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On the Horizon: our top stocking filler ideas for Christmas 2021

It’s coming up to the end of the year, which means it’s time for our latest list of recommended Christmas stocking fillers. The cryptocurrency space saw a number of major developments in 2021, from the institutional adoption of Bitcoin and Ethereum to an explosion of interest in NFTs. DeFi on Ethereum also crossed $100 billion in total value locked, signalling clearer than ever that crypto has crossed the chasm. We’ve also been very busy, developing Monolith and working on our new product, We believe that 2021 in crypto will be remembered as the year the space went mainstream, infiltrating traditional finance and culture at once. This year’s stocking list reflects the industry’s recent acceleration into an unstoppable global movement.

While crypto took giant leaps forward in 2021, regulatory issues continue to be a major concern for the future of the industry. One organisation working to ensure that regulators are educated on the benefits of cryptocurrency technology is the advocacy group Coin Center. The Coin Center team was instrumental in bringing attention to proposed rules that could harm crypto in the US Infrastructure Bill and is working hard to ensure the industry is regulated sensibly. The group has a merchandise store to fund its work; our favourite range features the “Shadowy Super Coder” meme, inspired by a bizarre quote from the fierce crypto-skeptic Senator Elizabeth Warren. Shop the full range to support Coin Center’s work here.

There’s no denying that NFTs erupted in 2021, and the avatar hype of the so-called “NFT summer” was one of the major events of the year in non-fungibles. Avatar NFTs typically feature characters such as Punks, aliens or animals with different traits, and they’re popularly used across the community as social media avatars. One of the most successful avatar NFT projects of the year was Cool Cats, which grew at the grass roots level and has blossomed into a thriving community. Similar to some other NFT projects, Cool Cats has branched out into fashion, strengthening the narrative that NFTs and culture are becoming increasingly intertwined. As major brands also explore NFTs, we expect many projects to become fully fledged brands in 2022. The Cool Cat tee, which features an image of a Cool Cat character, is our favourite item from their current range of merchandise.

We may be biased, but we think joining Monolith is the best way to introduce a friend or family member to the magic of Ethereum. While you can’t order our product on behalf of someone else, you may want to point them in the right direction to start their decentralised life. They just need to download the app, sign up, and complete our KYC process. The card is usually delivered within 5 to 15 days, then they’ll get to enjoy a whole world of possibilities on the blockchain.

Ethereum Name Service lets you own a Web3 domain name. Instead of searching for your hexadecimal Ethereum address commencing “0x”, ENS gives you a way to create an unique .eth URL. Many people purchase ENS domains under their name such as “monolithweb3.eth”, while common words are also very sought after. Earlier this year, Budweiser paid 30 ETH for the domain “beer.eth”. ENS domains can be linked to your Monolith wallet, as well as websites and other blockchain addresses such as Bitcoin. The cost of leasing a domain for one year starts at $5 excluding gas fees, though many people register for multiple years at once to optimise for gas savings. ENS domains take the form of an ERC-721 token and are therefore classified as NFTs. There are currently over 435,000 domains registered, but as Web3 starts to develop, ENS could gain wider use and become integrated with more major websites. The project recently launched a governance token to become more decentralised — ENS tokens were distributed to anyone who had registered a domain name before a snapshot date last month.

While the Monolith wallet gives you a way to spend your crypto assets in the real world, we recommend keeping the majority of your crypto funds in a cold storage wallet. Hardware wallets are considered the most secure way to store crypto assets you won’t touch on a day-to-day basis, and the GridPlus Lattice1 wallet is one of the most technologically advanced options on the market. It includes a secure interface with anti-tamper features and gives you full control over your keys. It also includes a “SafeCard” to encrypt your wallet’s Seed Phrase; you can insert the card into the device to access your funds. If you know anyone that has significant crypto holdings, buying them a hardware wallet like the GridPlus Lattice1 is a great step towards helping them keep their funds safe. For extra security, pair it with a backup tool like Cryptosteel or Cryptotag.

Bankless is one of our favourite crypto education resources. Hosted by Ryan Sean Adams and David Hoffman, Bankless has been described as “the greatest Ethereum podcast” by Vitalik Buterin. It’s known for its engaging conversations with key figures from across the industry. It also has its own DAO and a blog featuring step-by-step guides, think pieces, and more. A subscription gives access to extra content such as tips on airdrops and access to a community of other Ethereum enthusiasts, which is why we think it’s a great investment for anyone who’s keen to go Bankless and learn more about the space.

Nansen is a crypto analytics service providing data and insights on Ethereum and a host of EVM-compatible blockchains. It’s used by some of the most established teams and investors in the space. A subscription gives you a way to “identify opportunities before everyone else.” It includes access to detailed token data, NFT dashboards providing an overview of the market, DeFi trading analytics, behavioral analytics for major investors, alerts and much more. For anyone looking to get ahead of the market and gather alpha on where the space could be moving next, a standard Nansen subscription is a great way to pick up knowledge.

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Monolith is the world’s first DeFi wallet and accompanying Visa debit card made for spending crypto assets anywhere.