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The Top-Performing Big Crypto of 2021 Wasn’t Bitcoin or Ethereum

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The five big cryptocurrencies all had a big year, but the ride was anything but smooth. And the top-performing crypto of the bunch wasn’t a familiar name.

Bitcoin ‘s market capitalization is hovering around $894.7 billion, per CoinMarketCap. It’s the closest thing to a blue chip cryptocurrency, and has surged as high as $68,789.63 in 2021. Though the price of Bitcoin has since plummeted to $46,444.71, that is still good for a year-to-date gain of 60%.

Next up is Ethereum, with a market cap of $443 billion. Even following a recent dip from a high of $4,891.70., it’s up nearly 392% year-to-date. It was trading at $3,628.53 recently.

Binance Coin had a breakout year in 2021. With a market cap of $86.9 billion, it’s risen 1,275% year-to-date to $514. It’s traded as low as $35.17 this year.

Tether is the fourth-largest coin by market cap, but it’s price hasn’t changed much. But that is the point. It’s a stable coin that is pegged to the U.S. dollar. Still, its popularity has surged with its market cap from about $21 billion at the start of the year to $78.4 billion now. Tether’s total volume is north of $34 trillion this year.

The biggest winner of the group was Solana. It surged in popularity amid interest from developers and NFT enthusiasts. The price of Solana is up 11,202% this year, to a market cap of $53.6 billion.

What comes next for crypto is anyone’s guess. Developers and artists are hard at work brainstorming the metaverse as decentralized online utopia, with crypto essential to commerce. Still, there are plenty of skeptics.

Write to Connor Smith at connor.smith@barrons.com

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