It’s not news that the cryptocurrency market is having a very tough year, with the market capitalization losing over $2 trillion and ultimately, losing its trillion-dollar status. Bitcoin, which was once a trillion-dollar asset class, ranking among the top 10 asset classes in the world, alongside legacy asset classes like Gold, Apple, Saudi Aramco and Amazon, has lost over 60% of its value Year-to-Date (YtD), now ranking #18, with a market capitalization of $362 billion, a point not seen since November 2020.
June 13 stood out to be a particularly tough day for the market, with major tokens shedding more than 10%. Bitcoin, the market leader, broke below its $20,000 support level, signalling a capitulation that saw a total liquidation of approximately $8 billion in June alone. Ether, the smart contract flagbearer, is down more than 70% in 2022, and many more coins and tokens have fared worse.
As previously mentioned, over $2 trillion in value has been wiped off the books since crypto’s market cap peak of nearly $3 trillion in November 2021. There have been insolvency issues at some crypto exchanges and hedge funds, namely Three Arrows Capital, and FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried warned of more carnage on the horizon shortly after bailing out BlockFi and Voyager Digital with $750 million in credit lines. Even in the DeFi space, we saw Celsius, a crypto lending service company, pause withdrawals as well as swap and transfer products. These issues acted as a catalyst and a big blow to the space which was built on decentralization and on the back of ease of entry and exit.
Though the crypto market is down this year, some coins and tokens have shown resilience. If you’re bullish on crypto, here are the best-performing cryptocurrencies of 2022 so far that have positive YtD performances despite the selloff seen. The list was limited to cryptos with market caps over $300 million and excludes currency-pegged stablecoins. Year-to-date performance was calculated based on market prices at end-of-day June 30.
Unus Sed Leo (LEO)
Much like holding FTT can net investors a discount on their transactions on the FTX exchange, holding LEO will save investors’ money on the Bitfinex exchange. UNUS SED LEO is a utility token that’s used across the iFinex ecosystem. The name is based on a Latin citation from one of Aesop’s fables. The cryptocurrency allows Bitfinex users to save money on trading fees. The extent of the discount depends on how much LEO that the customer has in their account and the savings on offer are spread across three tiers. There are fluctuations depending on whether a trading pair is crypto-to-crypto, or crypto-to stablecoin.
The LEO token has become the talk of the cryptocurrency community, especially since it became the latest entrant into the top 20 cryptocurrencies list, as it currently ranks #15. While the market sold off for the better part of May and also in June, LEO managed to retain its value. This means that while all the coins around it were selling off, LEO coin managed to retain its value, thus automatically rising up the ranks.
The Bitfinex exchange, which is a sister company to the Tether (USDT) stablecoin, has had a turbulent run over the years. It was hacked in 2016 and the tale of the New York Forbes writer and rapper laundering nearly $4 billion in Bitcoin went down in crypto history (also the largest financial seizure ever). In 2019, the government also seized funds from Bitfinex’s payment processor for allegedly “laundering dirty money for Colombian drug cartels using a cryptocurrency exchange.” Bitfinex maintains it was the victim of fraud and created the LEO token as a way of paying back users. The coin is different in that there were only $1 billion worth made and Bitfinex pledged to spend at least 27% of its revenue to buy back the coin from investors and burn them until they are gone. That aspect has maintained its utility as a hedge during the market downturn.
YTD Performance: +57.8%
Chain is a cloud blockchain infrastructure that enables organizations to build better financial services from the ground up. Chain launched Chain Core which is a permission and open-source blockchain and Sequence, its ledger as a service product. Clients can receive discounts and pay for commercial fees with XCN, it governance token, as well as participate in community protocol governance and access to premium features.
Chain Core allows institutions to launch and operate a blockchain network, or connect to a growing list of other networks that are transforming how assets move around the world. The Chain Protocol defines how assets are issued, transferred, and controlled on a blockchain network. It allows a single entity or a group of organizations to operate a network, supports the coexistence of multiple types of assets, and is interoperable with other independent networks. Sequence is Chain’s ledger-as-a-service that enables organizations to securely track and transfer balances in a token format. Using Sequence organizations can securely manage their financial assets in a token format on private ledgers and soon, seamlessly transfer them across public networks.
XCN, as previously mentioned, is the governance and utility token used to vote on improvements to the Chain protocol. Chain has built blockchain networks for Visa, Nasdaq, State Street, Citibank and others and is a way to enable multiple independent networks to interact with each other using a common format. Like many tokens on this list, investors can receive discounts on network fees or access to premium services for holding XCN tokens, previously known as CHN tokens. The token launched in March. In April Chain announced Alameda Research would become its primary market maker, offering more liquidity to the service.
YTD Performance: +82%
The best-performing crypto of 2022 so far is one that has only been around since March, but it has generated quite a buzz. STEPN is a Web3 lifestyle app on the Solana and Binance blockchains where users can purchase NFT sneakers and earn currency by walking, running or jogging. STEPN also pledges to pioneer a “climate-positive Web3 space” and committed to purchasing $100,000 of Carbon Removal Tonnes, equivalent to nearly 70,000 tonnes of carbon, monthly on the blockchain-backed carbon removal marketplace Nori.
STEPN, is a Solana-based game that lets users purchase NFT sneakers to start playing. When users play the game, the app tracks their movement through the GPS on their mobile phones and rewards them with in-app tokens called Green Satoshi Tokens (GSTs). These tokens can later be traded for USD Coin (USDC) or Solana (SOL), allowing users to realize their earnings.
The hype around STEPN is due to its governance token Green Metaverse Token (GMT) going parabolic, appreciating 24,500% since its token sale on Binance on March 9. Venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and other Web3 investors have also invested in STEPN, purchasing $5 million worth of GMT in a seed funding round back in January.
GMT holders will also be able to vote on more of a profit distribution to be directed toward carbon offsets. The gamification of fitness combined with the appeal of the outdoors and the environment have been the right sauce for STEPN, which started at 16 cents on March 9 before settling down into a range between 60 cents and $1. That still makes it a gain of nearly 400% and makes STEPN the best-performing crypto of 2022 so far.
YTD Performance: +394%