The march towards mass adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies took significant steps in 2021. The growth of decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFT) sectors has put the industry in the mainstream media spotlight on a daily basis.
From the emergence of cryptomemes, such as Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB), to the popularization of “play to win” games and popular protocols like Axie Infinity, 2021 aims to show the world opportunities for income generation that exist within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
From the emergence of meme currencies such as Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) to the popularity of the “play to win” game model and protocols such as Axie Infinity, 2021 has shown the world income-generating opportunities and value that exist within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
And it’s not just the involvement of average citizens that indicates the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies is taking place. Several major developments in finance and popular culture show that blockchain technology is slowly becoming a mainstay in global society.
These are some of the most significant developments in 2021 that indicate the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies is here to stay.
Big Sponsorship Deals Make Traditional Media Headlines
One of the most significant signs of mass adoption in 2021 was the rise of large sponsorship deals and partnerships between cryptocurrency-related companies and other major organizations such as sports teams and professional sports associations, as well as popular celebrities and influencers.
More recently, the Crypto.com exchange shocked the world by announcing it has signed a 20-year name rights agreement with leading sports and entertainment company AEG to rename the Staples Center in Los Angeles, home of the professional basketball team. NBA Los Angeles Lakers, for Crypto.com Arena.
We’re extremely proud to announce that Staples Center, Los Angeles’ most iconic arena is getting a new name:
— Crypto.com (@cryptocom) November 17, 2021
We are extremely proud to announce that the Staples Center, Los Angeles’ most iconic arena, is being given a new name:
As part of this 20-year partnership, we’re also excited to welcome @Lakers and @LAKings as our newest partners!
— Crypto.com (@cryptocom)
As part of the $700 million deal, Crypto.com will partner with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings, who will become “official cryptocurrency platform partners.”
This deal by Crypto.com comes on the heels of a move similar to the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, which earlier this year signed a 19-year, $135 million deal with Miami-Dade County to rename the team’s arena. NBA Miami Heat professional basketball for FTX Arena.
In addition to these important multi-year, multi-million dollar sponsorship deals, there have been a number of other deals between companies in the cryptocurrency industry and sports associations, including a sponsorship deal between Coinbase and the US Professional Basketball League (NBA), and a partnership between the New York Digital Investment Group and the Houston Rockets, whose players will be paid in Bitcoin (BTC) by the firm.
Big brands embrace NFT culture
Another sign of mass adoption has been the incorporation of the NFT culture by world-renowned brands such as McDonald’s and Burger King, which are looking to capitalize on the industry’s growing popularity by seeking a new way to interact with their customers.
i present to u the most important NFT. RT for a chance to win one of ten exclusive #McRibNFT
in the purch. nec. 50 US/DC, 18+ only. winners need crypto wallet to receive NFT. rules: https://t.co/2QRhsPlpur pic.twitter.com/KYmWI67PhG
— McDonald’s (@McDonalds) November 1, 2021
I present to you the most important NFT. RT for the chance to win one of ten exclusive #McRibNFT
it is not for sale. nec. 50 US/DC, 18+ only. winners need a cryptocurrency wallet to receive the NFT.
– McDonald’s (@McDonalds)
Despite widespread crackdown on cryptocurrencies in China, McDonald’s Chinese launched its “Big Mac Rubik’s Cube” line of NFTs on Oct. 8 to commemorate the company’s 31st anniversary in the local market and distributed a set of 188 NFTs to employees and customers as part of the campaign.
In September, Burger King launched an NFT-focused marketing campaign titled “Keep It Real Meals,” in which customers had the opportunity to scan a QR code stamped on sandwich boxes to receive one of the game’s three collectible pieces. Players who collected the three pieces could exchange them for a digital collectible, free hamburgers for a year, or bond with one of the celebrities who were part of the campaign.
All this attention from large brands and corporations towards NFTs comes at a time when public interest in non-fungible tokens is growing, as evidenced by Google Trends data. Searches for phrases related to NFT are at record levels and have already surpassed terms like “DeFi,” “Ethereum” and “blockchain”.
Viewers have also been increasingly exposed to cryptocurrency commercials featuring famous protagonists, including actor Matt Damon and football player Tom Brady.
Traditional finance finally embraces Bitcoin
A third development that indicates that cryptocurrency adoption is underway is the integration of cryptocurrency-related projects into conventional financial niches. The biggest example was the launch of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (exchange traded fund), the first Bitcoin ETF to be authorized on the US market.
The launch of the first ETF was quickly followed by the launch of the VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF, indicating that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is comfortable approving Bitcoin futures ETFs at this time, but is not yet prepared to allow Bitcoin ETFs in cash , something that might not happen anytime soon.
2021 also saw significant integration of blockchain technology with the broader financial sector, as major payment processing networks such as Visa and Mastercard closed several deals related to the cryptocurrency industry to allow holders of this asset class to use them as a means of payment.
Several influential companies with a focus on cryptocurrencies, including the aforementioned Crypto.com, as well as BlockFi and Coinbase, use the Visa network to power their credit and debit card system, while Mastercard has partnered with the digital asset platform Bakkt, also laying the groundwork to eventually support central bank digital currencies (CBDC).
The fact that several central banks around the world have announced that they are investigating or developing their own CBDCs is testament to the inevitable mass integration of blockchain technology into the broader global financial ecosystem.
While the cryptocurrency market as a whole is likely to continue to experience its boom and bust cycles like all markets over time, cryptoactive holders should be reassured that, in the long run, blockchain technology will it is heading for widespread adoption and integration into various aspects of our daily lives as the Internet of Things and Web 3.0 continue to evolve.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely from the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading movement involves risk. You must conduct your own research when making a decision.