Cardano 2021 Year In Review Report will give an overview of Cardano in the last year and look forward to the future of the Proof-Of-Stake blockchain

2021 is a stepping stone for the Cardano ecosystem in 2022. This 2021 Cardano Report belongs to the Year In Review series released by Coin98 Insights. 

2021 is an important milestone for the crypto space as well as the global financial market since numerous remarkable records have been made. We hope that this article will remind us of the memorable journey of Cardano throughout 2021. 

Cardano and its ecosystem are all-encompassing in this article, compiled by Coin98 Insights. This includes all events, milestones, and highlight numbers of Cardano. Additionally, Coin98 Insights’ researchers will try to deliver valuable insights and some future predictions to readers through the article.

It’s not only about 2021, but also 2022 and many other years. We hope this article and our latest 2021 Cardano Report (pdf file) will be the left and right arms for you in crypto.

Note: You can download the 2021 Cardano Report (pdf file) at:

Looking back at Cardano on 2021

How it began

In this section, we will take a look back at how Cardano was at the beginning of 2021, which will be divided into 2 smaller sections as follows:

  • Ecosystem Overview.
  • Highlight statistics.

1. Ecosystem Overview

First, ADA is the native token of the Cardano blockchain. 

ada 1 1 2021
Blockchain Market Cap Comparison on Jan 1st, 2021

At the beginning of 2021, ADA had a market cap of over $5.6B which ranked third on the leaderboard of blockchain platforms. Cardano was a big hit in the 2017-2018 crypto bubble. Therefore, after a long time in a bearish trend, ADA was able to hold a considerable portion of the market share.

cardano ecosystem
Cardano Ecosystem In June 2021. Source: Cardians_

Earlier in 2021, Cardano had not released the smart contract mainnet. As a result, only a few projects were planning to deploy their ideas on the Cardano blockchain. The above infographic shows some basic components of the Cardano ecosystem that started in Mid 2021.

The Basho era (smart contract) has been delayed two times in total: first in March 2021 and second in July 2021. However, in September 2021, the Alonzo upgrade was released, which was considered the dawn of the Cardano ecosystem.

2. Highlight Statistics of Cardano in early 2021

  • $5.6B was the market cap of ADA in January 2021.
  • ~30 was the number of projects being built on Cardano.
  • 72% of the Total ADA were staked in staking pools in February 2021.
  • 210,000 ADA Wallets on Jan 1st, 2021.

How it is going

1. Ecosystem Overview

ada 31 12 2021
Blockchain Market Cap Comparison on Dec 31st, 2021

Cardano (ADA), along with other high cap coins, led the market with the growth in terms of market cap by roughly x9 ($5.6 to $44B). However, the ADA price (ATH $3.1) had a huge correction in late 2021 that has been lasting for months.

In early 2021, ADA ranked third and by the end of 2021, it ranked in fourth place (surpassed by SOL). Furthermore, other blockchain coins were able to fill the market cap gaps with ADA. As a result, 2022 will be a competitive year for Cardano to work on the development strategy.

Cardano Roadmap. Source: Cardians_

As the representative logos of crypto projects are getting smaller day by day, we can see how the Cardano ecosystem has changed from having only a few to hundreds of projects. As mentioned above, the Alonzo mainnet in September 2021 was the beginning of the Cardano era (the next step is the scaling era Basho).

Cardano Ecosystem in 2021. Source: Cardians_

DeFi on Cardano is moving fast since some AMM DEX released Testnet to the community (SundaeSwap and MinSwap) while some released mainnet (Muesliswap). However, other components (Lending, Stablecoins, Synthetic,...) of DeFi legos are still being built.

Cardano NFT (CNFT) was the hottest keyword in 2021 inside the Cardano community. Each day, there were hundreds of Tweets with hashtags #CNFT #CardanoNFT on Twitter, showing the public attention for NFTs on Cardano. The infographic above can’t encompass all NFTs that are available. The number of Cardano NFT is still skyrocketing.

Cardano Ecosystem Vs. Ethereum. Source: Cardians_

In the beginning, Cardano was entitled “the Ethereum killer”. Let’s make a little comparison between Cardano and Ethereum. In 2021, both blockchain platforms have had exceptional growth. The Cardano community expects the Cardano ecosystem will flourish in 2022 and years to come.

2021 Highlight Statistics of Cardano:

  • $44B was the market cap of ADA (x9).
  • ~250 was the number of projects being built on Cardano (x8).
  • ~71% of the total ADA staked in staking pools (stable rate).
  • 2.6M ADA Wallets.
  • 1M ADA delegations.
  • 3100 validators.
  • 1200 codes were committed in the last week of 2021.

Cardano's Key Milestones in 2021

Q1 2021

In February 2021, the ADA price broke the previous ATH of $1.2 at the beginning of 2018. This was a catalyst for Cardano to attract more attention from the public, contributing to the growth of Cardano as well as the community.

ADA Price (updated: Jan 7th, 2022)

Total ADA staked in pools was 72%, peaked in February 2021. Afterward, this number was stable at around 70%. This means long-term holders were staking their ADA in staking pools to earn passive rewards.

Q2 2021

Cardstarter and Occam Finance were the first decentralized launchpads to go mainnet. They aimed at the Cardano community to bootstrap and support prominent crypto projects to raise funds. Both platforms in April 2021 allowed users to start respectively to stake $CARDS and $OCC to participate in IDOs.

In May, we witnessed the first Bitcoin crash in 2021, the ADA price was down to around $1. In the meantime, Carano achieved a new milestone as 1M ADA wallets were registered.

Blockchain Validator Comparison. Source: Cardians_

As shown in the chart above, Cardano is considered one of the most decentralized blockchain platforms in the crypto space. By the end of 2021, the number grew to over 3,000 Cardano validators.

Cardano Exchange And Wallet Support. Source: Cardians_

Q3 2021

Cardano Ecosystem In July 2021. Source: Cardians_
ADA All-Time-High In September 2021. Source: Cardians_

As Bitcoin got back on the bullish track, the ADA price followed the market sentiment to break the previous ATH only after 3 months.

Smart Contracts On Cardano Went Mainnet

September 2021 was a memorable milestone for the development of Cardano as the smart contract mainnet was finally released after multiple delays. Cardano's roadmap can now continue for the next era named Basho (the scaling era).

Cardano Summit 2021. Source: Cardians_

Q4 2021

Initial Stake Pool Offering On Cardano. Source: Cardians_

ISPO is the opportunity for ADA holders to skin-in-the-game more in the Cardano ecosystem.

COTI is responsible for developing DJED stablecoin for Cardano
EMURGO x Cardano Foundation. Source: Cardians_
CNFT.IO on Cardano. Source: Cardians_

NFTs on Cardano took the spotlight in the second half of 2021. Trading volume on (a Cardano-based NFT marketplace) was over $100M at that time.

Project Catalyst Fund6. Source: Cardians_

Project Catalyst is now managing billions of dollars worth in ADA that is ready to distribute to the eligible proposals via the on-chain voting mechanism. This ADA Treasury governed by the community plays an important role in developing the Cardano ecosystem.

$HOSKY tokens were attracting lots of attention from the community

  • Ardana x Near Protocol to build a cross-chain bridge.
  • SundaeSwap Testnet.
  • Ada Handle Mainnet.
  • ERC20 Converter Testnet.
  • Plutus Application Backend (PAB) mainnet.

December was the most remarkable month of Cardano in 2021 as multiple mainnet and testnet have been released to the community for the first time. SundaeSwap is an AMM DEX that has the most followers. ERC20 Converter is the technology that can title Cardano as “the Ethereum Killer”. Ada Handle mainnet is the revolutionary solution for Cardano addresses.

Cardano in 2022

For Cardano, 2021 is a stepping stone for the Cardano ecosystem in 2022 since this Proof-Of-Stake blockchain platform is in the scaling era named Basho. In this era, Cardano will be upgraded by two technologies (Layer-2 solution Hydra and ERC20 converter).

Scaling Era of Cardano. Source: Cardians_

Therefore, we might see the Cardano ecosystem flourish in 2022 as planned.

  • DeFi Breakout: Like other emerging ecosystems, DeFi often goes first. The Cardano ecosystem has had some testnet releases of DeFi projects and some mainnet of unaudited ones. In 2022, many will expect DeFi mainnet versions polished carefully.
  • RealFi (DeFi will go into the real world) and Africa will be the strategic target of Cardano. Charles Hoskinson and Input-Output Global are targeting this billion population continent to implement decentralized applications on Cardano such as identity, credit score, and stablecoin.
  • NFT/Gaming/Metaverse will go with more use cases since Cardano NFTs are still illiquid. However, the incentives for these niches are quite short, Cardano focuses on ideas that facilitate real-world applications.
  • Hydra + ERC20 Converter mainnet will allow Cardano to be able to scale up as well as attract more liquidity to the network. 


We’re glad to deliver the 2021 report including some 2022 predictions for Cardano and its ecosystem. Hope you get the development overview of Cardano in 2021 and what will come next. Like 2021, 2022 is going to be wild for Cardano as well as the crypto space.

This Year In Review Series includes 2021 reports (include predictions) from other blockchain platforms. You can check out Cardano 2021 Report (in pdf format):


You need toorto comment