Year in, and year out, people continue to wonder how long the crypto hype is going to continue. The volatility of the market keeps leading some to believe that the digital currency’s time has ended. But without fail, it always pops back up again… why?

This month at The Fintech Times we will be looking at what makes digital currencies so popular. We will also uncover the emerging alternatives to cryptos and why the digital future looks so intriguing. Rounding out the month, our focus is going to be on quirky currencies, looking at the top-performing currencies of the year, as well as which are most sustainable.  

In our final article for this month’s focus, we spoke to Jonathan Hobbs, Rachel Lin, Leo Goriev, Charlton Haupt, and Shinnosuke “Shin” Murata, about what they believed were the whackiest trends and cryptocurrencies we saw in the digital currencies market this past year.

Jonathan Hobbs, cryptocurrency lead at Finimize
Jonathan Hobbs, cryptocurrency lead at Finimize
Jonathan Hobbs, cryptocurrency lead at Finimize

Blockchain games have exploded onto the scene in recent times, becoming a big hit among players and investors alike. And Alien Worlds has more people playing it than any other project right now, with around 250,000 unique wallets interacting with it per day, according to DappRadar.

Alien Worlds is an intergalactic metaverse (or virtual world) with its own complex economy that runs on Trillium (TLM) tokens. TLM buys you the things you need to level up in the game, which come in the form of unique NFTs (non-fungible tokens): tools, land, minions, weapons, and so on.

The rarer and more useful the NFT item, the more valuable it is to the game player. That’s because those items can help you earn more TLM, making you a wealthier member of the Alien Worlds civilization. What’s more, you can use NFT tools to mine Trillium on NFT land. And if you own a plot rich with TLM deposits, you can let other players mine too – for 20 per cent of their token rewards.

The game operates on the Ethereum, Wax and Binance Smart Chain blockchains. And as for real-world crypto investors, TLM trades on regular crypto exchanges – meaning they can convert their virtual tokens into regular money, and vice versa. Like most digital assets, the token is no stranger to volatility: it jumped 6,000 per cent in value the day it listed on Binance in April of 2021. Today trades for just over two cents.

Still, it’s had a few monster rallies on the way down, and it is the currency of the world’s most popular blockchain game at this current point in time. So it could be one to keep an eye on for the next crypto bull run.

Rachel Lin, co-founder and CEO of SynFutures
Rachel Lin, co-founder and CEO of SynFutures
Rachel Lin, co-founder and CEO of SynFutures

Crypto has grown from a niche internet currency into a globally adopted asset class with millions of people using it daily, not to mention widespread institutional adoption. But crypto is still a weird and wonderful world thanks to the importance of the concepts of ‘decentralisation’ and ‘permissionlessness.’

Essentially, the idea is to share control as widely as possible, removing middle men and unnecessary red tape, in order to foster vibrant innovation at an often breakneck pace.

These concepts of ‘decentralisation’ and ‘permissionlessness’ lead directly to the major outpouring of creativity we have seen, for example in the varying design and applications of NFTs, or the quirky currencies that attract fanatic communities, such as DogeCoin.

This distributed and decentralised creativity should be celebrated as a major strength of the crypto industry. It is a key factor supporting its continued resilience. Think of a many-headed hydra that keeps coming back, no matter the actions of its adversaries.

What will be vital for the sustainability of the crypto market going forward, is for key industry players to uphold and protect these concepts. And yes in turn the quirky currencies they birth. This includes ensuring the continued vibrancy of decentralised finance, which drives truly groundbreaking financial innovation, as well as permissionless trading that boosts financial inclusion.

Leo Goriev, CEO and founder of Card Blanch

The covid-19 pandemic has significantly increased the role of fintech in society. According to the latest Worldpay Global Report 2021 only digital and mobile wallets will account for more than half (51.7 per cent) of global e-commerce payment methods by 2024. In this sense, it is becoming evident that the contactless payment system is shaping the future of fintech and banking. And, at this point, cryptocurrency is developing a massive new community. 

However, even for the biggest players in the aforementioned industry, the year 2022 was full of loud ups and downs. With the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and other negative factors having a substantial influence on all aspects of business and entrepreneurship it will surely be remembered as one of the most challenging years for the blockchain industry and global economy.

Alty, an IT product software company, alongside Ukrainian fintech and crypto startup Weld Money, has looked through the market and analytics to provide a concise overview of the craziest (both in a good and bad sense) cryptos of the current year. 

  • Terra Classic (LUNC, -100 per cent from ATH)

TerraUSD (UST), the Terra ecosystem’s stablecoin, has lost its peg to the US dollar. The LUNA coin that was used to issue it by more than 95 per cent and eventually reached 100 per cent. 

LUNA was the first token in history to enter the top ten cryptocurrencies only to lose 95 per cent of its value. Due to the failure of the core ecosystem strategy, investors are actively withdrawing funds from this Terra blockchain asset.

  • Solana (SOL, -94 per cent from ATH)

Since FTX and Alameda Research were major investors in the Solana project, their bankruptcy had a significant impact on the pricing. The blockchain dubbed the “Aetherium Killer” may be on its last legs. However, during 2022, the blockchain had several issues, including numerous not-so-successful hacker assaults, causing the price of the native token to continuously fall.

  • Serum (SRM, -98 per cent from ATH)

The previously mentioned collapse of the American FTX exchange in November of this year, as well as the impact on the token of the same name, which operates on the Solana protocol, resulted in massive price drops for this asset. 

The project’s DAO opted to do an urgent fork, which temporarily halted the negative processes in the ecosystem.

  • FTX Token (FTT, -98 per cent from ATH)

The native token of Sam Bankman-Fried’s bankrupt exchange FTX and the affiliated hedge fund Alameda Research expectedly brought down the platform’s native token FTT price. The price dropped from approximately $25 to nearly $1.5.

  • Aptos (APT, +10 000 per cent after Binance listing)

Aptos (APT) has skyrocketed by 10,000 per cent since its launch on the Binance exchange, with an initial price of one USDT. It’s  a first-level blockchain that focuses on scalability and security.

At the same time, the token is regarded as a direct competitor of Solan by the community. The project has raised $350million in just two rounds of funding from the major crypto funds. This blockchain is now seeing the launching of a huge number of fresh and promising projects.

APE is one of the largest NFT ecosystems, with notable collections of non-fungible tokens, including the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and the Otherside metaverse.

ApeCoin (APE) is a native ecosystem token released on the Ethereum blockchain.

The leading developer of APE is the American company Yuga Labs.

The project prospects are explained by five factors: recognition among titled investors and celebrities, exclusivity, the presence of its own metaverse, and diversification of investments. All these make the project one of the best among the NFT companies.

Charlton Haupt, CEO of Bad Astro Society
Charlton Haupt, CEO of Bad Astro Society
Charlton Haupt, CEO of Bad Astro Society

One of the quirkiest forms of currency was “Rai Stones”; used in Micronesia. These stones weighed around 4,000kg (8,800 pounds) and because moving them was so tricky, ownership was determined by oral tradition rather than location.

This may be the strangest form of money ever established as it would require great faith not just in the value of the stone but in the integrity of the oral account. The premise of the stones was the same as gold, though, in that they were difficult to quarry and therefore required a tremendous amount of effort.

Shinnosuke “Shin” Murata, founder of blockchain games developer, Murasaki
Shinnosuke “Shin” Murata, founder of blockchain games developer, Murasaki
Shinnosuke “Shin” Murata, founder of blockchain games developer, Murasaki

Cryptocurrency was bananas in 2022. On one hand, we saw blockchain games go mainstream and tap into their earning potential. On the other hand, we had the federal government investigate a so-called “stablecoin” for fraud. We’ve even had an internet joke become a kind of viable crypto option.

The Axie Infinity Shard, which is based on the Ethereum network, exploded then crashed, and now it’s building back up again. Will it reach its all time high again? I don’t know. Axie is a game where players can battle, collect, and build a digital world for their digital pets. It’s like Pokemon meets GigaPet. Axie Infinity Shard holders can earn rewards for staking their tokens, playing the game, and voting in key governance events.

Tether purported its US Dollar Coin to be a “stablecoin.” It’s backed by the US dollar, at least partially, but that may not have always been the case.

The US Department of Justice is currently investigating Tether for fraud. It’s ironic because crypto is supposed to be decentralised and not regulated by governments. However, Tether may have done something shady to get the flat funds they needed to create their crypto tokens. I don’t know if they committed fraud, but they did pay an $18.5million settlement to the New York attorney general a few years ago.

Then we have Dogecoin, which is based on a popular internet meme. Someone decided to make a cryptocurrency as a joke and it wasn’t worth much when it started—fractions of fractions of a cent if I recall. Now it’s worth actual cents. That’s a huge increase and I don’t know if Doge will ever reach Ethereum or Bitcoin levels, but it’s pretty wild that a joke became so profitable. Who knows what 2023 and beyond will hold?

  • Francis Bignell

    Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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