Time to look back: what moved the crypto market over the past year? Today: Ethereum and the great NFT explosion.
Ethereum: the stony road to Proof of Stake
Ethereum has had a wild year. And that’s not just due to the all-time high of the Ether price of $ 4,878 on November 10th. With the first Ethereum ETFs from Canada, which hit the market in May, important foundations were already laid in relation to ether investments. But technically, too, progress was made.
On April 15th, the network carried out the first of three hard forks with “Berlin”. In doing so, the network lowered gas charges and introduced a new type of transaction. The so-called “Envelope Transactions” allowed users from now on to create future, complex transactions in order to lower gas fees.
After that, it was above all the Ethereum hard fork “London” on August 5th that gave the project a new impetus. Above all, the update brought about an adjustment of the fee policy and a reduction in the amount of available ether in circulation. With the improvement proposal EIP-1559, the developers introduced an algorithmically determined basic fee. The basic fees should also be burned in the course of the update. This also led to the fact that on September 6th, for the first time, more ether was burned than was produced in one day.
On October 28th, we received the message that the third Ethereum update in 2021 was also successful. On the one hand, “Altair” introduced light client support. The light clients can synchronize with validators in the network. You can also run it on mobile devices. As a second innovation, Altair introduced the slashing function, which allows action against inactive or abusive validators.
These three updates initially gave hope that Ethereum 2.0. actually went ahead. But on December 11th – in Ethereum time at block number 13,773,000 – the developer community then shifted down a gear. The “Arrow Glacier” upgrade postponed the ignition of the Difficulty Bomb by a few months. As of now, that means that Ethereum 2.0. will have a firm footing until the middle of next year.
NFT hype: when the crypto-pixels exploded
The hype about non-fungible tokens (NFT) reached its peak in 2021. The unique, non-interchangeable collectibles started with fun projects that are now worth millions. The people behind projects like Cryptokitties or Cryptopunks A few years ago they could hardly have guessed what insane hype they would unleash with their blockchain-based pixel images.
When Larvalabs started with the randomly generated 10,000 cryptopunks in June 2017, the crypto market was still mainly busy with the ICOs. Bitcoin had just broken the $ 2,000 mark, while Ether hit its all-time high of $ 363 on June 19. Almost four years later, on January 23, 2021, the most expensive crypto punk to date went over the digital counter. The alien changed hands for a mere 605 ethers (at that time US $ 761,888.57).
Over the course of the year, more and more celebrities, artists: inside and free riders jumped on the hype train. In April Eminem started their own NFT series with the “Shady Coin”. But it should not stay with Pixelart à la Cryptopunks. In November, Christies auction house auctioned a 3D animated astronaut by NFT artist Beeple. The fact that you can change this work of art even after its creation and adapt it to world events obviously makes it valuable. Venture capitalist Ryan Zurrer let $ 28.9 million jump for the Beeple work – but this is only the second most valuable NFT work of art Beeples, because his “Everydays: The first 5,000 Days” brought in 69 million US dollars in an auction .
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The crypto year in review 2021: Ethereum and NFT explosion