Last week's debut of ApeCoin (APE 0.17%) got the crypto market fired up. The token, which was launched in a loose partnership with NFT hotbed Bored Ape Yacht Club, has been on the move since being airdropped to owners of the 10,000 Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFTs, and began trading on most of the leading exchanges.
With a market cap of $3.8 billion as of Thursday morning, ApeCoin is already one of the more valuable digital currencies. Is it just the latest meme coin or will its bold ambitions catapult it even higher? The future of ApeCoin may be bright, but it seems as if Ethereum (ETH 2.46%), Decentraland (MANA 1.94%), and Terra (LUNC 11.80%) are already mastering areas where ApeCoin wants to be in a couple of years.
Ethereum pioneered the smart contracts that are among the tools that make blockchains so promising, and it's a good place to start. The initial 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs were offered as unique digital collectibles on the Ethereum blockchain, and they were priced in Ethereum.
Ethereum is the world's second-most-valuable cryptocurrency by market cap, and while there is no shortage of options that improve on the original in terms of scalability, speed, and cost, it is still a potent foundation upon which to build decentralized applications. Ethereum is in the process of upgrading its platform in a way that will help alleviate many of its shortcomings, and it's not going to lose its relevance anytime soon.
One of the first projects tied to ApeCoin is a new metaverse game called Otherside, which uses NFTs from various popular collections as avatars. The big takeaway here is that ApeCoin should be the currency of choice to purchase in-game goodies. The good news for crypto investors is that there are already some thriving crypto-powered virtual communities, and a leader among them is Decentraland.
In Decentraland, users can explore the expanding digital universe for free, but if you want to make the most of the experience, you can use MANA tokens to buy and sell land, assets, and other digital enhancements. As the realm's native currency, MANA benefits directly from the growth of the Decentraland community, which recently topped 300,000 monthly active users.
ApeCoin's Otherside may prove to be even bigger than Decentraland. The hype is already building for it, and this was just with the initial trailer for Otherside debuting this past weekend. However, Decentraland is firmly established as a buzzing community where folks are gathering and dreaming up new ways to monetize and expand the experience.
Ethereum is the top asset used in decentralized finance (DeFi) apps, with more than $123 billion at work across 577 different protocols. Terra is the distant silver medalist, with nearly $27 billion in total value locked (TVL) in DeFi applications. As the native token of a popular stablecoin project, Terra's success -- and its supply -- is dictated by the success of the project.
ApeCoin is hot right now, but Terra has also been experiencing strong momentum recently. It has soared by 63% in value over the past month, the biggest gain among the 25 most-valuable cryptocurrencies. More than half of its TVL comes from Anchor, a high-yielding savings and lending protocol it introduced. It's unclear as yet whether Terra would be able to flesh out other use cases if Anchor proves to be unsustainable, but it's clearly a rising star in crypto right now.