CRYPTO MOVERS AND PRICES
The Top 10 cryptocurrencies were marginally up to unchanged this morning as gains made over the previous several days were held. Cardano (ADA) and Binance Coin (BNB) were up 25% and 40%, respectively.
Crypto Story of the Day
Since the beginning of the month, 4 altcoins in the Top 10 have seen new record highs. This altcoin performance comes on the back of notable endorsements of various DeFi concepts and blockchain-based financial infrastructure that have also included questions surrounding these networks’ technical abilities to achieve adoption.
Yesterday, Ethereum (ETH) reached a new record high of about USD 1,800. Tuesday also saw record highs from Polkadot (DOT), which reached a market cap of USD 21.68 billion, while the capitalization of Chainlink (LINK) topped USD 10 billion. In the Top 10, the largest 1-week gains were seen by Cardano (ADA) and Binance Coin (BNB), 60% and 111%, respectively. In total, altcoins added roughly USD 179 billion to their market caps over the past month, reaching an aggregate USD 517 billion.
Google searches for terms “cryptocurrency” are currently seeing 3-year highs. Searches for the term “ethereum” peaked in January and have surpassed 2017-2018 records. The search topic “investment” (topics broadly include associated terms, whereas terms account for only the single word) has hit a 17-year high. In relation to the topic of “investment,” over the past 3 months, “bitcoin” has been the 7th most popular related topic according to Google data. Related topics with the greatest increase in search volume, also for the past 3 months, are “Dogecoin,” “Ethereum,” “Coinbase,” “Bitcoin,” and “Ripple,” in this order.
This heightened interest in the broader crypto market comes on the back of endorsements of key selling points of many altcoins. For example, in a January op-ed for the Financial Times, former Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks argued that algorithmic money markets, decentralized exchanges, and lending protocols “are likely to be mainstream before self-driving cars start to fly.”
In a research article written by Fabian Schär, a fintech-focused academic researcher and professor, and published by the Federal Reserve Bank Of St. Louis, Ethereum-based DeFi is described as having “recently gained a lot of traction” and that “this technology has great potential.”
These endorsements of the DeFi and smart contract concepts are further bolstered by narratives that have highlighted some advantages to decentralized infrastructure, such as Robinhood’s recent restrictions on trading. We previously argued that the Robinhood episode gave the DeFi niche a uniquely mainstream stage on which to present its selling points. Having said that, this hasn’t translated into direct endorsements of any particular network’s technical ability to achieve widespread adoption.
Endorsements such as Schär’s or Brooks’ articles speak to the potential of DeFi concepts, but they pointedly lack reference to the ability of any network to overcome technical challenges associated with adoption. In fact, Schär notes that “it remains to be seen” whether a truly decentralized blockchain can achieve widespread adoption with technical challenges in mind.
Given the appreciation seen by altcoins recently, it’s important to consider that their mainstreaming to-date has been that of their conceptual potential, rather than statements on any one network’s ability to achieve its stated objectives and mass adoption.