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Weekend Wrap: 2021 by the numbers

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Behind the Headlines
  • Crypto exchange BitMEX to launch and airdrop a new token. BitMEX, one of the oldest crypto derivatives exchanges, is set to launch its own token and will airdrop to both its existing and new users. Announcing the news on Tuesday, BitMEX said its upcoming BMEX token will be airdropped by February 1, 2022, in its customers’ exchange wallets.
  • Crypto industry M&A activity surged 131% in 2021. Cryptocurrency deal-making clocked in record volumes after a frenzied year for merger and acquisitions, with approximately $6.1 billion in M&A volume driven by crypto-native, finance, and technology companies. As noted by The Block Research’s 2022 Digital Asset Outlook report, M&A transactions hit a record high for the sector with more than 197 acquisitions so far this year. That growth represents a nearly 130% increase compared to last year, which clocked in 85 transactions.
  • Decentralized exchanges saw over $1 trillion in trading volume this year. Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) reported more than $1 trillion in trading volumes in the year 2021, according to The Block Research. That figure is a massive 858% increase compared to 2020 DEX trading volumes, based on data as of December 23. Last year, DEXs facilitated over $115 billion in trading volumes.
  •  FTX’s SBF on what comes next. Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire founder of crypto exchange FTX, joins The Scoop to close out 2021 in a two-part episode that explores the origin story of the increasingly ubiquitous trading venue, Bankman-Fried’s worldview, and what he expects for the digital asset market in the year to come.
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News+ Spotlight
Here are the crypto industry’s top donors to US political campaigns
It is no secret that Washington, D.C. has seen a major influx of money from the crypto industry in recent months. Campaign donations are no exception, an analysis conducted by The Block shows. 
The Block previously reported on Cynthia Lummis’ campaign’s extraordinary appeal to the crypto industry. Through a review of the Federal Election Commission’s data for campaign donations, The Block has identified a wide range of crypto industry participants, including its largest individual contributors available up to this point. 
The three largest individual donors were leaders at crypto exchange Bittrex, stablecoin operator Paxos, and the Blockchain Association, the DC-based trade organization. 
Collectively, these donations demonstrated distinct areas of legislative interest, but all indicate clear priority for crypto-friendly politicians — all donated to Lummis’ 2026 campaign early in 2021, for example.
Read more in Kollen Post’s subscriber-only feature here.
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Follow the Money
  • Institutional crypto custodians raised more than $3 billion in 2021.
  • Staking provider Figment has raised $110 million in a Series C funding round, with a $1.4 billion post-money valuation. This comes at a time when crypto staking firms are raking in the cash, due to the boom in prices for staking-based coins.
  • Bitcoin miners generated more than $15 billion in revenue during 2021.
  • Crypto companies raised just over $25 billion in venture funding during 2021
  • Render Network, a crypto startup that provides rendering tools to NFT and metaverse projects, has raised funds. The startup did not disclose how much it has raised, but its lead investor, Multicoin Capital, told The Block that it has raised $30 million in a token round.
  • Centralized crypto exchanges saw over $14 trillion in trading volume this year.
  • The market for stablecoins experienced breakneck growth in 2021, with the supply for dollar-backed cryptocurrencies surging by 388%, according to data compiled by The Block Research.
The Block Research – 2022 Digital Asset Outlook
In 2021, The Block Research produced more than 300 unique pieces of research for our research members. 
The 2022 Digital Asset Outlook Report, commissioned by GSR, looks at the most important cryptocurrency developments in 2021 and looks ahead to the future of the space in the coming years. 
The 160-page report covers 8 different sectors within the cryptocurrency industry to watch for in 2022:
  • The state of the market 
  • Investment trends 
  • Institutional custody 
  • Layer-1 and Layer-2 platforms 
  • Decentralized finance (DeFi) 
  • Web3 
  • NFT/Blockchain gaming 
  • Macroeconomics
Click here to download your copy today.
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