The key numbers behind crypto’s historic, tumultuous year.
One calendar year in the cryptosphere always manages to somehow feel closer to a decade
thanks to the velocity of innovation and the volume of headline-making stories. 2022 gave us
plenty of news to keep up with — some good, some, well, not so good. From Ethereum’s
historic eco-friendly upgrade to FTX’s infamous collapse, here’s a review of the numbers that
account for the highs and lows of crypto’s turbulent, decade-long year.
Approximate value that the crypto market has shed since peaking near $3 trillion in November
2021. The total value of the crypto market as of December 20 is roughly $850 billion, near lows
for the year, and pressured by ongoing inflation and recessions fears, as well as liquidity crises
and firm insolvencies in the crypto space.
Amount of venture capital raised by crypto startups during the first three quarters of 2022. While
that figure is lower than the $23 billion raised by crypto startups in the same span last year,
steady VC investment in web3 has defied bear market headwinds.
Amount of crypto donations raised for Ukraine in the first three months after Russia invaded in
February. BTC, ETH, and stablecoins including USDT, USDC, and DAI accounted for most of
the fundraising, and because crypto assets enable near-instant, cross-border donations,
Ukraine was able to quickly use funds for supplies like medical kits, bulletproof vests,
surveillance drones, and food.
The approximate number of new users who made a trade using a decentralized exchange via
Polygon in 2022. Polygon’s new-user growth rate this year accelerated faster than both
Ethereum and Solana in the same time period.
Number of USD Coin (a stablecoin redeemable for $1) addresses with balances over $1,000 as
of this month — an all-time high. This development was likely bolstered by several Coinbase
initiatives, including waiving fees for converting USDT into USDC, and when buying or selling
USDC with any global fiat currency supported by the exchange.
Number of nations that are exploring their own “central bank digital currencies.” CBDCs are a
completely digital version of government-issued money. Unlike Bitcoin, CBDCs are centralized
legal tender, created and controlled by a government or central bank. Like Bitcoin, they can be
used for fast and inexpensive global payments.
The energy-efficiency improvement of Ethereum after the network completed its long-awaited
Merge in September. The upgrade changed how the second-largest blockchain verifies
transactions, replacing the energy-intensive Proof of Work method for the more eco-friendly
Proof of Stake.
The price decline of Terra’s LUNA token in a 24-hour period in May, shortly after the crypto’s
related stablecoin, TerraUSD, a so-called algorithmic stablecoin, lost its peg to the dollar and
prompted both of Terra’s undercollateralized tokens to collapse. The ensuing $30 billion wipeout
sent shockwaves through the crypto industry that prompted liquidity crises for firms including
Celsius, Three Arrows Capital, and more.
Age, as of October 31, of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper, which outlines the core
mechanics of the cryptocurrency. Next month, on January 3, Bitcoin will celebrate the 14th
anniversary of the first transaction ever recorded on the network. The message inscribed in the
“Genesis Block” referenced a newspaper headline about the Great Recession, a key factor in
Bitcoin’s creation: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”
This year’s peak inflation reading, from June’s Consumer Price Index, which indicated the U.S.
was seeing the worst year-over-year inflation increase in 41 years. Red-hot inflation, and the
Federal Reserve’s attempt to combat it by raising interest rates, have pressured most markets
in 2022, especially riskier growth assets like tech stocks and crypto.
Number of charges that Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have brought against Sam BankmanFried, the now-infamous former CEO of FTX. A day after SBF was arrested in the Bahamas,
U.S. prosecutors unsealed a 13-page indictment, which included counts of securities fraud, wire
fraud, and multiple conspiracy counts including money laundering and campaign finance
violations. FTX, once valued at $32 billion, is currently in the bankruptcy process. Current CEO
John Ray III, who oversaw Enron’s bankruptcy, said of FTX in a filing: “Never in my career have
I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and absence of trustworthy financial
Vietnam’s ranking on Chainalysis’s 2022 Global Crypto Adoption index, the second straight year
that it held the top spot. The report, which ranks 146 countries is based on five weighted
metrics, such as centralized exchange trade volume and peer-to-peer trade volume.