Though the crypto market is down this year, some coins and tokens have shown resilience.
The crypto market has been horrendous in 2022, with June 13 standing out as a particularly tough day, with major tokens shedding more than 10%. Bitcoin (BTC) broke below its $20,000 supporthas been horrendous in 2022, with June 13 standing out as a particularly tough day, with major tokens shedding more than 10%. Bitcoin (BTC) broke below its $20,000 support level in June, and by early July had lost more than 55% year to date. Ether (ETH) is down more than 70% in 2022, and many more coins and tokens have fared worse. 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. Despite the dire warnings, the bailout itself shows faith in the industry. If you’re bullish on crypto, here are the 10 best-performing — or least-bad-performing — cryptocurrencies of 2022 so far. 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.
The 10th-best, or 10th-least-worst, performing cryptocurrency on this list is a private, anonymous and decentralized currency. Though many think that Bitcoin is completely private, public addresses and a ledger that’s open to the public mean that’s not strictly true. When XMR coins are exchanged, stealth addresses are created and only used once, which is considered “untraceable,” but also earns it the dubious reputation as the favored currency of ransomware groups and white nationalists. In early June, Monero announced “tail emissions,” which provides a perpetual minimum payment to miners of 0.6 XMR — approximately $72 — for every block they create in the blockchain network. The reward will theoretically never go below this level and aims to ensure a permanent income to miners outside of transaction fees.
YTD Performance: -56.2%
The Zilliqa blockchain was created by an assistant professor and students at the National University of Singapore as an idea for a sharding-focused network that could increase network efficiency and speed. Sharding is when blockchain data is split into smaller portions and stored between multiple computers so that the computational burden is spread out and the network can process more transactions faster. Zilliqa’s native cryptocurrency is ZIL and pays for the transactions on the blockchain. It supports staking, non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, and an abundance of dApps. Zilliqa recently launched a software developer kit that will allow Unity Software Inc. (ticker: U) 3D developers to integrate Zilliqa’s metaverse platform Metapolis with Unity, the Unreal Engine and Nvidia Inc.’s (NVDA) Omniverse.
YTD Performance: -51.1%
Huobi Token (HT)
One type of digital asset that hasn’t suffered as deep a plunge as the rest of the crypto market are tokens that confer discounts on crypto exchange fees. Huobi is an Ethereum-based loyalty token for the Huobi Global crypto exchange that gives discounts and confers voting rights to users of the exchange. The Huobi Eco Chain hosts decentralized finance apps, similar to the Binance Smart Chain, and dedicates 20% of its revenue to buying back HT to burn it and remove it from circulation. However, proceed with caution. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated an investigation into the initial coin offering, or ICO, of Binance’s BNB token, questioning whether it should have been treated like a security. The investigation has a chance to impact several exchanges and bring FTX Token (FTT) and KuCoin (KCS) into the same legal troubles as Ripple (XRP).
YTD Performance: -46.7%
While it may not have a full year-to-date performance on it, being that it was released on March 17, APE has already lost over a third of its value since its debut. ApeCoin is a project inspired by Bored Ape Yacht Club, or BAYC, NFTs, which have plummeted in value and been the target of hackers. ApeCoin is a governance token for membership into the ApeCoin decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. Members of the DAO, of which every Bored Ape holder receives one coin, get access to exclusive games and services and can vote on community proposals. It’s important to note that the maker of BAYC NFTs, Yuga Labs, is separate from ApeCoin DAO. In fact, Yuga and ApeCoin DAO recently butted heads after a difficult rollout of Yuga’s new NFTs for its metaverse, with Yuga pushing for APE to leave the Ethereum blockchain and create its own, while DAO members disagreed and over half the community voted against the proposal. The thinking goes that the DAO’s independence from Yuga puts the coin a little further away from being a security in the SEC’s eyes, but only time will tell as further regulation is likely coming to the cryptocurrency sector.
YTD Performance: -43%
FTX Token (FTT)
FTX is among the largest crypto exchanges and features margin and futures trading along with leveraged and short tokens for TRX, LEO, ETH and BTC, among others. One attractive feature of holding tokens for crypto exchanges like FTX is that the more investors hold and stake, the bigger the discount they get on transaction fees on the exchange. If an exchange has a high 24-hour trading volume, then it’s likely there have been more investors staking FTT to cut down on fees. FTX is backed by founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s quantitative trading firm Alameda Research.
YTD Performance: -41.5%
Tron started out as a way to cut the Big Tech intermediaries out and pay content creators directly for their work. The project then morphed into a decentralized peer-to-peer content-sharing network and then acquired BitTorrent, the largest decentralized peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol in the world. BitTorrent then issued its own token, BTT, on the Tron network. It’s been a wild ride since its founding in 2017, and 2022 has been no different. Tron issued its own stablecoin in 2022 and started seeing a sell-off in mid-June, on the heels of the Luna stablecoin flash crash, but the coin’s DAO spent hundreds of millions from its cash reserves and bought up the coin, taking them off the market and stabilizing the price. On June 25, Tron celebrated passing the 100 million-account milestone and touted itself as the world’s fastest-growing public blockchain with 3.4 billion transactions daily.
YTD Performance: -17.5%
Pax Gold (PAXG)
Pax Gold is probably one of the simplest cryptocurrencies to understand. It’s a gold-backed cryptocurrency based on the price of one ounce of gold, which is currently trading around where it started for the year, at approximately $1,800 per ounce. The physical bullion is held in custody by the Paxos Trust Company, which PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL) partnered with in 2020 to offer crypto services. That’s about as complex as this crypto gets.
YTD Performance: -1.1%
Unus Sed Leo (LEO)
The list has finally crossed over into positive territory, but this one has a stranger history. 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. 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 governance and utility token used to vote on improvements to the Chain protocol. Chain offers “ledger-as-a-service,” building cryptographic ledgers and cloud infrastructure for other organizations to launch and operate a close-ended blockchain network of their own as well as connect to other networks. 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. 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 and climbed above $4 in late April, a gain of more than 2,000%, 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%
10 best-performing cryptocurrencies of 2022:
1. STEPN (GMT): +394%
1. Chain (XCN): +82%
1. Unus Sed Leo (LEO): +57.8%
1. Pax Gold (PAXG): -1.1%
1. Tron (TRX): -17.5%
1. FTX Token (FTT): -41.5%
1. ApeCoin (APE): -43%
1. Huobi Token (HT): -46.7%
1. Zilliqa (ZIL): -51.1%
1. Monero (XMR): -56.2%
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Update 07/01/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.