Investors in crypto assets around the world realized total gains of $162.7 billion in 2021, compared with just $32.5 billion in 2020, according to a report by blockchain data platform Chainalysis.
The year 2021 was a bumper phase for crypto assets with prices of bitcoin jumping 64% during the year, while ethereum spiked 393%.
The report highlighted that the US led by a wide margin at an estimated $47.0 billion in realized cryptocurrency gains, followed by the UK, Germany, Japan, and China.
India ranked a lowly 21st with realized gains of around $1.85 billion.
Notably, Ukraine ranks 40th in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) at $576 billion but 13th in realized cryptocurrency gains at $2.8 billion, while Turkey ranks 11th in GDP at $2.7 trillion but sixth in realized cryptocurrency gains at $4.6 billion.
Interestingly, in 2021, China’s total estimated realized cryptocurrency gains were $5.1 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 2020, for a year-over-year growth rate of 194%
“While that may sound substantial, it represents a lower growth rate than other countries’. The United States, for instance, saw estimated realized cryptocurrency gains grow 476%, from $8.1 billion to $47.0 billion. Other countries’ cryptocurrency gains grew at similar rates — the UK, for instance, saw a 431% increase, while Germany’s gains grew by 423%,” said in a report.
Further, China’s lower growth rate most likely reflects declines in the country’s cryptocurrency activity following government crackdowns.
In terms of crypto assets that contributed most to the gains, ethereum just edged out bitcoin in total realized gains globally at $76.3 billion to $74.7 billion
“We believe this reflects increased demand for ethereum as the result of DeFi’s (decentralized finance) rise in 2021, as most DeFi protocols are built on the ethereum blockchain and use ethereum as their primary currency. While most individual countries follow this pattern, there are some notable exceptions. Japan, for instance, received a much higher share of realized gains from bitcoin at just under $4 billion, compared to just $790 million in realized ethereum gains,” the report added.
The data suggests that not only crypto asset prices are growing, but also cryptocurrency remains a source of economic opportunity for users in emerging markets.