Which Cryptocurrency Hogged The Limelight In 2021?

2021 has been both euphoric and turbulent for cryptocurrencies. Fear of regulatory crackdown, environmental impacts, ETF frenzy, positioning as a likely inflation-hedge, withdrawal of pandemic-era monetary stimulus, progression to interest rate tightening, leveraged trading, institutional investment interest, acceptance in financial mainstream for payments, legal tender status are some of the key contributors to the whipsawing prices of cryptocurrencies during the course of the year 2021.

Aggregate crypto market capitalization increased by 212 percent to $2.42 trillion from the level of $776.02 billion at the end of 2020.

An analysis of the year-to-date returns on the top-ranking crypto currencies reveals the extent of frenzy or market brunt the cryptocurrencies have been exposed to during the past year. The following is a contrast of the price gains in the top-15 cryptocurrencies (excluding stablecoins) and the market capitalization growth of the top-5 stablecoins.

Meme-token Shiba Inu (SHIB) is the best price-performer in 2021 with returns of 389600 percent. The dog-themed token that debuted on Jan 30, 2021 now commands a market capitalization of $20.4 billion and the 13th position among all cryptocurrencies according to market capitalization.

14th ranked Polygon (MATIC) that surged 15385 percent, 9th ranked Terra (LUNA) that rallied 13816 percent, and 5th ranked Solana (SOL) that added 12842 percent are next in line.

12th ranked Dogecoin (DOGE) gained close to 3900 percent and 11th ranked Avalanche (AVAX) moved up around 3500 percent since 31, December, 2020.

3rd ranked Binance Coin (BNB) advanced around 1400 percent since the end of 2020.
Crypto.com coin (CRO) surged 966 percent over the course of 2021 whereas Cardano’s (ADA) uptick was more modest at 730 percent.

Top alternate-coin Ethereum (ETH) rallied a tad less than 450 percent. XRP (XRP) moved up 320 percent.

Uniswap (UNI) gained 269 percent, closely followed by Polkadot (DOT) that strengthened 233 percent.

Bitcoin (BTC) as well as Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) rallied around 75 percent to $50k levels from $29k levels at previous year-end.

TerraUSD (UST), the fourth among all stablecoins recorded an increase in market capitalization of 5456 percent, to $10 billion, from $0.18 billion, a year ago. UST topped the gainers charts.

Third-ranked stablecoin Binance USD (BUSD) followed with a market cap growth of 1385 percent. BUSD has a market cap of $14.61 billion now whereas it was less than a billion dollars, a year ago.

USD Coin’s (USDC) 980 percent growth saw its market cap surge from $3.9 billion to $42.11 billion in a span of less than a year.

DAI, a stablecoin soft-pegged to the U.S. dollar and collateralized by a mix of other cryptocurrencies that are deposited into smart-contract vaults every time new DAI is minted, has a market cap of $9.4 billion now. The same has grown 680 percent from the level of $1.2 billion at the end of 2020.

Market leader Tether (USDT) recorded 272 percent growth in market cap during 2021. The market cap has grown to $77.99 billion from the year-end level of $20.94 billion.

At the fag end of 2021, on Tuesday, December 28, cryptos have fallen again overnight amidst news of Russia planning to introduce restrictions related to cryptocurrency transactions. Crypto market capitalization has fallen by around 3 percent overnight. Share of market capitalization of stablecoins has increased to 6.98 percent from 6.76 percent a day ago, in tandem with the fall in prices.

Bitcoin and Ethereum have also fallen more than 3 percent overnight. Bitcoin is trading at $49,182.65, whereas Ethereum is trading at $3,919.12.

The huge price momentum witnessed in 2021 as well as the accompanying wild volatility have made cryptocurrencies the cynosure of many traders and investors. Bet it a die-hard crypto maximalist or a neutral crypto watcher or a staunch crypto critic, all would have noted 2021 for its impact on investor profile, as well as investor morale.

Cryptocurrencies are now far more popular among the masses and far more accepted in the financial mainstream than it was a year ago.

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