Last year (2021) was a very interesting year for investing overall and it appears that some of the trends from 2021 may continue into this year (2022).
Last year saw some big changes in investment, new trends have appeared, stocks have seen extreme growth (in some cases extreme volatility) and cryptocurrency is on its way to becoming mainstream. Yet despite all this, 2021 has ended with many stocks trading at much lower prices than previously seen.
Here is an overview of some of the most important changes in 2021.
One of the biggest new trends in 2021 was the uprising of ‘meme stocks’, which saw stocks such as a GameStop and AMC surge. The rise of ‘meme stocks’ began on Reddit, which appears to be heading for an IPO. The subreddit called ‘WallStreetBets’ kicked ‘meme stocks’ off and the trend is looking like it may continue into 2022.
GameStop was hovering around $16 to $20 in its stock price at the end of December and early January in 2021. Not long after the stock surged to a crazy high of $483, it then dropped to around $193 before once again surging to $325. Since then throughout the year the stock has seen lots of volatility, but since the start of 2021, the stock gained around 874%.
AMC saw a similar trend to GameStop. The stock was hovering around $2 in January 2021 and by June the stock saw a huge surge, the stock hit a high of $72.62 before dropping over time to its current price of around $24.45. Despite this, AMC is still up around 757% over since the start of 2021.
Microsoft caught up with Apple for the position of the worlds most valuable company, at one point Microsoft did overtake Apple, but for now, it seems to be back and forth between Apple and Microsoft.
Also, 2021 saw a major rise in the popularity of cryptocurrencies. What was once a very niche area of finance and considered a joke by some, now appears to be heading towards becoming something very serious. Even some countries such as El Salvador have made Bitcoin legal tender and it appears more countries may do the same in the future.
Bitcoin is still the biggest and most known cryptocurrency. It started in 2021 at around $29,400 and as of the 17th of December is valued at around $47,069.10, which means Bitcoin gained around 106% in 2021. Even more impressively, over the past 5 years, Bitcoin has gained around 5,179%, climbing all the way from $891 in 2017.
Ethereum is the second biggest cryptocurrency and some predict that it will eventually take the top spot from Bitcoin. It started in 2021 at around $1,000 and ended at around $3,834 (as of the 17th of December), which is around a 493% increase over 2021. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum has also seen huge gains over the past 5 years, ETH has gained around 2,715% over the past 5 years and it was valued at around $136 in 2019.
Dogecoin was likely one of the most talked-about cryptocurrencies in 2021. The crypto was originally created as a joke in 2013. In 2018 the coin cost $0.017 and as of the 17th of December 2021, it is worth $0.17. Dogecoin has gotten lots of attention recently, including from Elon Musk who claimed Dogecoin is better than Bitcoin for transactions.
To see more about what has happened throughout 2021, you can read our weekly market roundups.
Here are a few investments that we think are great to watch out for in 2022. We have a mix of stocks and cryptocurrencies.
This company has been mentioned many times in our weekly and monthly top stocks to watch articles over 2021 and for good reason. Cloudflare stock has ended 2021 trading at a much lower price than its all-time high and it could be quite an attractive price to buy in at.
Cloudflare is becoming more and more important as an online service – many of the world’s websites use Cloudflare services and the company is expanding into even more services. They have announced they will launch an alternative service to S3 from AWS and to many customers, it could be a much more attractive offering than what competitors offer.
Overall, Cloudflare has a very bright future, it is already an established and important service provider to many and it seems likely the company will only grow further in the future, thanks to its already solid offering and commitment to launching new services.
Recently in our weekly and monthly top stocks to watch articles Amazon has also been mentioned a few times. They have also been in the news for announcing the plan to stop accepting UK issued Visa Credit cards. At the end of October 2021, Amazon reported its Q3 earnings report, which generally missed out on expectations. However, with the bad news aside from the earnings report, Amazon is still a hugely powerful and important company. Not only is the customer-facing Amazon retail site incredibility popular around the world but the company also has Amazon Web Services (AWS) which runs many online services around the world.
Despite Amazon stock price currently at a lower point and the stock not having amazing growth in 2021, things could start to change soon as there is no doubt that Amazon knows it needs to continue improving the company to stay ahead.
The much-loved company behind the hugely popular iPhone is currently experiencing great growth and occasional all-time highs with its stock price, which generally isn’t what is happening in most other stocks.
Every quarter Apple is consistently improving its results and more times than not the company hits new records in them, although the previous quarter did miss some expectations. The company has been attempting to diversify its revenue streams away from being too reliant on the iPhone and to some degree, it has been successful – services have now become an important area for the company to focus on. Apple has had iCloud for quite some time, but now it also has Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+ and of course Apple One which allows customers to bundle the offerings together and pay at a discount.
Not only is Apple focusing on services, but it has also been rumoured for quite some time that the company is working on its next big product launch, which could be what many have called ‘Apple Glasses’ focusing on Augmented Reality. This wouldn’t be the first wearable launch from Apple though, the Apple Watch launched years ago has been a huge success. Alongside this, an ‘Apple Car’ has also been rumoured, but at this stage, this seems much further off (if it even happens at all).
Another important company in the world is Mastercard, along with Visa many credit or debit cards in the world are issued by Mastercard. Recently, at least in the UK, Mastercard has been gaining traction over its rival Visa. Many banks including recently NatWest, are switching from Visa to Mastercard and also the recent ban by Amazon on Visa Credit cards can be seen as good news for Mastercard.
Not only is Mastercard a very prominent company in the current payment infrastructure, but the company is also pushing into cryptocurrencies. Mastercard is not the only company to do this, its rival Visa is also interested in crypto and so is PayPal. Crypto has gained much attention over 2021 and it’s certainly fair to say it is on its way to becoming more mainstream. Mastercard appears to recognise this and the company could be in a good position to deal with crypto in some way in the future. Overall Mastercard has much potential, it is already a very well established company, but with further innovations, the company will likely continue taking market share from its rivals.
Currently solidly in second place (by market cap) behind Bitcoin, Ethereum is one of the most known cryptocurrencies and many consider it to have the most potential. While Bitcoin is still on top and may stay there for quite some time, there are many predictions that Ethereum will eventually take the top spot and overtake Bitcoin as the most valuable cryptocurrency.
Ethereum serves a generally different purpose to Bitcoin and it has much more potential. One of the biggest trends from Ethereum in 2021 was the uprising of NFT’s and they don’t seem to be going anywhere.
There is much potential for Ethereum, it has an active development and is already widely adopted. While there are many different cryptocurrencies, such as the meme-inspired Dogecoin, Ethereum is quite a serious offering and serves a solid purpose.
This coin could be seen as quite similar to Ethereum, with one key difference many will notice: lower fees. In the world of cryptocurrency, there certainly is space for more than one coin serving a similar purpose and this is the case for Solana existing alongside Ethereum.
Currently, Solana is in the top 5 by market cap, after its value has increased significantly over 2021. However, it is unlikely it will overtake Ethereum, in fact, it may never do so, but Solana is certainly gaining traction. Like Ethereum, NFT’s are also gaining popularity on Solana, but not only are NFT’s in common with Ethereum, Stablecoins are too. For quite a while Stablecoins such as USDC were generally used on Ethereum, but USDC is now also available on Solana and the biggest advantage is by default the fees as much lower.
There are many different cryptocurrencies, many of which are very good and will have a bright future, however just as many if not more are not great. Along with Ethereum and Solana, we also would say ‘Cardano’ and ‘Luna (Terra)’ are both worth watching closely as they both have huge potential.