(Edited by James Rubin)
Good morning. Here’s what’s happening this morning:
Market moves: Bitcoin returned above $50,000 after the S&P 500 rose to a near record high.
Technician’s take (Editor’s Note): First Mover Asia replaces the usual Technician’s Take today with CoinDesk’s annual list of the most influential people in cryptocurrency. This year’s group of 50 influencers encompasses developers and entrepreneurs behind the projects already transforming the way we consider money and our way of doing business; thinkers trying to make sense of the rapidly emerging industry; and regulators and politicians trying to set reasonable boundaries that will protect consumers without crimping crypto’s remarkable innovations. The nature of end-of-year lists invites disagreement, sometimes controversy and often speculation. So read CoinDesk’s selections with an eye to whom you would have chosen and who might make the 2022 list. Presenting CoinDesk’s Most Influential 2021: The 50 people who defined the year in crypto.
Catch the latest episodes of CoinDesk TV for insightful interviews with crypto industry leaders and analysis.
Bitcoin (BTC): $50.290 +2%
Ether (ETH): $4,158 +2.5%
S&P 500: $4,712 +0.9%
Dow Jones Industrial Average: $35,970 +0.6%
Nasdaq: $15,630 +0.7%
Gold: $1,783 +0.3%
Bitcoin has recovered most of its losses in the past week and rose back above $50,000 on Sunday. The rebound followed two days after the S&P 500 closed Friday at a level close to its all-time high level.
Trading volume across major centralized exchanges remained low over the weekend, far from the high level a week ago when the oldest cryptocurrency tumbled to as low as $42,333 on Dec 4. The subdued trading volume indicates that the price recovery will be less sustainable, meaning that it remains uncertain where bitcoin is headed once markets open in Asia.
Prices for alternative cryptocurrencies also rose: ether, the No. 2 cryptocurrency by market cap, rose above $4,100 on Sunday.
The U.S. stock market rallied on Friday as the inflation reading by the Labor Department was not as high as many investors anticipated, according to CNBC.
It was a massive year for crypto: Twelve months when long-held theses were validated and many once sci-fi concepts became relatively mainstream.
Celebrities embraced NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) became a thing. The U.S. Congress taxed crypto (but accepted it more and more). And the markets … well, they were nuts.
“Crypto” today means more than it did a year ago and much more than it did a decade ago. It takes in the future of money, the future of culture, perhaps the future as we know it.
Most Influential is CoinDesk’s recognition of this wide-ranging field of innovation. The following names were selected first by readers in a survey and then by staff over two rounds of (intense) meetings.
The top 10 are recognized for outstanding contributions across development, business building, regulation, gaming, art and investing. CoinDesk commissioned 10 artists to create portraits of these influencers, with NFTs of the works available at platforms like SuperRare and Foundation. Up to 20% of the sales will go to charities of the artists’ choice.
The “honorable 40″ (listed below the top 10) are recognized for their ongoing work. We’ll roll out more profiles and interviews over the course of this week.
Most Influential 2021: The Top 10
1. Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX
Why: For naming stadia “FTX” and becoming crypto’s richest and cleverest twentysomething. Read the full profile.
2. Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs
Why: For leading NBA Top Shot and bringing tokens to sports (including the NFL). Read the full profile.
3. Bitcoin’s Taproot developers
Why: For contributions to the biggest Bitcoin upgrade in years. Read the full profile.
4. Jack Mallers, founder and CEO of Strike
Why: For his work in El Salvador with President Bukele and development of the Bitcoin Lightning Network. Read the full profile.
5. Elon Musk, entrepreneur
Why: For his Dogecoin advocacy – and showing the dangers of influencers on crypto markets. Read the full profile.
6. Trung Nguyen, CEO of Axie Infinity
Why: For making crypto fun and catalyzing a “play to earn” juggernaut. Read the full profile.
7. Cynthia Lummis, U.S. senator representing Wyoming
Why: For leading pro-bitcoin discourse in the U.S. Senate. Read the full profile.
8. Gary Gensler, chair of U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission
Why: For grasping the nettle of crypto regulation. Read the full profile.
9. Do Kwon, CEO of Terraform Labs
Why: For his contributions to Cosmos and the multi-chain future. Read the full profile.
10. Katie Haun, general partner atAndreessen Horowitz
Why: For leading policy discussions and notable investments. Read the full profile.
The Honorable 40
The following are recognized for their ongoing contributions to the crypto industry.
All Seeing Seneca – The creative lead behind Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Naveen Jain – He created a global identity solution using emojis.
Polynetwork Hacker – For educating us on the difference between “hack” and “exploit.”
Roneil Rumburg – Audius’s CEO on growing a Web 3 Spotify to nearly 7 million monthly listeners.
Michael Shaulov – A DeFi powerhouse finds a balance between decentralization and compliance.
Francis X. Suarez – Miami’s Mayor: “I’ve learned how extensive the network of crypto stakeholders truly is.”
Camila Russo – The Defiant founder: “We are just learning how powerful cryptocurrencies and smart contracts can rally people globally.”
Tim Beiko – By 2030, Ethereum’s economy will be [at] “top 10 country” scale, says this Ethereum developer.
Mark Cuban – Crypto “will have the same impact on business and consumers as the internet did, if not more.”
Willy Woo – For building a 21st century media empire.
Isaiah Jackson – The “Bitcoin & Black America” author continues to inspire.
Stani Kulechov – The founder of Aave has teased coming ideas, including a debit card and fashion line, for the decentralized money market.
Ryan Selkis – Messari’s CEO was a force behind crypto’s political awakening this year.
Charles Hoskinson – Cardano’s founder brought smart contracts to one of the largest “Ethereum killers” this year.
Andre Cronje – Will 2022 be the year Yearn becomes the “back office for yield?”
Gavin Wood – Following the first batch of parachain auctions, Polkadot will solidify its place as a key proof-of-stake blockchain.
Arianna Simpson – The a16z general partner is investing in the future of the internet, Web 3.
Paolo Ardoino – Tether’s unofficial hype man is willing to argue online with critics of the stablecoin.
Vitalik Buterin – The founder of Ethereum still holds sway over the most used blockchain network.
Antonio Juliano – Decentralized exchange dYdX was one the first to experiment with an innovative layer 2 solution.
Jeremy Allaire – The Circle CEO hopes to take his firm toward a $4.5 billion exit.
Danny Ryan – The Ethereum Foundation programmer took lead on the much anticipated London hard fork.
Michael Saylor – The MicroStrategy CEO will buy the dip and the top. He’s in the market for bitcoin.
Elizabeth Warren – The progressive Massachusetts senator has brought the fight against crypto to Washington.
Jerome Powell – The Federal Reserve chairman is likely the most influential man in crypto, as he is in all markets.
Barry Silbert – The founder of Digital Currency Group sees Standard Oil as an inspiration.
Serey Chea – Project Bakong stands apart from other nation digital currency experiments. Chea brought Cambodia’s moonshot into being.
Ray Youssef – Peer-to-peer bitcoin trading is a powerful force.
President Xi Jinping – When the Chinese Communist Party banned mining, it only proved the resilience of Bitcoin’s distributed network.
Bitfinex’ed – Some of the pseudonymous account’s suspicions about Tether’s backing were vindicated this year.
Changpeng Zhao – The Binance CEO took a more practical approach to regulation this year.
Robert Leshner – The Compound founder expects the bridge between DeFi and traditional finance to narrow next year.
Devin Finzer – OpenSea was most recently valued at $10 billion.
Matt Hall & John Watkinson – Larva Labs, the creator of CryptoPunk, is working with a Hollywood powerhouse to expand the NFT brand.
Brian Armstrong – Coinbase CEO took the U.S.-based exchange public this year, in a historic direct listing
Jack Dorsey – The former CEO of Twitter and Square, now CEO of Block, is building for a world where bitcoin is the native currency of the internet.
Kristen Smith – The Blockchain Association’s executive director is one of crypto’s staunchest advocates on Capitol Hill.
Beeple – Digital artist Mike Winkelmann brought NFTs into the limelight.
Anatoly Yakovenko – Solana, a distributed network Yakovenko co-founded, saw massive growth this year.
Random Celebrities Who Discovered Crypto – From Paris Hilton to Jimmy Fallon, crypto was brought into the limelight
7:50 a.m. HKT/SGT (23:50 p.m. UTC, Dec. 12): Japan machinery orders (Oct. YoY/MoM)
7:50 a.m. HKT/SGT (23:50 p.m. UTC Dec. 12): Japan large manufacturing index/outlook (Q4)
7:50 a.m. HKT/SGT (23:50 p.m. UTC Dec. 12): Japan non-manufacturing index/outlook (Q4)
3 p.m. HKT/SGT (7 a.m. UTC): German whole price index (Nov. YoY/MoM)
7 p.m. HKT/SGT (11 p.m. UTC): European Blockchain Conference (virtual)
“First Mover” hosts were joined by Stellar Development Foundation CEO and Executive Director Denelle Dixon for a review of Wednesday’s congressional hearing with crypto CEOs, as well as her take on the U.S. crypto regulation outlook. VanEck Head of Digital Assets Research Matthew Sigel provided market insights as the U.S. CPI number hit the highest in 39 years in November. Plus, CoinDesk Global Policy and Regulation Managing Editor Nik De sat down with Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis, whom CoinDesk named one of its 50 most influential people in crypto in 2021.
India Prime Minister Suffers Another Twitter Hack; Fake Tweet Sent Promising Bitcoin to All Indians: The attack followed one in fall 2020 that was part of a widespread hack used to trick social media users to send cryptocurrency to the attackers.
India’s Modi Calls for Global Crypto Standard: The prime minister said that technologies, such as crypto, should empower democracies not undermine them.
South Africa’s Financial Regulator Is Planning Crypto Rules to Protect Vulnerable Population: Report: The regulations will be unveiled in early 2022 as a response to two major scams that defrauded investors of significant sums earlier this year.
ConstitutionDAO Tokens (Yes They’re Still Trading) See Wild Session With $9M Liquidations: Market movements got the better of both long and short traders betting on PEOPLE, the native token of Ethereum-based ConstitutionDAO.
Bitcoin Under Pressure, Two-Year Treasury Yield Rises to 21-Month High as US Inflation Report Looms: The previous CPI report released last month saw volatile bitcoin trade in the $63,000-$69,000 range.
Anonymous Crypto Donors Are Changing Philanthropy: And winning a “quiet war” for donor privacy rights in the nonprofit sector, says the co-founder of The Giving Block.
Today’s crypto explainer: What Is a Bitcoin ETF?
Other voices: Half a Billion in Bitcoin, Lost in the Dump (The New Yorker)
Said and heard
“‘Crypto’ today means more than it did a year ago and much more than it did a decade ago. It takes in the future of money, the future of culture, perhaps the future as we know it.” (CoinDesk – Most Influential 2021)