December 29, 2021       /       Unchained Daily       /       Laura Shin

Daily Bits ✍️✍️✍️

  • Iran has banned crypto mining until March 6 in an effort to conserve power.

  • Aave users can now borrow and lend using real world assets.

  • NFT trading volume surpassed $13 billion in 2021.

  • Mutant Ape Yacht Club sales skyrocketed 500% over the last week after a $3.6 million sale.

  • DeBank raised $25 million in an equity funding round.

  • $SOS, the recently airdropped token of OpenDAO, crossed a $250 million market cap yesterday.

  • The Reserve Bank of India recommended the issuance of a basic CBDC.

  • It is unlikely that a Thai CBDC will be released next year.

  • Phantom, a Solana-native wallet, halted plans to auction off slots to participate in its iOS beta version of Phantom.

  • BitMEX’s first employee Greg Dwyer received a seven-month extension to prepare for his trial.

  • Digital ledger technology is of interest to the Secretary of Defense after President Joe Bide signed a $770 billion defense bill into law yesterday.

What Do You Meme?

What’s Poppin’?

One Year Makes a Huge Difference

With the year winding down, the crypto news cycle has ground to a halt. There hasn’t been a hack in seven days (which is a rare occurrence in a year that has seen 57 exploits). No crypto company has announced a raise of $50 million since December 21st (even though 2021 had been averaging 2.39 such $50 million+ raises per week, according to Dove Metrics). Heck, even investors appear somewhat sluggish, as data from The Block shows that daily spot exchange volume reached its lowest point since August yesterday.

With that in mind, maybe it’s a good time to zoom out and gain some perspective on just how massive 2021 was in the world of crypto. Here are three somewhat mind-blowing stats that stand out:

1. According to DeFi Llama, on January 1, 2021, the total value locked across all smart contract blockchains and DeFi applications was $18.71 billion. Twelve months later, TVL is at $248.3 billion – marking a 13x increase. The most shocking part of this statistic is that on January 1st, Etheruem dapps accounted for $18.41 billion of the $18.71 billion in TVL within the crypto ecosystem – leaving only $300 million in TVL scattered across other chains. Since then, that $300 million has ballooned to $93 billion – meaning that non-Ethereum TVL has grown by roughly 310x.

2. NFTs. Any statistic you look at is mind-boggling. For example, OpenSea’s monthly volume in January of 2021 was roughly $8 million. In December, OpenSea has already seen $2.87 billion in volume, according to this chart on Dune Analytics. That is more than a 350x increase in 12 months. The same thing goes for OpenSea wallet activity, which is a good proxy for the number of addresses using the NFT marketplace. On January 1, about 36,000 unique addresses had interacted with OpenSea. As of yesterday, data shows that over 850,000 addresses have made at least one transaction on the NFT platform.

3. The metaverse is in the running for crypto word of the year (along with NFT and web3). Out of the top 100 tokens by market capitalization on CoinMarketCap, all three of the biggest gainers of the year are metaverse tokens, with Axie Infinity’s AXS and The Sandbox’s SAND increasing roughly 15,000%+ in 12 months. The big winner, which has not caught on much publicity, was Gala (GALA), the token for Gala Games, which increased a whopping 45,000%+ in 2021. To put that in perspective, $100 dropped into AXS or Sand on January 1st, 2021 would now be worth around $15,000. $100 into GALA would be worth about $45,000. In addition to AXS and SAND, metaverse coins like Decentraland (MANA) and Enjin (ENJ) increased by approximately 4,000% and 2,000%, respectively. (all data from CoinMarketCap.)

Honorable mentions:

  • Lightning Network growth: from 1,054 BTC to 3,327 BTC

  • Just how much $ has been lost to liquidations in 2021: the four worst liquidation days in 2021 saw a combined 191,606 BTC wiped out, worth roughly $9 billion

  • The amount of BTC now on corporate balance sheets: 36 publicly traded companies hold 1.156% of the total BTC supply, compared to 2020, when only MicroStrategy, Square, and MassMutual held BTC

  • This would be a dishonorable mention — the amount taken in crypto scams: $7.7 billion in 2021, up 81% compared to 2020, according to Chainalysis

Recommended Reads

  • FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried on crypto’s 2022 roadmap:
  • @cobie on the attention economy:
  • Real Vision’s Raoul Pal on the digital asset space:

On The Pod…

Why NFT OG Mitchell Chan Has Released Just One Project This Year

Mitchell F. Chan, who released one of the first NFT projects on Ethereum back in 2017, discusses his projects, making art on a blockchain, how NFTs are transforming the traditional art world, and more. Show topics:

  • Mitchell’s art career before NFTs

  • how Mitchell was inspired by Yves Klein’s 1950’s work ‘Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility’

  • the story behind Mitchell’s OG NFT art project: ‘Digital Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility’

  • what the traditional world thinks about NFTs

  • who is collecting NFT art

  • the story behind Mitchell’s 2021 NFT project: ‘LeWitt Generator Generator’

  • why Mitchell has not minted any more NFTs this year – even though the market has been on fire

  • whether Mitchell thinks NFTs are changing the art world (hint: he thinks yes)

  • NFTs and the financialization of art

  • why Mitchell can empathize with some of the backlash about NFTs coming from the traditional art and gaming industries

Book Update

My book, The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze, is now available for pre-order now.

The book, which is all about Ethereum and the 2017 ICO mania, comes out Feb. 22. Pre-order it today!

You can purchase it here: