It’s was a busy 2021 for the crypto industry to say the least. The year saw a tsunami of institutional investment wash into crypto, the NFT boom, and a country accept Bitcoin as legal tender.
But this year has also seen its share of scams, scandals and hijinks. That’s why Decrypt has chosen to recognize not just the famous people in crypto, but the infamous ones as well. Here’s our naughty list for 2021.
Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
Musk made himself a crypto hero when Tesla bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin in February, prompting a market surge. But just three months later, he backtracked on Bitcoin over its energy use. Environmentalists celebrated the move, but many of crypto’s most influential turned their back on the Tesla CEO, with one complaining of “shady shit.” Their mood didn’t improve when Bitcoin promptly fell from $57,000 to $44,000 in less than a week.
Others charged Musk with hypocrisy, citing his response to a Jack Dorsey tweet that said Bitcoin incentivized renewable energy. “True,” Musk said in April, just one month before Tesla’s U-turn. What really changed? It was also hard for many to take his Dogecoin shilling seriously.
Beyond Musk’s Bitcoin 180, others have questioned the ethics of his tweets, which have demonstrably swayed the crypto markets several times this year. “If a single tweet can potentially lead to an increase of $111 billion in Bitcoin’s market capitalization, a different tweet could also wipeout to a similar value,” noted one researcher.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao