2022 was a strenuous year for crypto investors and platforms alike. But amid market crashes, scandals, and bankruptcies, several good things did happen. So, let’s get into the best things that happened in the crypto industry in 2022.
1. Tether Regains Its $1 Peg After a Short Drop
Tether (USDT) is the world’s most popular stablecoin and is pegged in a 1:1 ratio to the US dollar.
However, in early November 2022, Tether briefly lost its dollar peg amid the crypto crash fueled by FTX’s bankruptcy filing. The downfall of FTX caused a market-wide crash, with investors losing their confidence in the industry.
On November 10, Tether’s value dropped by 3% from its dollar peg to $0.97. Relative to other crypto price fluctuations, like that of Bitcoin, this seems pretty insignificant. But stablecoins are designed to stay incredibly close to their peg value. Tether’s price usually remains between $0.99 and $1.02, so a drop of 3% was undoubtedly bad news.
Tether’s brief loss of its $1 peg caused a lot of concern, but to the delight of investors, this dip didn’t last very long. By December 1, it was back to $1 in value.
2. Ethereum Merge 2.0 Is Complete
The Ethereum 2.0 merge is a long-awaited update designed to switch the Ethereum blockchain from proof of work to proof of stake. While the proof of work mechanism uses up masses of energy and can lead to long transaction times, proof of stake can provide a more energetically sustainable network and quicker transactions.
On September 16, 2022, the Ethereum 2.0 Merge was completed, with the network switching entirely to proof of stake.
Many were excited about this Merge, eager to see Ethereum move away from a somewhat outdated consensus mechanism that guzzled electricity. The Merge reduced energy usage by an incredible 99%, making Ethereum more environmentally friendly. Crypto is often viewed as harmful to the environment, so reducing the energy usage of such a mammoth network is big news for the industry and its effect on the planet.
However, some view the Ethereum 2.0 Merge as a bad thing, as it puts miners out of work. When Ethereum used the proof of work mechanism, miners were required to secure the network. A miner could provide a decent income stream for themselves via Ethereum mining, but this avenue is no longer available. But there are other cryptocurrencies out there that can be mined, so the mining industry is by no means dead in the water.
3. Ukraine Receives Donations in Crypto
The Russia-Ukraine war forced thousands of Ukrainian residents to vacate their homes, leave their jobs, and face poverty. But individuals around the world have come to the aid of Ukrainians via donations. While many platforms made fiat donations possible, the option of crypto-based donations also became available.
In March 2022, it was reported that the Ukrainian government had managed to raise over $68 million in crypto assets. As reported by Elliptic, 120,000 crypto donations were made to the cause, including a $5.8 million donation from Gavin Wood, the founder of Polkadot, and a huge Ether donation worth $5 million from Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin.
On top of this, a CryptoPunk NFT worth $200,000 was donated, and FTX gave $25 to every Ukrainian user registered on its platform. So it’s clear that big crypto players were ready to lend a hand.
Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet addresses were also posted by Ukraine’s official Twitter account for people to easily donate to in order to aid Ukrainians. In addition, donations in the form of Tether (USDT) could also be made.
Though crypto has been leveraged for crime in the past, this huge swathe of donations represents how cryptocurrency can also be used to make positive changes.
4. $3.36 Billion in Crypto Is Seized, and Culprit Confesses
The crypto industry is no stranger to cybercrime. Scams are rife throughout this market, with criminals looking to swindle unknowing crypto holders out of their funds. People have lost millions to these malicious actors, but sometimes authorities manage to take some of these stolen assets back.
This happened in November 2021 when the US Department of Justice searched the home of James Zhong. From this warranted search, £3.36 billion in stolen cryptocurrency was seized, along with other assets like gold bars and Casascius (physical Bitcoin) coins. This huge holding of crypto was stolen from the dark web’s Silk Road marketplace by just one man, which is quite incredible in and of itself.
Though this seizure took place in late 2021, Zhong finally pled guilty to illegally taking over 50,000 Bitcoin from the dark web’s Silk Road marketplace in November 2022, confirming that the right man had been arrested for this mammoth crime.
5. Crypto Scam Revenue Falls by 65%
The major hits suffered by the cryptocurrency industry throughout 2022 had a few positive outcomes, one being that crypto crime decreased. In fact, 2022 saw a 65% fall in crypto-related crimes compared to mid-2021.
As reported by Reuters in August 2022, the crypto scam industry was estimated to be worth $1.6 billion. While this is a sizable figure, it is drastically lower than it was in 2021. This suggests that cybercriminals are less interested in targeting this industry due to its multiple crashes. On top of this, it seems that crypto holders are now more aware of scams, so they are not falling victim to these swindles as easily as they once did.
But the drop in the crypto crime industry’s value is also fueled by the falling prices of assets. If a cybercriminal stole one Bitcoin in November 2021, they’d have close to $70,000. But currently, one Bitcoin will only fetch you around $16,000 if sold. Because cybercriminals are acquiring less per scam, the industry’s value is dropping. This is bad news for malicious actors but great news for the rest of the cryptocurrency realm.
2023 May Be a Better Year for Crypto
Though a number of great things happened in the crypto industry in 2022, it was also a tough year for assets, platforms, and investors. The market took some major hits throughout the year, but this doesn’t have to be indicative of what 2023 has in store. We may indeed see the market recover, though no one can say this for certain.
Read the full article here