Bitcoin Worth $15 Quintillion Is Just Another Day In Crypto

Nick Baker and Olga Kharif
Bloomberg News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Bloomberg News takes a look back at the year in crypto and what could be on the horizon for 2022.


Cryptocurrencies made a giant leap in 2021, expanding well beyond their niche among geeks and Redditors. Wall Street strengthened its embrace, with Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman declaring it no fad. New York Mayor-elect Eric Adams said he’ll initially get paid in Bitcoin. And tokenmania invaded pop culture, from sports, entertainment and gaming to high-end auctions. Even Major League Baseball umpires wore the FTX exchange’s logo on their chests.
Yet the industry often failed to get the basics right, still plagued by the same problems that have dogged it from the start: trading glitches, infrastructure snafus, hacks and other crypto weirdness.

Back when digital tokens fetched a pittance, this could be dismissed as a silly sideshow. Now, cryptocurrencies are worth real money — more than $2 trillion, assuming the tally isn’t garbled by a data error — and their backers want to overtake traditional finance and revolutionize much more. Their ability to do so — and crypto’s staying power — may hinge on addressing and fixing basic plumbing and security issues, assuming they can.

The industry uses “the Facebook model of ‘move fast and break things,’” said Larry Tabb, head of market structure research at Bloomberg Intelligence. “There’s no regulatory push to solve these problems, so it just becomes more of an issue of competition. If I get fed up with one exchange, I’ll switch to some other player.”

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