This year crypto also got serious in a surprising arena: the art and collectibles world. Auction house Christie’s ignited frenzied interest in non-fungible tokens when it sold artist Beeple’s digital creation for $69.3 million, and now everyone from your mom to major brands is entering the fray.
Tweets, videos and memes are just a few of the assets that are being converted into digital tokens, putting real-world value on “one-of-a-kind” digital collectibles. So far this year, investors have shelled out $13 billion for the digital assets that only exist on the blockchain. For example, crypto startup Mintable is helping people “mint” their creations and convert them into NFTs, which are traded on specialized cryptocurrency marketplaces.
Popular NFTs are fast becoming more than an asset and evolving into entire communities. The Bored Ape Yacht Club started with its cartoon simian NFTs and now sells merchandise and hosts real-world member parties.
Brands from Coca-Cola to fashion house Dolce & Gabbana are trying out their own NFTs, but the jury remains out on the future of endeavors such as Bored Apes. Regardless, the trend will have a lasting effect on creative communities as artists use smart contract functions that can be built into NFTs to change the way they sell and get paid for their works.
This year, expect to see even more innovations in digital currency. A year ago, you might’ve never heard of Dogecoin. Today the global crypto market capitalization tops $2 trillion. That’s no joke.
The U.S. Justice Department announces it has traced and recovered more 63.7 of the 75 Bitcoins that Colonial Pipeline had paid to hackers in the ransomware attack the previous month that had caused fuel shortages and a spike in gas prices.
El Salvador – home to “Bitcoin Beach,” a surf resort where crypto is the coin of the realm – makes Bitcoin legal tender as a way to boost financial inclusion. The IMF opposes the move and strongly cautions for more regulation.
China, deep into testing its digital yuan, effectively bans crypto by deeming virtual-currency related business activities “illegal financial activities.” It had already banned trading cryptocurrency in China, but trading on foreign exchanges had continued.