Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others have lost nearly 40 percent since their record highs but investors are still better off than they were a year ago

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  • Value of the overall cryptocurrency market cap has dropped to about $2 trillion from its all-time high of $3 trillion last year – a dip of 33% overall.
  • The massive gains registered in November 2021 by most cryptocurrencies have been wiped out.
  • However, the prices of most mainstream crypto coins are still higher than they were this time last year.

The cryptocurrency market continues to roll in the doldrums but most coins are still better off than they were a year ago.

When most cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano, were trading at all-time-highs in mid-November last year, analysts were bullish that they could climb even higher by the end of the year. But, then came December and January, and most cryptocurrencies went for a nose-dive. As a result, gains made in those heady days have been wiped out.

According to experts, the cryptocurrency market is on the cusp of entering a bear phase. While this may be an opportunity to ‘buy the dip’ — pick up cryptocurrencies at low prices — it could also be the start of another ‘crypto winter’ akin to the one seen before the rise of 2020.

The cryptocurrency market has gone from billions to trillions

Over the last two years, the total market capitalisation of crypto assets has grown from $192 billion in January 2020, to $758 billion in January 2021 and $2.24 trillion in January 2022.

The long-term trend has seen growth in crypto asset value.CoinMarketCap charts, Total Cryptocurrency Market Cap.

That is not to say that 2021 did not have its ups and downs. At one point for just a few hours in November 2021, the overall value of the cryptocurrency market was worth a massive $3 trillion.

However, since then, the prices of almost all individual cryptocurrencies have fallen. Some, by over 40% when compared to their all-time highs.

Current price of the top cryptocurrencies compared to all-time-highs:

Currency Current Price Percentage rise compared to Jan 3, 2021 Percentage drop comparing current price to ATH of 2021 Price on Jan 3, 2021
Bitcoin (BTC) $41,854.32 27.67% -39.30% $32,782.02
Ethereum (ETH) $3,152.74 223.19% -35.29% $975.51
Binance Coin (BNB) $439.35 967.68% -35.93% $41.15
Solana (SOL) $141.33 6,443.06% -45.30% $2.16
Cardano (ADA) $1.17 470.73% -62.11% $0.205
Ripple XRP (XRP) $0.748666 231.56% -59.32% $0.2258
Polkadot (DOT) $24.76 146.86% -54.68% $10.03
Terra (LUNA) $70.76 10,590.44% -31.42% $0.6619
Avalanche (AVAX) $87.91 2,433.43% -39.04% $3.47
Polygon (MATIC) $2.11 10,460.56% -27.51% $0.01998

Source: CoinGecko ATH.

Despite volatility, cryptocurrencies continue to grow

According to the macro charts, the crypto market moved relatively little in 2018 and 2019, but then shot up from 2020 onwards. Here are five cryptocurrencies that remained in the top 30 since 2020, and how their price rose manyfold.

Top five cryptocurrencies by market value:


Currency Market Cap on Jan 10, 2022 Price increase across 2021 Price increase across 2020
Bitcoin $775.40 billion 9.27% 368.19%
Ethereum $362.24 billion 150.17% 765.33%
XRP $34.98 billion 137.04% 47.63%
Cardano $37.53 billion 283.73% 708.97%
Monero $3.43 billion 2.93% 212.10%

Source: CoinMarketCap’s historical data charts, snapshot for first week of years 2022, 2021 and 2020.

Criteria: Included coins that existed in at least top 30 since 2020, across categories.

These five cryptocurrencies were able to reap gains even in a relatively low-enthusiasm market, consistently across the years – with outsized profits in some cases. Some even saw upto 3-fold gains in price, with only a modest 2% to 5% increase in the supply of tokens.

Most cryptocurrencies at the beginning of 2022 are still gainers over their price seen in the beginning of 2021.

For HODLers — long time investors — buying major cryptocurrencies and holding them over the course of a year turned out to be profitable even when the overall market took a downturn. However, it should be noted that meme coins such as Dogecoin or Shiba Inu that gained from speculation, may not necessarily see the same trend. In a return to ‘doing the research’, the coins that had a use case, had demand, and whose supply remained stable, among other factors, were the ones that returned gains to investors over a long time period.

Disclaimer: Do your own research (DYOR) before making any investments, cryptocurrencies or otherwise. This article is for educational purposes and not intended to be financial advice.

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