The thrust of crypto into the mainstream, the growth of Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and the surge of Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in 2021 seem to point in a particular direction. These developments in popular culture and the finance sector indicate that the journey towards the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies has already commenced.
The journey toward the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies took significant strides in 2021. The popularity of play-to-earn gaming models like Axie-Infinity and meme coins like Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Dogecoin (DOGE) showed a remarkable potential still existed in the crypto sphere. Some developments that pointed toward a brighter future for digital assets included the following:
1. Multi-Million Endorsement Deals Announced By Mainstream Media
2021 saw a surge of high-octane partnerships and endorsements between leading organizations and crypto-related businesses: this included celebrities, influencers, sports teams, and professional sports organizations. The latest example involved the deal between AEG and Crypto.com that saw the Staples Center in Los Angeles renamed Crypto.com Arena.
The $700 million 20-year partnership collaborates with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings and becomes the “official cryptocurrency platform partner” for the popular sports franchises. Other multi-million endorsements include a sponsorship deal between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Coinbase and between Houston Rockets and the New York Digital Investment Group, which will see the investment firm pay the franchise using Bitcoin (BTC).
2. Leading Brands Embraced the NFT Culture
Very few people had heard about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) before March 2021, even though they existed all along. However, following the first mega-$69million-NFT-sale of Beeple’s Everydays at Christie’s online auction, there was a scramble for NFTs.
From globally recognized brands such as McDonald’s and Burger King, VISA, and Coca-Cola, all of which are working hard to capitalize on the popularity of the rapidly growing crypto subsector as a way to engage with their customers. The widespread cryptocurrency crackdown in China didn’t stop McDonald’s China from launching its “Big Mac Rubik’s Cube” line of NFTs on Oct. 8.
According to Google Trends, the focus on NFTs by major brands and corporations happened when there was growing public interest in NFTs, where the search for the phrase NFT surpassed the search for the terms Ethereum, DeFi, and Blockchain.
3. Traditional Finance Embraced Bitcoin
The release of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy exchange-traded fund (ETF) (BITO), the first Bitcoin-related ETF to be allowed on the U.S. market, is the clearest example yet of the approaching Bitcoin-mass adoption. BITO was followed by the VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF (XBTF) launch, a clear indication indicating that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was now comfortable approving Bitcoin futures ETFs.
Additionally, the leading payment processors MasterCard and Visa signed numerous deals across the crypto sphere to enable cardholders to use their crypto for payments. Several crypto companies, such as Coinbase, BlockFi, etc., already use the Visa network, while others like Bakkt use the MasterCard network.
With numerous central banks worldwide developing Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), there is no more powerful testament that integration and mass adoption of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies into the more comprehensive financial system is just around the corner.
Even though the cryptocurrency market remains volatile, crypto holders should rest easy knowing that that long-term trajectory of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies remains towards eventual integration and mass adoption as the Internet of Things continues to unfold.
Tom is a freelance writer with over 10-years’ experience in content creation, blog writing, and SEO specializing in the blockchain and cryptocurrency niche. As a philosophical figurehead, he believes that to make our world a better place, we must invest in incorruptible products and procedures, of which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are leading examples.