2021 was a breakthrough year for the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin and Ether reached its all time high, with cryptocurrencies enjoying wider mainstream recognition and interest. 2021 also marked the start of institutional acceptance, with global crypto-themed funds recording net inflows of $9.3 billion.

Aside from just statistics and numbers, 2021 also saw many interesting developments. These include El Salvador officially announcing bitcoin as a legal tender, the NFT craze, meme coins which we are all too familiar with, and of course the most recent buzzword, ‘Metaverse’, which sparked the rise of many GameFi projects.

Regardless of crypto trends or market sentiments that continually rise and fall, Switcheo Labs remains anchored in its core vision of enabling a decentralized world and we are continuously pushing ourselves to make this vision a reality for you.

Looking back on 2021

2021 was a year of transformation and growth for Switcheo Labs. In line with our 2021 roadmap, we sought to achieve greater decentralization by making major changes to the Switcheo triad: Switcheo, Switcheo Exchange and Switcheo TradeHub.

The transition from Switcheo to Switcheo Labs — exchange operators to software development entity — was set in full motion, complete with a refreshed brand identity and new website that more accurately showcases Switcheo Labs’ mission to nurture blockchain ecosystems in the DeFi sphere. Switcheo Exchange was sunset in April, relinquishing any points of centralization as we set our sights on filling more complex, but pressing gaps in the DeFi arena with Demex as a fully decentralized exchange. Finally, the Switcheo TradeHub protocol was relaunched as a new chain, Carbon, to better reflect the protocol’s goal of sitting at the core of the financial ecosystems in the multi-chain world, where it hopes to integrate every chain and token possible.

Undoubtedly, greater blockchain connectivity was and continues to be a key priority for growing the Carbon protocol. In 2021, this was demonstrated by milestone blockchain integrations which also introduced new SWTH token standards, ZRC-2, BEP-20 and ERC-20 SWTH. The ability for SWTH to flow across new networks brings not only potential new token use-cases, but also allows users from external ecosystems to gain much easier access to the Carbon protocol!

In April, Carbon integrated with BSC at the height of its popularity, introducing new cross-chain BSC markets to Demex and a SWTH-BNB pool on flagship DEX, PancakeSwap. The pool put SWTH on the map for greater discoverability amongst the BSC users, amassing a TVL of USD$11M at its peak and sending the SWTH token price to a new ATH!

Beyond Carbon’s native integrations, Switcheo Labs also looked towards bettering existing infrastructures with a desire to grow and nurture the ecosystem as a whole. We dove into deeper strategic collaborations with Zilliqa to launch ZilBridge — the first ETH <> ZIL cross-chain bridge that utilizes Carbon’s cross-chain technology to enable more inclusive and frictionless experience across both networks.

Recognizing the boundless potential and impact that NFTs could have on the industry, we celebrated September with the launch of The Bear Market, Switcheo Labs’ first NFT collection in collaboration with Zilliqa. The collection saw record sales of USD$1M within 24 hours and widespread media coverage including a feature on the Mark Cuban-owned NFT Instagram page! The Bear Market’s tremendous success paved the way for the subsequent launch of ARKY — ZilSwap’s NFT Marketplace aimed at accelerating growth of the Zilliqa NFT ecosystem. Within a month, ARKY onboarded more than 20 collections and facilitated secondary NFT transactions worth over 3.3M ZIL!

The favorable reception from Switcheo Labs’ endeavour into the NFT blue ocean reaffirms our belief to continuously push new boundaries and dive into uncharted DeFi waters — for that’s where the greatest innovations are uncovered.

Looking Ahead to 2022

As mainstream adoption of crypto continues full steam ahead, 2022 will be a year characterized by growth, partnerships and community.

Growing the ecosystem

We kicked off 2022 with a bang with the launch of the new Carbon chain on mainnet together with the highly-anticipated Stargate upgrade, setting off a brand new beginning for the decentralized protocol. With the groundwork laid, breakthrough capabilities and features outlined in the Carbon roadmap can continue to be advanced at a much faster rate. One such update is the upcoming IBC support that will bring Carbon into the interconnected web of the Cosmos ecosystem, and facilitate transfers of Cosmos-based assets and liquidity. Intertwining closely with Cosmos has been in the pipeline from the very beginning with Carbon's early integration with Keplr wallet to enable a seamless transition for Cosmos users to Carbon. You can soon expect to see an ICS-20 SWTH token, with integrations with other IBC chains such as Osmosis, Terra, Secret Network and Cosmos!

There are also more exciting things on the horizon for the SWTH token in 2022! With plans for a bonded SWTH token (bSWTH), users will be provided greater flexibility and liquidity to staked funds without losing exposure to SWTH. Additionally, a collateralized debt position (CDP) mechanism is also in the works, to drive the demand for SWTH whilst simultaneously providing liquidity. SWTH holders can choose to lock their tokens in a CDP and mint USD, and deposit the minted USD into liquidity pools to earn rewards. Further details will be shared in due time so stay tuned!

Demex will soon see an explosion of new derivatives markets starting with futures, perpetuals and options, setting Demex up to be the most powerful DEX in the market. The markets supported will be interesting given Carbon’s existing integrations with L1s Ethereum, BSC, Zilliqa, Neo and upcoming connection to Cosmos via IBC support. Given the success of Demex’s inaugural trading competition which saw average trading volumes surpass USD$200K, we will look to hold more regular and exciting competitions that will showcase the prowess of Demex to the world.

Developing Partnerships

We believe progress happens when we come together and we will be looking towards strategic and purposeful partnerships in 2022. Aside from just bridging to new chains, bridging the gap between communities and fostering collaboration is vital too. With different counterparts bringing different strengths to the table, we believe we can create powerful and complementary synergies that can take us further our pursuit of true decentralization.

Fostering a Community

2021 was packed chock-full and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our community, driven by a shared passion for a decentralized future. Communities form the backbone of any decentralized entity and at Switcheo Labs, forging greater communal ties is something we continuously strive at.

We were heartened to see the community rallying together to drive growth of the protocol by engaging in robust discussions on governance proposals, establishing ties & relationships with other communities, and even initiating community-led giveaways and campaigns through a community managed Twitter account @SwitcheoSquad especially in the lead up to Carbon’s mainnet launch. The ripple effects of such community-driven efforts continue to create huge waves that propel Switcheo Labs and Carbon forward.

Additionally, we also held our first fireside chat with Carbon’s validators and an AMA with our market-makers, System 9, in 2021 where great conversations were shared. The hallmark of a truly decentralized protocol lies in being governed by the community, and we are glad to see this taking root.

In 2022 we hope to multiply this positivity by continuing to foster ideas, collaborate and grow together as one to further the vision Switcheo started out with in 2018. There will be more awesome content through the Switcheo Research team, regular AMA sessions and exciting competitions and promotions coming your way!

Onwards to 2022

We end the year with gratitude for all the support you have given us, and enter 2022 recharged, firing up with passion to bring you greater improvements and better innovations in the DeFi space.