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New milestone reached as 100 cryptocurrencies reach a $1B market cap


cointelegraph.com 05 April 2021 16:44, UTC
Reading time: ~4 m

In the last two months, the number of cryptocurrencies with a $1 billion market cap has doubled since the last time Cointelegraph reported on the milestone. As things currently stand, there are 100 projects that have reached a $1 billion market capitalization.

Unicorns are typically privately held startup companies valued at more than $1 billion, but traditional finance is increasingly applying the term to high-value cryptocurrencies that institutions are only now gaining exposure to.

The entrance of institutional investors into the cryptocurrency sector over the course of 2021 has been one of the driving forces of growth for the ecosystem as a whole as multi-billion dollar companies like Tesla, Square and MicroStrategy have converted a portion of their cash reserves into Bitcoin (BTC) and other top altcoins.

These are the top 8 #Bitcoin holding public companies.

Which other #cryptocurrency might become a part of company holdings? $MSTR $TSLA $GLXY $SQ $MARA $HUT $VYGR $RIOT pic.twitter.com/wqRD9qdRmb

— Delta Investment Tracker (@get_delta) March 6, 2021

Decentralized finance (DeFi), nonfungible tokens (NFT) and oracles have been some of the hottest growth sectors of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, helping propel multiple projects to Unicorn level status, while stablecoin-related protocols have also vaulted in value as they help provide a solid foundation for the industry to grow from.

On that thread, here’s an update on some of the top crypto unicorn projects, as well as an introduction to some of the newest arrivals to the billion dollar club.

Nonfungible tokens steal the spotlight

Nonfungible tokens took the world by storm over the past two months as celebrities, influencers, fast food restaurants and established auction houses jumped on the bandwagon to take part in the creation, sale and distribution of one-of-a-kind digital assets.

Enjin Coin (ENJ) has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the rise of NFTs which helped rocket the price of ENJ to an all-time high of $3.08 on March 15 and firmly elevated the project to Unicorn status with a $2.6 billion market cap.

Data from Defi Llama shows that CAKE is now ranked as the fifth-largest DeFi platform by total value locked with $6.18 billion currently locked in the protocol.

One protocol that operates on the Binance Chain and the Ethereum network is THORChain (RUNE), whose 700% price growth since January 1 has lifted the project’s total market cap to $1.95 billion.

Recent optimism for the project has been centered around the launch of THORChain Multichain, which committed to genesis on April 2 and is expected to launch between the 13th and 16th of April.

Cross-chain bridges and interoperability protocols soar

Platforms that offer a lower fee environment to that of Ethereum, including layer 2 solutions and separate blockchain networks, have received extra attention over the past two months due to record-breaking gas costs.

As the token that powers transactions on the BSC, Binance Coin (BNB) has seen its price surge enough to vault the token into the top 3 by market capitalization, which now fluctuates around $53.55 billion.

Polygon (MATIC) has also risen in stature to become one of the chosen layer 2 protocols for the Ethereum network following its pivot to become the “Polkadot on Ethereum” and help stem the tide of projects and liquidity leaving the network.

With many popular unicorn-level projects already operational on the Polygon protocol, including Aave (AAVE) and SushiSwap (SUSHI), MATIC looks well-positioned to continue its gallop higher as a rising unicorn star.

Stablecoins and storage platforms grow in strength

Stablecoins and their associated protocols received a boost early in 2021 when the U.S. Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency gave the green light for national banks to run independent nodes for distributed ledger networks.

Running a hotspot on the Helium network gives the user a low-cost opportunity to participate in mining to help maintain network security at a fraction of what it costs to mine Bitcoin and Ethereum.

This is helped create a global network of more than 25,000 hotspots and a total market cap of $1.12 billion for the HNT.

HNT/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Now that institutional investors are slowly gaining exposure to the cryptocurrency asset class, the number of unicorn-level projects is likely to continue to increase as traditional finance embraces the rise of DeFi and digital assets.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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