A disastrous year that saw few winners among a sea of losers

2022 was presupposed to be the year crypto went mainstream, with a important chunk of conventional enterprise capital companies betting closely on the ecosystem in 2021. However, with one catastrophe after one other, 2022 turned out to be a catastrophic year for the nascent crypto ecosystem. Some of the largest names touted as pivotal to taking the crypto ecosystem ahead turned out to be the orchestrators of its worst year in current reminiscence.

That stated, fairly a few protagonists rose to the event. These winners proved that crypto isn’t just about a few choose people and firms however a vibrant ecosystem that can survive important setbacks.

Let’s begin with some of the largest winners of the crypto ecosystem in 2022. The listing consists of people, corporations and nameless teams working for the betterment of the business.

The winners

In a year that saw the multibillion-dollar collapses of the Terra ecosystem, FTX and Three Arrows Capital, it’s onerous to select winners. However, crypto has confronted adversaries earlier than, and 2022 was no completely different. Several positives got here out of the year regardless of the collapse of a number of centralized entities.

Ledger and Trezor

When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin (BTC), a core thought was to offer folks monetary sovereignty that made them much less depending on centralized intermediaries.

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With presents of profitable rates of interest on yield merchandise and derivatives buying and selling companies, most crypto customers most popular to maintain their crypto belongings on centralized exchanges. However, these profitable choices grow to be a nightmare when hundreds of thousands of clients lose their funds within the wake of a centralized alternate collapse.

In the rubble of the FTX collapse, crypto buyers misplaced belief in centralized exchanges. Hardware pockets suppliers like Ledger and Trezor have benefitted from buyers shifting their conduct towards self-custody.

By December, self-custody companies and {hardware} wallets grew to become the popular alternative of many. After the collapse of FTX, Trezor saw a 300% surge in gross sales and income and Ledger saw its biggest sale day ever.

White hat hackers

The crypto ecosystem is comparatively new, and several other use instances like decentralized finance (DeFi) are in early improvement. This makes it liable to bugs and exploits. According to DefiLlama, DeFi protocols had been exploited for almost $5.93 billion in 2022

A disastrous year that saw few winners among a sea of losers
Total worth hacked (USD) from DeFi protocols in 2022. Source: DefiLlama

However, the figures would have been a lot increased if not for white hat hackers. These white hats returned hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in stolen funds and flagged safety bugs that might have led to extra exploits. Security service supplier Immunefi claims to have prevented the theft of $20 billion value of crypto belongings alone by means of its bug bounty program for white hat hackers..

While many initiatives are inclined to ignore white hats, 2022 confirmed that it’s higher to pay out hundreds of thousands in bug bounties than lose billions in exploits.


Amid the chaos of 2022, the Tether (USDT) stablecoin has efficiently manoeuvred its method by means of the wreckage of each the Terra and FTX collapses.

A disastrous year that saw few winners among a sea of losers
USDT worth and quantity on a 1-year chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The centralized stablecoin has been on the forefront of critics’ commentary for so long as it has existed. When Terra’s native stablecoin depegged, there have been rumors about Tether’s publicity to the doomed ecosystem.

However, USDT managed to beat the scare, and all through 2022, it has considerably decreased its unstable publicity. The agency additionally pledged to cease lending out funds from its reserves and put a full cease to all of the worry, uncertainty and doubt, or FUD.

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Tether has grow to be extra clear over time, with 82% of its reserves in liquid belongings. The agency had complete belongings of $68.06 billion on the finish of the third quarter, exceeding its complete liabilities of $67.8 billion.

The losers

The crypto ecosystem saw many losers in 2022, with Sam Bankman-Fried the primary to earn a point out. The former CEO of crypto alternate FTX began 2022 with a $20 billion web value. In lower than a year, that web value disappeared and Bankman-Fried is now out on bail for allegedly stealing clients’ funds and committing securities fraud. Terra’s co-founder Do Kwon, whose final identified location was Serbia, additionally makes the listing.


Algorithmic stablecoins had been a novel, promising idea through the bull market. The Terra ecosystem rose to new highs primarily based on this hype. However, the flawed design of TerraUSD (UST), now generally known as TerraClassicUSD (USTC), aided by the reckless decision-making of Kwon, led to its eventual downfall. The failure of Terra’s native stablecoin additionally tainted the idea of algorithmic stablecoins, with regulators warning in opposition to them.

FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, Tether

The collapse of UST obliterated $40 billion of investor capital and precipitated a contagion that claimed almost half a dozen different crypto companies with publicity to Terra. While many companies and people might qualify within the losers listing, Terra’s UST implosion was the catalyst that precipitated extra upheaval in 2022.

Alameda Research, FTX and centralized exchanges

At the beginning of 2022, FTX was valued at $32 billion, whereas its sister firm Alameda Research boasted a several-billion-dollar valuation of its personal. However, the November financial institution run on FTX quickly became chapter. As extra particulars emerged, it turned out FTX and Alameda Research weren’t as impartial as they claimed. Even FTX US, which was presupposed to be a separate entity regulated below United States legislation, was discovered to be embroiled within the complicated saga.

FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, Tether

According to the authorities, FTX and Alameda funneled funds to one another, and the 2 companies had been additionally concerned within the embezzlement of clients’ funds. Alameda used FTX funds to mortgage billions of {dollars} to different companies. FTX, alternatively, used nonexistent in-house initiatives with inflated valuations as collateral to take out important loans. The complete Ponzi got here crashing down in November.

Related: Top 5 crypto winners (and losers) of 2022

The downfall of FTX and Alameda created extra contagion within the crypto ecosystem and single-handedly erased belief in centralized exchanges and the broader crypto ecosystem virtually in a single day.

Crypto buyers

Among all of the chaos and downfall of many crypto exchanges and main enterprise capital companies, the largest losers are crypto buyers. If the burn of the bear market was not sufficient, hundreds of thousands of crypto buyers who had their funds on FTX misplaced their life financial savings in a single day.

Terra was as soon as a $40 billion ecosystem. Its native token, LUNA — now generally known as Terra Classic (LUNC) — was one of the highest 5 greatest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. With hundreds of thousands of clients invested within the ecosystem, the collapse introduced their funding to zero inside hours. After the Terra collapse, crypto buyers misplaced their funds on a sequence of centralized exchanges and staking platforms like Celsius, BlockFi and Hodlnaut. Crypto buyers additionally misplaced considerably within the nonfungible token market, with the worth of many widespread collections down by 70%. Overall, crypto buyers are among the largest losers of the year.

FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, Tether

2022 will go down in crypto historical past as an annus horribilis. Crypto buyers will need to overlook the year and begin recent. Venture capital companies and buyers in crypto initiatives are reevaluating their funding methods. After such a tumultuous year in crypto, a possible end result would be the acceleration of rules within the business all through the approaching year. This might restore some of the misplaced confidence within the business.