller-coaster ride in price—which, before December 2020, had never hit $20,000—made millionaires out of small-time hobby investors nearly overnight, and also probably gave them whiplash after it then dropped repeatedly in volatile swings. But hey, the thrill is part of the game: Big risk, big rewards.

Shiba Inu surpassed Dogecoin

You could also call it the year of the meme coin. Dogecoin had a heck of a run, surging over 12,000% from the start of the year to early May, meaning—try not to cry—if you invested just $500, you would have earned over $60,000 from doing nothing, really.

But those who bought into the joke token—which is based on a popular meme and bears the face of a Shiba Inu dog—are a lion-hearted bunch, matched only perhaps by the fervent investors of the rival joke token, Shiba Inu coin, which was engineered in August 2020 specifically to become the “Dogecoin killer” (and w...

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