Unicorns are typically privately held startups worth more than $1 billion. However, traditional finance is increasingly using the term to refer to expensive cryptocurrencies that institutions are just getting started with.
The entry of institutional investors into the cryptocurrency sector in 2021 has been one of the driving forces behind the growth of the entire ecosystem, with multi-billion dollar companies such as Tesla, Square and MicroStrategy converting some of their cash reserves into bitcoin (BTC) and other premium altcoins.
These are the 8 largest publicly traded #bitcoin holdings.
What other #cryptocurrencies could be part of the company’s holdings? $MSTR $TSLA $GLXY $SQ $MARA $HUT $VYGR $RIOT pic.twitter.com/wqRD9qdRmb
– Delta Investment Tracker (@get_delta) March 6, 2021
Decentralized funding (DeFi), non-decentralized tokens (NFT), and oracles are among the hottest growth areas in the crypto-valuta ecosystem, causing many projects to reach unicorn status, while stablecoin-related protocols have also lost value as they help provide a solid foundation for the sector’s growth.
This thread discusses some of the top unicorn crypto-currency projects, as well as an introduction to some of the newcomers to the billion dollar club.
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Irreplaceable tokens have taken the world by storm in recent months, as celebrities, influencers, fast food restaurants and established auction houses have jumped on the bandwagon to participate in the creation, sale and distribution of unique digital assets.
Enjin Coin (ENJ) has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of NMT’s growth, which helped drive ENJ’s share price higher on the 15th. In March, the project hit an all-time high of $3.08, achieving unicorn status with a market capitalization of $2.6 billion.
ENJ/USDT card 4 hours. Source: TradingView
The upcoming launch of JumpNet on the 6th. April will allow the creation and distribution of ERC-1155 tokens in the Enjin ecosystem at no cost, and the community’s enthusiasm for this launch seems to be keeping investors at ENJ.
Other notable additions to the NMT-related Unicorn Club include virtual reality platform Decentraland (MANA), which enables the acquisition of digital land that can be developed and monetized, and Flow (FLOW), a developer-friendly blockchain designed to serve as the foundation for the next generation of games, apps and the digital assets that power them.
Extended DeFi ecosystem
The impact that decentralized finance has had on the cryptocurrency ecosystem is undeniable, as much of the industry’s growth over the past two years can be attributed to DACs like Uniswap and harvesting platforms like Yearn.Finance (YFI).
The high cost of transactions and congestion on the Ethereum network has led to an exodus of users and liquidity to blockchain platforms, and helped push several DeFi protocols built on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) over the $1 billion mark.
PancakeSwap (CAKE) was one of the shining stars of the BSC, rising to a market capitalization of $2.55 billion in February and March.
total value locked on PancakeSwap. Source: Defi Llama.
Data from Defi Llama shows that CAKE is currently the fifth largest DeFi platform by total value committed, with $6.18 billion currently committed to the log.
One of the protocols on Ethereum’s financial chain and network is THORChain (RUNE), whose price has risen 700% since January 1. January brought the project’s total market capitalization to $1.95 billion.
Recent optimism about the project has focused on the April 2 launch of the THORChain multi-channel, which runs from the 13th to the 16th. April is expected.
Bridges between chains and interoperability protocols move to
Platforms that offer lower fees than Ethereum, including Layer 2 solutions and standalone blockchain networks, have received extra attention in the past two months due to record high gas costs.
As a BSC token, Binance Coin (BNB) has seen its price jump enough to enter the top 3 in terms of market capitalization, now hovering around $53.55 billion.
Polygon (MATIC) has also seen strong growth and has become one of the chosen layer 2 protocols for the Ethereum network after it became a polka dot on Ethereum and helped stem the flow of projects and money leaving the network.
With many popular unicorn projects already running on the Polygon protocol, including Aave (AAVE) and SushiSwap (SUSHI), MATIC seems well positioned to gallop on to the top as a rising unicorn star.
Containers and storage platforms getting stronger
Stablecoins and related protocols got a boost in early 2021 when the U.S. Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency gave the green light to national banks to launch independent nodes for distributed ledger networks.
Higher market capitalisation. Source: CoinGecko
After Bitfinex and Tether reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s office, enthusiasm for the stablecoin projects grew even more, with the market cap of the Tether and USDC currencies rising by billions of dollars.
One protocol with a Stblicoin component that has been very successful in building stable assets in hyperinflationary countries like Venezuela is the Reserve Protocol, whose Reserve Rights Symbol (RSR) has increased by more than 400% in 2021.
Another new stablecoin participant is TerraUSD (UST), which had a market capitalization of $182 million on January 1 to $1.66 billion on January 2. April is up 3,000% year-to-date, thanks to its proprietary Terra blockchain protocol (LUNA), which specializes in creating stablecoin prices for global stablecoin payment systems.
The above algorithms are based on real-world use cases and partnerships
Several projects with specific use cases and a head start have joined the unicorn herd, offering unique solutions to problems in the cryptocurrency and traditional sectors.
Theta (THETA) has emerged as a notable player in the 2021 blockchain market, as the streaming video-focused platform has seen the value of its tokens increase by more than 900% since early January, after several high-profile announcements led to record trading volumes for tokens.
Institutional investors @Sierra_Ventures, Heuristic Capital, @TheVRFund and @GFRFund invest more than $100M in corporate venture validator Theta nodehttp://t.co/pfGqxaYnxs
– Theta Network (@Theta_Network) March 23, 2021
Blockchain-based digital advertising and web browsing platform Basic Attention Token (BAT) has managed to reach the unicorn level with its own NFT and DeFi ads. The project revealed plans to launch the DEX aggregator and NFT portfolio in the next browser.
Helium (HNT), a blockchain-based decentralized network for Internet of Things (IoT) devices through a network of nodes (hotspots), also recently joined the unicorn club.
Coverage map of hotspotHelium. Source: Helium
Mining a Helium hotspot provides a cost-effective way for users to participate in mining to maintain network security at a fraction of the cost of mining Bitcoin and Ethereum.
This has helped create a global network of more than 25,000 hotspots and a total HNT market of $1.12 billion.
HNT/USDT card 4 hours. Source: TradingView
As institutional investors slowly gain access to the asset class of cryptocurrencies, the number of unit-level projects will likely continue to grow as traditional funding covers the growth of DeFi and digital assets.
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