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Crypto bear hug: evaluating the performance of blue-chip and meme tokens

Moneycontrol logo Moneycontrol 15-08-2022 Murtuza Merchant
Crypto bear hug: evaluating the performance of blue-chip and meme tokens © Moneycontrol Crypto bear hug: evaluating the performance of blue-chip and meme tokens

The cryptocurrency market has evolved exponentially since Bitcoin first came into existence in 2009, with traders and investors having access to over 20,000 unique tokens to choose from.

Compared to increased interest in blue-chip tokens today, meme coins sparked huge interest among investors in 2021 and continue to be of interest even now, despite their high volatility.

However, having reached a peak combined market capitalisation of over $3 trillion in November 2021, crypto markets have been in a prolonged bear phase ever since.

Comprising BTC, Ethereum (ETH), altcoins, stablecoins, and meme coins, investors would find it interesting to note how these segments of the crypto space have behaved relative to the broader market.

Let us focus on how the top blue-chip cryptocurrencies have performed compared to the largest meme coins during this extended crypto winter.

Bitcoin and Ethereum

The top two spots of the cryptocurrency market have always been reserved for BTC and ETH, together contributing nearly 60 percent of the total market cap of the entire listed cryptocurrency space.

In fact, they have displayed similar performance as well, with BTC and ETH having dropped by 65 percent and 63 percent, respectively, from their all-time highs (ATH).

However, long-term investors would still be sitting on a healthy profit considering that both cryptocurrencies continue to trade well above their pre-COVID levels.

This particular statistic has been repeated during every past bear cycle, with both BTC and ETH eventually moving towards a new ATH.

Tether, USD Coin and Binance Coin

The other three spots in the list of top five cryptocurrencies have some surprising winners. While both Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) are stablecoins pegged to the US Dollar (USD), Binance (BNB) is a cryptocurrency that is native to the Binance chain.

The fact that the third and fourth spots are held by stablecoins is reflective of the meteoric rise in the adoption of stablecoins by the crypto community.

Compared to BTC and ETH, stablecoins are known for price stability, and their value rises in line with the USD.

In fact, as the USD continues to appreciate against a basket of fiat currencies, both USDT and USDC have gained in value accordingly.

Both these stablecoins have seen their market caps rise even when BTC, ETH, and other altcoins fell precipitously from their November 2021 peaks.

BNB, on the other hand, has seen a sharp correction in its price, although faring better than BTC and ETH.

The BNB token is currently trading about 52 percent lower than its ATH of $686 that it reached on May 10, 2021.

The token commands a market cap exceeding $50 billion at current prices. It indicates the increasing number of transactions and developments taking place in the Binance ecosystem.

In fact, the BNB token is an integral part of many of Binance’s blockchain-based projects, such as the Binance Chain, Binance Smart Chain, Binance Academy, and Trust Wallet.

Parent company Binance is the biggest cryptocurrency exchange globally based on daily trading volume and is determined to bring new-age finance to the world.

The curious world of meme coins

Defined as cryptocurrencies that take inspiration from memes, meme coins really burst onto the scene in 2021.

The most popular meme coin with the largest market cap in this class of cryptocurrencies is Dogecoin (DOGE).

Inspired by an image of a Shiba Inu dog that was a viral meme on the internet, DOGE enjoys the backing of a huge community of investors and celebrity influencers, including the likes of Elon Musk, who is often considered the ‘DOGEfather.’

Reaching an ATH of $0.73 on May 7, 2021, DOGE has seen its prices erode by more than 90 percent ever since.

Regardless, the meme coin is extremely popular in the crypto community, especially amongst Gen Z investors.

Shiba Inu (SHIB) is the next largest meme coin with a $6.8 billion market cap, compared to DOGE’s $9.5 billion.

Similar to DOGE, the SHIB token has fallen by around 85 percent from its ATH of $0.000086 that it reached on October 27, 2021. Along with DOGE, it has destroyed billions of dollars in investor wealth.

The next three spots in the top meme coins list consist of Dogelon Mars (ELON), Baby DogeCoin (BabyDoge), and Samoyedcoin (SAMO), all of which have considerably lesser market caps than either DOGE or SHIB.

However, these tokens have seen their prices fall by as much as 99 percent for ELON, 92 percent for SAMO, and 82 percent for BabyDoge, respectively.

Needless to say, the entire class of meme coins has fared far worse than other altcoins and offers a far riskier proposition for crypto investors.

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