2021 was an unsteady year, especially for cryptocurrencies and investors. With the covid-19 pandemic gripping the globe, the market saw some major fluctuations and went through multiple ups and downs throughout the year. Here are some of the cryptocurrencies that performed well, despite the global chaos. This might help you make investment decisions if you are looking to delve into the world of cryptocurrency.
1. Bitcoin (BTC)
Market cap: Cryptocurrencies Over $882 billion
The original cryptocurrency, BTC, was founded in 2009. It runs on a blockchain, or a ledger logging transactions distributed across a network of thousands of computers. Any additions to the distributed ledgers must be verified by solving a cryptographic puzzle, a process called proof of work, which keeps Bitcoin secure and safe from fraudsters. With skyrocketing prices, BTC has become a household name and is the most popular cryptocurrency. Starting 2021 at a value of $34,622, BTC is now valued at approx. $46,000. In Indian terms, the price of 1 BTC to INR is approx. Rs. 31,62,339.21
2. Ethereum (ETH)
Market cap: Over $447 billion
Ethereum is a cryptocurrency as well as a blockchain platform. It is a preference of program developers because of its potential applications, like smart contracts that automatically execute when conditions are met and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Ethereum has experienced tremendous growth, more so than any other crypto in 2021. From Jan ‘21 to January ‘22, its price went from about $1,385 to over $3,700 making it one of the best performing cryptos.
3. Binance Coin (BNB)
Market cap: Over $86 billion
Binance is the largest crypto exchange in the world, which has its own cryptocurrency, the Binance Coin which is used to trade and pay fees on Binance. Since its launch in 2017, Binance Coin has expanded past merely facilitating trades on Binance’s exchange platform. It can also be traded or exchanged for other forms of cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum or Bitcoin. Its price in 2021 was just $44; by Jan 2022, it has risen to around $520 showing massive gains.
4. Tether (USDT)
Market cap: Over $78 billion
The difference between Tether and other cryptos is that Tether is a stable coin. It means that it’s backed by fiat currencies like U.S. dollars and Euros and hypothetically keeps a value equal to one of those denominations. In theory, Tether’s value is supposed to be more consistent than other cryptocurrencies, making it more favorable than other currencies.
5. Solana (SOL)
Market cap: Over $52 billion
Solana was developed to help power decentralized finance (DeFi) uses decentralized apps (DApps) and smart contracts. It runs on a unique hybrid proof-of-stake and proof-of-history mechanism which helps it process transactions quickly and securely. SOL, Solana’s native token, powers the platform.
When it launched in 2020, SOL’s price was around $0.77. By Jan. 2022, its price was around $171, gaining a whopping 22,000%.
6. XRP (XRP)
Market cap: Over $39 billion
XRP was created by some of the same founders as Ripple, a digital technology and payment processing company. XRP can be used on the same network to facilitate exchanges of different currency types, including fiat currencies and other major cryptocurrencies. At the beginning of 2017, the price of XRP was $0.006. As of Jan. 3, 2022, its price reached $0.83, a difference which is even more prominent while conversions, such as converting XRP to INR.
7. Terra (LUNA)
Market cap: Over $33 billion
Terra is a blockchain payment platform for stablecoins that relies on keeping a balance between two types of cryptocurrencies. Terra-backed stablecoins, such as TerraUSD, are tied to the value of physical currencies. Their counterweight, Luna, powers the Terra platform and is used to mint more Terra stablecoins. Terra stablecoins and Luna work according to supply and demand, meaning when a stablecoin’s price rises above its tied currency’s value, users are incentivized to burn their Luna to create more of that Terra stablecoin. Likewise, when its value falls compared to its base currency, this encourages users to burn their Terra stablecoins to mint more Luna. As adoption of the Terra platforms grows, so too does the value of Luna. From Jan. 2021, when its price was $0.64, Luna has risen over 14,300% to $92.64 a year later.
8. Polkadot (DOT)
- Market cap: Over $29 billion
Polkadot (and its namesake crypto) aims to integrate the blockchains used by the various different cryptocurrencies by creating a cryptocurrency network that connects all these blockchains so they can work together. This integration aims at changing how cryptocurrencies are managed and has spurred impressive growth since Polkadot’s launch in 2020, its price grew about 925%, from last year $2.93 to its current market value of $30.04.
Despite the volatility of the crypto market and ignoring fluke crashes due to uncontrollable circumstances, 2021 was a good year for cryptocurrencies.