These 15 Top Cryptos Gained 5,000% or More in 2021
Did you buy any of these coins at the start of the year?
- Fifteen of the top 300 cryptocurrencies by market cap have increased by over 5,000% this year.
- Metaverse, gaming, smart contract, and DeFi tokens are among the top gainers.
Cryptocurrency has made huge strides in 2021, with increased adoption and more interest in crypto investing. The market may have fallen in recent weeks, but there's still a lot more money in crypto than there was a year ago. The total market cap was around $770 billion at the start of the year and it's now sitting at $2.1 trillion.
Some coins have posted extraordinary gains. We used CoinMarketCap data to identify the cryptos in the top 300 coins by market cap that have increased over 5,000% since Jan. 1, 2021.
1. Gala (GALA) -- up over 40,000%
Gala is a community-based blockchain gaming platform that features play-to-earn games. Only one of the eight games listed on its site are available at the moment, but the idea is that the GALA token will work across all the games on the platform.
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2. CEEK VR (CEEK) -- up over 25,000%
CEEK is a virtual reality platform that features live performances and NFTs from world class artists like Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, U2, Sting, Ziggy Marley, and more. It says it is the future of music streaming and offers creators new ways to monetize their work.
3. AnySwap (ANY) -- up over 16,500%
The issue of interoperability -- swapping assets from one chain to another -- is a challenge in the cryptocurrency world. AnySwap's decentralized cross-chain swap protocol aims to solve this as it lets users swap tokens that aren't on the same network.
4. XYO (XYO) -- up almost 16,000%
XYO is all about something called geospatial data. Essentially, the XYO network will collect location-specific information that it can then monetize in various different ways. Users can earn crypto rewards by activating geomining on their cellphones.
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5. Axie Infinity (AXS) -- up over 15,000%
Axie Infinity pioneered play-to-earn gaming, as users flocked to the game that enabled them to exchange rewards earned in the game for real cash. Players can breed, battle, and complete quests with cute Axie NFTs.
6. The Sandbox (SAND) -- up over 12,500%
SAND is the currency in Sandbox's virtual world. Metaverse tokens have seen huge price increases in recent months, in part driven by Facebook's Meta rebrand. ARK Invest's Cathie Wood recently said she believes the metaverse will be a multi-trillion dollar industry, and many investors are keen to get in on the ground floor.
7. Polygon (MATIC) -- up almost 11,500%
Polygon is an Ethereum (ETH) layer 2 solutions aggregator. Ethereum was the first cryptocurrency to introduce smart contracts, and as a result many applications are built on its network. Unfortunately, this has led to high transaction costs and network congestion. Layer 2 solutions sit on top of the existing blockchain and improve performance.
8. Terra (LUNA) -- up over 11,000%
Terra is a decentralized finance system that's underpinned by stablecoins pegged to various currencies. Its native token, LUNA, backs the stablecoins and keeps prices steady through preset algorithms.
9. Solana (SOL) -- up over 9,000%
Solana is another of 2021's stand out cryptocurrencies. It leapt into the top 10 cryptos by market cap in August and hasn't fallen out of the list since. It is one of several smart contract cryptocurrencies that people believe might rival Ethereum. Its super fast processing speed and low transaction costs have attracted investors and developers alike.
10. Flux (FLUX) -- up over 7,500%
There's a lot of talk about Web 3.0, the next generation of the internet, but a lot less consensus about what it actually is. One way to understand it is as a decentralized internet -- providing many of the online services we're used to, but with no middleman. Flux is positioning itself as a decentralized alternative to Amazon Web Services, with a suite of easy-to-use blockchain applications and products.
11. Fantom (FTM) -- up over 7,500%
Like Solana, Fantom is another smart-contract crypto that's being talked about as a possible Ethereum killer. In truth, there's unlikely to be one smart contract crypto to rule them all -- the more likely scenario is that four or five programmable cryptocurrencies come out on top.
12. Kadena (KDA) -- up over 7,000%
Another contender in the race for Ethereum alternatives, Kadena promises low cost transactions and the ability to process payments even faster than Solana. It's recently rolled out non-fungible token (NFT) capability.
13. Telcoin (TEL) -- up almost 7,000%
Telcoin aims to make it cheaper and easier to send money internationally using the blockchain. With Telcoin, people can use their mobile phones to send money overseas. Telcoin is competing with existing remittance companies, such as Western Union, and hopes to take a share of what is a $49 million industry.
14. Rari Governance Token (RGT) -- up over 6,500%
Rari Capital is one of many decentralized finance (DeFi) applications that allow people to lend and earn interest on their crypto assets.
15. BakeryToken (BAKE) -- up over 6,000%
We've seen a host of food-related DeFi products such as SushiSwap and PancakeSwap. BAKE is the utility token for BakerySwap, a decentralized exchange (DEX) that runs on the Binance Smart Chain. The big advantage is that users can avoid the high gas fees associated with other DEXs that run on the Ethereum network.
Cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile
These cryptos have produced extraordinary gains this year, but pause before you rush to your favorite crypto exchange to buy any of them. Just because their prices jumped in 2021, it does not mean they will continue to grow in 2022. In fact, because the crypto industry is rife with speculation, we'll often see prices fall or stagnate after a big rise.
All cryptocurrencies are risky, and it isn't clear what will happen next year. It is important to do your own research into any project so you fully understand what it does and what its long term prospects are. Look at how it compares with its competitors and try to understand the specific risks it might face.
We've seen a big drop in cryptocurrency prices in recent weeks. Some analysts believe the market could fall further in 2022, while others think this is the lull before another big surge. These are high-risk investments so it's best not to invest money you need for other financial goals.
Our Research Expert
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
Emma Newbery owns Gala, Ethereum, Polygon, Terra, Solana, and Sandbox.