Here’s how much you could have made


Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Brief-term volatility is frequent within the cryptocurrency market. Whereas that does translate to larger danger versus different funding devices, there’s additionally loads of upside potential. The previous 12 months, for example, noticed the cryptocurrency market’s complete valuation briefly high $3 trillion for the primary time. Whereas this spectacular development was typically offset by slowdowns and even main dips, most tokens are nonetheless buying and selling larger than they have been only some quick months in the past.

With the 12 months now coming to an finish, right here’s a retrospective have a look at the efficiency of the 15 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization — sorted from the very best returns to the bottom, as of December 30. We’ve additionally visualized simply how far a hypothetical $1,000 funding in every cryptocurrency at first of the 12 months would’ve gone over the course of 2021. After all, we overlooked any stablecoins since they’ll’t be held as an funding.

See additionally: The best cryptocurrency apps for Android

Shiba Inu (SHIB)

Shiba Inu token graph with logo on background

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  • Yr-to-date return: ~86,570%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$866,700

Shiba Inu skyrocketed in 2021 due to an inflow of latest retail buyers and heightened hypothesis. It’s laborious to estimate SHIB’s precise year-to-date returns as a result of the token appeared out of nowhere in February of this 12 months. Assuming January 31 as the place to begin, although, estimates peg SHIB’s complete 2021 beneficial properties at simply over 86,500%.

That mentioned, Shiba Inu was additionally essentially the most unstable cryptocurrency this 12 months, with its complete market capitalization routinely swinging billions of {dollars} in both route, relying on market sentiment. In the event you completely timed your entry and exit factors, it may have outperformed the entire different tokens on this record. Virtually talking, nonetheless, it continues to be one of many riskiest investments within the cryptocurrency market, which by itself is already very unstable.

Polygon (MATIC)

Polygon crypto graph on phone stock image

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

  • Yr-to-date return: ~14,000%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$141,000

Polygon is likely one of the hottest Ethereum scaling options. It goals to alleviate long-standing usability points comparable to excessive charges and community congestion by providing “facet chains” that run alongside the first Ethereum blockchain. In different phrases, it’s a second layer scaling solution that’s quicker and cheaper to transact with than the bottom Ethereum layer.

Polygon’s major chain operates on the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism, which permits it to function much more effectively than Ethereum. Even higher, builders can simply transition their decentralized purposes to Polygon. Right this moment, hottest Ethereum apps are already obtainable on the Polygon community, together with Aave and SushiSwap. A bridge additionally exists for customers to “port” their current Ethereum-based property and tokens over to the Polygon ecosystem.

Terra (LUNA)

Terra cryptocurrency stock image
  • Yr-to-date return: ~12,940%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$130,400 as we speak

Terra is a decentralized stablecoin venture that goals to upend current non-public options like Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC). As an alternative of money reserves, it achieves its peg and worth stability via two distinct token sorts — Terra and Luna (LUNA). Terra is the stablecoin, whereas Luna is used to handle provide and stop worth fluctuations. How does it work? Right here’s how the builders clarify it:

“Think about the entire Terra financial system as two swimming pools: one for Terra and one for Luna. To take care of the worth of Terra, the Luna provide pool provides to or subtracts from Terra’s provide. Customers burn Luna to mint Terra and burn Terra to mint Luna.”

In concept, customers are incentivized to carry Luna as a result of its provide ought to contract over time as demand for Terra will increase.

Solana (SOL)

Solana crypto stock image
  • Yr-to-date return: ~11,720%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$118,200

Solana is an Ethereum competitor that guarantees higher scalability — decrease charges and quicker settlement occasions. Solana’s worth exploded in 2021, due to the event group’s eager give attention to constructing an expansive ecosystem of decentralized purposes and NFT marketplaces. These benefits over Ethereum have allowed Solana to realize market share within the decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystems.

Sadly, Solana was additionally the topic of main controversies in 2021. In September, the community went offline for a number of hours — a phenomenon just about exceptional within the decentralized cryptocurrency ecosystem. Whereas Solana can course of transactions a lot quicker than a few of its rivals, together with Ethereum, it has but to show that it could stand the take a look at of time.

Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin stock

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

  • Yr-to-date return: ~3,600%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$37,000

In early 2021, Dogecoin outperformed a superb chunk of the crypto market. A number of elements contributed to this unprecedented rally, together with continued social media endorsements from personalities like Elon Musk. Round that point, the crypto market additionally noticed a sudden inflow of latest retail buyers — contemporary off the GameStop short squeeze saga.

Nonetheless, with no underlying utility or utility, meme tokens resemble a chance rather more than a sound funding. That’s very true as we head into 2022, with a lot of the hype now dying out. Dogecoin’s present worth of roughly $0.18 per token, for instance, falls fairly wanting its $0.74 all-time excessive from just some months in the past.

Avalanche (AVAX)

avalanche crypto stock 2
  • Yr-to-date return: ~3,540%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$36,400

Avalanche surged out of nowhere in 2021, rapidly climbing the record of the highest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization to succeed in the tenth place. It advertises itself as a quick, low-cost, and eco-friendly sensible contract platform. Like many Ethereum rivals, Avalanche makes use of the proof of stake consensus mechanism to attain its spectacular effectivity figures.

Avalanche is appropriate with Ethereum’s programming language and instruments, permitting builders to rapidly deploy their purposes and sensible contracts. In response to knowledge from DeFi Llama, that technique has paid off. The platform at the moment has practically $12 billion in complete locked worth, distributed primarily throughout Ethereum-first DeFi apps like Aave and Curve Finance.

Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance stock photo 2

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  • BNB year-to-date return: ~1,400%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$15,000

Tokens belonging to main cryptocurrency exchanges witnessed staggering development all through 2021. Binance was the largest winner on this class, because it continued to reign supreme in markets exterior North America. Binance Coin (BNB) is now the third-largest cryptocurrency by way of valuation — gaining a number of positions since final 12 months.

Moreover the change’s rising relevance, BNB’s success can be attributed to the rising recognition of Binance’s personal sensible contract blockchain, dubbed Binance Good Chain (BSC). Like Avalanche, a number of Ethereum DeFi apps additionally exist on the BSC community, making it the extra handy alternative (and to not point out, cheaper) for a lot of already inside the Binance ecosystem.

Crypto.com Coin (CRO)

Crypto.com logo next to debit card 1

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

  • CRO year-to-date return: ~873%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$9,730

Crypto.com blindsided the crypto business in 2021 because it rapidly grew to become probably the most well-known exchanges in North America. The corporate claims that it achieved 1 / 4 of Coinbase’s income within the first quarter of 2021 — a formidable feat contemplating that the latter has been round for practically a decade. Crypto.com has additionally gone on a advertising blitz of late, signing a number of the costliest sponsorship deals in sporting historical past.

In the meantime, the change’s CRO token is now price $15 billion. It’s not laborious to see why — customers are incentivized to “stake” or lock up vital sums of CRO tokens for varied reward applications. Crypto.com additionally provides a lending characteristic that gives the next rate of interest in your cryptocurrency when you maintain a sure variety of CRO tokens. All in all, the token’s success is straight linked to the platform’s recognition.

Cardano (ADA)

Cardano coin stock photo 2

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

  • Yr-to-date return: ~690%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$7,900

Cardano is the second hottest sensible contract platform after Ethereum. It has been on a constant upward trajectory over the previous few years, outperforming a lot of the market all through 2019 and 2020.

Learn extraWhat is Cardano? Demystifying the long-awaited Ethereum-killer

The venture is headed by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson, who departed from Ethereum over variations in ideology and imaginative and prescient. Cardano emerged as an Ethereum competitor in 2017. It was one of many earliest implementations of the proof of stake consensus mechanism, permitting for quicker transactions than current platforms. In 2021, Cardano’s builders launched the platform’s long-awaited sensible contract performance, paving the best way for the introduction of decentralized purposes.

Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum stock 4

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

  • Yr-to-date return: ~420%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$5,200

Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, loved a wholesome worth rally all through the primary 4 months of 2021. It’s usually used as the first asset in each the DeFi and NFT ecosystems. Consequently, it already has a longtime use case, energetic group participation, and even will get copious quantities of consideration from institutional buyers. Most different digital currencies don’t share Ethereum’s early-mover benefit both.

Learn extra: Everything you need to know about Ethereum

Nonetheless, the cryptocurrency does face just a few challenges as we head into 2022. For one, the underlying Ethereum blockchain usually suffers from community congestion and inflated transaction charges as a consequence of excessive demand and utilization. The long-awaited Ethereum 2.0 replace goals to repair this downside. Nonetheless, it’s a reasonably main overhaul of the platform that hasn’t been examined within the wild but.

Ripple (XRP)

ripple stock image
  • Yr-to-date return: ~250%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$3,500

Ripple’s XRP token was as soon as the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, trailing solely Bitcoin and Ethereum. Nonetheless, uncertainty stemming from a lawsuit by the US Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC) tanked the token’s worth in 2020. Regardless of that, XRP managed to place collectively a reasonably spectacular exhibiting over the previous few months — and is on monitor to finish the 12 months because the seventh-largest digital foreign money.

That mentioned, XRP’s present costs are nonetheless a far cry from its earlier all-time excessive of $3.40. For context, most different cash and tokens on this record have damaged via their earlier 2017-2019 highs by a snug margin. XRP’s success going ahead relies upon closely on the end result of the SEC lawsuit.

Polkadot (DOT)

Polkadot stock image
  • Yr-to-date return: ~328%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$4,280

Polkadot is one other venture that has a singular tackle blockchain scalability. Polkadot’s foremost pitch is an “web of blockchains” — serving basically as a bridge to permit a number of unrelated blockchains to speak to one another. Polkadot was created by former Ethereum co-founder and CTO Gavin Wooden, who additionally developed the Solidity programming language used for Ethereum’s sensible contracts and decentralized purposes.

The Polkadot community is split into the principle relay chain and a number of smaller para-chains that run alongside one another. Every para-chain acts like a user-created blockchain that may be personalized for particular purposes.

Chainlink (LINK)

Chainlink Page on tablet 2

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

  • Yr-to-date return: ~84%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$1,840

Chainlink is a decentralized oracle platform for sensible contract platforms. What does that imply? In a nutshell, it helps present real-world knowledge to programmable blockchain platforms like Ethereum. Good contracts are fairly easy — they execute as quickly as an occasion is triggered. Nonetheless, many occasions happen off-chain, like modifications in climate or delays in transport.

In a situation the place two contributors wager on the end result of a sporting occasion, for instance, a wise contract wants a solution to decide the winner. That’s the place Chainlink is available in — it could feed off-chain knowledge feeds as an enter to on-chain companies. Oracles, or community contributors that present these correct outcomes, are incentivized by way of rewards paid out within the LINK token.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin stock photo 9

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

  • Yr-to-date return: ~77%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$1,770

Whereas Bitcoin didn’t skyrocket in 2021, it continues to affect the momentum of the broader market — making it an especially worthwhile asset in any risk-averse crypto portfolio. And ignoring comparisons in opposition to different digital currencies, it nonetheless managed to double in worth — outperforming most different asset courses.

Learn extra: What is Bitcoin and why is it still relevant?

Bitcoin’s place as essentially the most worthwhile cryptocurrency has gone unchallenged for years at this level. It’s additionally a reasonably steady venture. In contrast to Ethereum and newer blockchain platforms, Bitcoin’s growth is sluggish, methodical, and community-driven. These are key promoting factors for big establishments and buyers because it alerts stability and decrease danger, at the very least so far as the cryptocurrency market is worried.

Litecoin

litecoin stock image
  • Yr-to-date return: ~20%
  • $1,000 invested at first of 2021 could be price ~$1,200

Litecoin, the second oldest venture on this record after Bitcoin, surprisingly delivered the least spectacular returns this 12 months among the many high 15 cryptocurrencies. For years, Litecoin managed to cling onto its status as a less expensive, extra nimble Bitcoin various. Nonetheless, 2021 lastly noticed Litecoin slip to the decrease ranks.

The cryptocurrency’s growth has slowed down because the crypto market’s 2017 cycle peak. With an annual return of simply 20%, there have been many higher investments than Litecoin this 12 months. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 indices each managed to outperform it with a decrease danger degree.


Wanting on the returns, it’s simple to see why crypto was so standard in 2021. However remember that previous efficiency shouldn’t be indicative of future outcomes. There have been additionally quite a lot of cryptocurrencies that went down in worth this 12 months, so be certain by no means to take a position more cash than you possibly can afford to lose. For additional studying, try our definitive guide to cryptocurrency investing.



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