As most of us were enjoying some R&R over Christmas break, Coinbase Cloud protocol specialist Elias Simos was scouring the web for the most interesting crypto charts of 2021: 69 of them to be exact.

In the latest Around The Block podcast, we sit down with Elias and discuss some of the most interesting data points from the year, and what it all means for the future. (High level takeaways below)

Metaverse and smart contract assets outperform

Price isn’t everything, but the two top performing assets in 2021 are indicative of broader trends throughout the year. 2021’s best performing assets were:

The governance tokens of gaming worlds Axie Infinity (AXS) and The Sandbox (SAND) each posted 16,000 and 13,000 percent gains respectively. Meanwhile, platform tokens from Polygon, Terra, Solana, and Fantom, all posted 8,000% gains or more.

Given that play-to-earn gaming had a breakout year, and layer 1s not named Ethereum saw strong adoption, these trends should be of no surprise. Now let’s dig a bit deeper.

The state of Layer 1s

Ethereum’s native token (ETH) did a modest 2X over the year, while it was somewhat of a rough year for Ethereum DeFi blue chips, with the DeFiPulse index down 80% over the year vs ETH.

The price of DeFi assets doesn’t tell the entire story, however. TVL of Ethereum DeFi applications showed tremendous growth over the year, and the number of unique Ethereum addresses interacting with DeFi protocols 4x’ed.

DefiLlama and Decentral Park Capital

Regardless, ETH killers and sidechains won the year when…

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