Crypto investors have trudged through a bear market for almost all of 2022. The top two digital assets, Bitcoin (BTC 2.35%) and Ethereum (ETH 1.88%), are down 65% and 68% year to date, respectively. While many crypto investors will be happy to put 2022 in the rearview mirror, it wasn't all bad news in 2022.

Let's remember that it was only this past September that Ethereum developers seamlessly pulled off The Merge (Ethereum's transition from proof of work to proof of stake), a feat that many observers compared to changing out an airliner's engine in midflight. Meanwhile, while Bitcoin declined in price, the Bitcoin network itself performed strongly in 2022, with no downtime and no hacks or exploits, while processing billions of dollars worth of transactions on a daily basis. And there's also plenty of reason to believe that 2023 will be better than this past year for crypto investors. Here are three cryptos to accumulate during the bear market heading into the new year. 

A silhouette of a bear over a stock chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Bitcoin 

As mentioned above, the Bitcoin network ran smoothly in 2022, and proved its value as a secure network with zero hacks or breaches. Furthermore, the downfall of other cryptocurrencies like Terra Luna and the implosion of centralized exchanges like FTX highlighted the value of holding a truly decentralized, trustless asset like Bitcoin. 

And there is reason to be excited about 2023. While some Bitcoin critics posit that it has fallen behind Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies that enable smart contracts, developers are working on Bitcoin's answer to this. If successful, a new protocol, called Taro, will allow Bitcoin users to mint assets like stablecoins and even non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Bitcoin blockchain. This would bring a whole new spate of use cases to Bitcoin and spur further activity on the network. Can you imagine the amount of fanfare the first round of Bitcoin NFTs will generate? 

As the oldest, largest, and most valuable cryptocurrency, featuring a secure and stable network, and with some interesting under-the-radar developments on deck, Bitcoin is a top cryptocurrency to buy during the bear market.  

2. Ethereum 

But Bitcoin isn't the only blockchain getting ready for more upgrades. While Ethereum's Merge upgrade is in the rearview mirror, Ethereum developers are working on the next round of improvements, dubbed Shanghai, and it could be coming as soon as March 2023. Although The Merge transformed Ethereum into a proof-of-stake asset, allowing users to earn rewards for staking their Ether to validate transactions and secure the Ethereum network, Shanghai will allow these holders to unstake this staked Ethereum and withdraw staking rewards, which will offer Ethereum users more flexibility. After that, the next upgrade, Ethereum Improvement Protocol 4844 (EIP-4844), is expected to happen this summer, and it will pave the way for sharding, which should greatly increase Ethereum's capacity by enabling users to "roll up" large batches of transactions into "shards," which will increase the throughput of the Ethereum network and reduce so-called gas, or user, fees.  

Ethereum is the largest blockchain for smart contracts, and it underpins the majority of decentralized finance (DeFi). It is also by far the largest ecosystem for NFTs, with at least $31 billion in all-time transaction volume. Ethereum has more than 200 million users worldwide, and the Ethereum network processed its highest-ever number of transactions on Dec. 9, with more than 1.9 million transactions. As the largest proof-of-stake cryptocurrency, with a strong track record of continuous improvement and a roadmap for further upgrades ahead, Ethereum is another top cryptocurrency to add to your portfolio during the crypto winter. 

3.  Tron

Tron (TRX 1.86%) may not enjoy the glamour and glitz of some of its rival cryptocurrencies, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It has held its value more than most of them in 2022. Its 28% decline year to date is actually slightly better than the Nasdaq's performance this year, and much better than the aforementioned declines of Bitcoin and Ethereum, let alone the declines of 90% that other more hyped cryptos such as Avalanche and Solana have endured. With this contrast in performance, it comes as no surprise that Tron has surpassed Avalanche and Solana in terms of market cap this year. 

Furthermore, saying that a lot of people worldwide are using Tron feels like an understatement. Thanks to its fast transaction times and low transaction fees, Tron continues to be a popular choice for sending and receiving payments in stablecoins like Tether and USDC for people all over the world, especially in developing markets. For example, Tron currently has more than 130 million active users and its mainnet has recorded 4.5 billion transactions totaling over $6 trillion in value. In terms of stablecoins, at the time of writing, over just the past 24 hours, more than $11 billion worth of Tether has been moved on the Tron network.

Tron has been around for a long time; it survived the previous crypto winter, and it offers a compelling use case to a large, global base of users, making Tron a top crypto to accumulate during the bear market.

While 2022 wasn't a banner year for cryptocurrency, top cryptos like these three continued to chug along, their developers continued to build on them, and they continued to serve large user bases all over the world for a variety of uses. Next year should see better times for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tron, and their holders.