the last year’s crypto market can be summed up in three words: to the moon.
Bitcoin and Ethereum, which entered the bull run of the year after big gains in 2020, both hit new all-time highs. The industry’s market capitalization fell from less than $ 800 billion in January to $ 2.2 trillion in December, according to data from Coinmarketcap.
Most of the major digital assets recorded triple-digit percentages of return – easily surpassing bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency, which was up 66% year-to-date on December 31.
But it was a multitude of tokens that few investors had heard of before 2021 that dominated the ranking for the year.
Here’s a recap of the top 10 performers among digital assets with a market cap (year-end) of at least $ 5 billion, based on data from crypto-analysis firm Messari.
- # 1 The sandbox, $ SAND + 16.265%
- # 2 Axie Infinity, $ AXS + 16.160%
- # 7 Decentraland, $ MANA + 3.943%
The Metaverse has emerged as the hottest segment of the cryptocurrency market, supported by the rebranding of Facebook as Meta. Although the segment has sold from all-time highs, tokens related to the metaverse and games took the top two spots in this year’s Top 10.
Project Metaverse The Sandbox narrowly edged out gaming giant to make money Infinite Axis for the best location this year after its SAND token registered a spectacular increase of 162 times. Investors are betting on a vision where people will increasingly spend their free time in virtual worlds – although it is still too early to say what virtual world that might be.
Metaverse competitor Decentraland was this year’s seventh performer, after his OR token has climbed almost 40 times. The entry of institutional players has largely contributed to the gains of SAND and MANA. In the last quarter, retail giants such as Adidas and Under Armor announced partnerships with The Sandbox and Decentraland, respectively.
Sky Mavis’ crypto adventure game Axie Infinity rounds out the Metaverse winners. the AXS token was the second-biggest winner of 2021, with an increase of 16.160%. (That’s 162 times, for those who could get lost in the five-digit percentage.) Axie Infinity has swept countries such as the Philippines and Venezuela as the coronavirus pandemic has left many citizens unemployed – and play axie to earn income. Axie’s growth has fostered the emergence of more Play to win crypto projects. Some industry experts claim that these crypto-based games could accelerate the adoption of crypto for the masses.
- # 3 Polygon, $ MATIC + 14.496%
- # 4 Earth, $ LUNA + 13.808%
- # 5 Ghost, $ FTM + 13.007%
- # 6 Solana, $ SOL + 9.374%
- # 9 Avalanche, $ AVAX + 2.787%
Congestion on the largest smart contract-enabled blockchain sent users on the hunt for more scalable blockchains, spurring the growth of alternative Layer 1 and scaling solutions. The year brought astronomical gains to Solana, Polygon, Terra, Fantom and Avalanche, who took half of the places in the top 10.
These emerging blockchains are commonly referred to as “Ethereum killers” because they represent competition for the market leader.
Polygon, a side chain of Ethereum, took third place, with gains of around 14,500%. The Polygon ecosystem has had an exceptional year betting on several Ethereum scale-up projects and its DeFi, NFT and dApp users have taken over.
Terra’s LUNA token has also reached new heights, with Layer 1 blockchain overtaking Binance Smart Chain to become the second largest DeFi ecosystem. LUNA’s price increased nearly 140 times, driven by demand for the project’s TerraUSD stablecoin, which reached an all-time high market cap of $ 10 billion this week.
Fantom, Solana and Avalanche – other layer one blockchains – also cracked the top 10. The race for a more scalable alternative to Ethereum has been sent. Fantom’s FTM Token up 13,808%, SOL up 9,374% and AVAX up 2,787%.
That’s not to say Ethereum hasn’t also had a good year. Its native cryptocurrency, the ether (ETH) earned a respectable 418% – six times the yield of bitcoin.
- # 8 Dogecoin, $ DOGE + 2.943%
- # 10 Shiba Inu, $ SHIB + 1.608%
While the rest of the crypto community fought against zk-rollups or Punks vs. monkeys, others pondered more serious questions: What cute dog coin will pump next?
Retail speculation has flooded the traditional stock and crypto markets this year, spurring a whole new category of ‘memecoins’, including top performing dogecoins and the DOGE-derived Shiba Inu (SHIB).
Dogecoin’s boom began in the first half of the year, reaching an all-time high of $ 0.74 (with a lot of help from the self-proclaimed Twitter account Doge Father, Elon Musk). Since the start of the year, the token is still up nearly 3,000%.
As DOGE madness waned through the second half of the year, the SHIB token of the spinoff project Shiba Inu took over. projector, gaining 1,608% and taking last place in this year’s top 10. The success of DOGE and SHIB launched several other tokens focused on the Japanese dog breed, including $ FLOKI, $ ELON, $ HOGE, and $ DOGGY.