- Elon Musk has been the most influential figure in crypto, from being the Dogefather to Tesla buying $1.5 billion worth of BTC and then suspending BTC payments.
- Other personalities who moved the market included ex-Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, Michael Saylor, Changpeng Zhao, Gary Gensler and more.
2021 has been very eventful. Despite the pandemic, the year has seen never-ending changes and twists, and crypto was no different. The sector has seen the rise in prominence of some popular figures, some more than others, whose moves and sometimes even tweets moved billions of dollars in market value. Elon Musk led the battalion, but others like Michael Saylor, Gary Gensler and Jack Dorsey played a significant part as well.
What would the world have been like in 2021 without the charismatic Tesla boss Elon Musk? Now the richest man in the world has been influential in more ways than one, so much so that Time Magazine named him Person of the Year.
Musk’s influence in crypto became quite big, even too big in some instances. The market lived and died by his moves, and even extended to his tweets. A tweet with the word ‘Dogecoin’ would push the market cap of the memecoin up by significant percentages, sometimes by up to 25 percent.
Musk has never been one to shy off from attention, milking this newly-found cult-like following to push his agenda. He pumped Dogecoin by heaping all manner of praise on a cryptocurrency that was created as a joke and abandoned by two engineers. Remember when he appeared on Saturday Night Live and promoted DOGE, even calling himself the Dogefather? (It didn’t go as expected, but still…)
All that was when he was acting as an individual. There was a second side when he influenced markets as the Tesla boss. Musk has always had a way of imposing his ideas on his electric vehicle company, and with Bitcoin, it was no different.
This year, he announced that his company had purchased $1.5 billion worth of BTC. This sent the price soaring, so much so that in one month’s time, the company had made $1 billion from its investment. Analysts even pointed out that Tesla stood a chance of making more from BTC than from selling cars, which is its primary business.
He didn’t stop there. Musk announced that Tesla planned on accepting BTC for payment for its EV vehicles. This, once again, had the same ‘to the moon’ effect.
However, it went sour quickly, and following criticism of the BTC energy consumption (which Tesla is a champion against), he dropped the crypto. He did make some pledges about reaccepting it in the future, but we all knew he was just saving face and he was done with his ‘plaything.’ And while to him it might have been a plaything, investors suffered hundreds of billions of dollars in losses from the ensuing price tumble.
Musk has done much more for the space, including pushing for DOGE to scale and serve as a payment method (which it’s designed not to be, by the way). And while there have been rough times, he has most certainly helped crypto get more popular across the globe.
Jack isn’t quite as controversial as his buddy Musk. However, he has been quite influential as well. Being the Twitter boss (he did resign in November however), and Twitter being ground zero for the crypto space, his sway has been massive. As with Musk, he has used his companies to push for his favorite crypto, which for him is Bitcoin and nothing but Bitcoin.
This year, he integrated Bitcoin tipping into Twitter, allowing content creators to receive a few dollars in their wallets from their fans. What he didn’t take into account, however, is that Bitcoin is averaging $3 in transaction fees and as such, a $5 tip would see over half the value lost in transit.
A few months back, Jack also launched Twitter Crypto, a team within the company that focuses strictly on crypto and decentralized apps. The team will also integrate into Bluesky, a project by Twitter to decentralize its platform. This would, in theory, take away most of the control it now enjoys and subsequently, obliterate its value proposition (it’s hard to see why this project would ever see the light of day).
With his other company Square, Jack has done even more. For starters, he even changed the name of Square to Block (although he has gotten into trademark battles for this). The intention was to dive deeper into a blockchain, or it could mean “neighborhood blocks where we find our sellers, block parties full of music…”
Square’s Cash App has continued to be one of the most convenient avenues for purchasing Bitcoin, with sales ranging above $2.5 billion a quarter. Jack is also building a decentralized exchange with Square for Bitcoin.
Jack is a Bitcoin maximalist – which basically means for him it’s Bitcoin or no coin. He has made this very clear throughout the year, including by taking jibes at Ethereum and even engaging in an exchange with Vitalik Buterin.
Watch out for Part 2 with Michael Saylor, CZ, Gary Gensler and more.