The year 2021 was unprecedented for cryptocurrencies, as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) gained 60.58% and 408.5% throughout the year, respectively. In the case of the latter, the explosion of decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFT), decentralized applications (DApps) and decentralized exchanges (DEXs) built on its blockchain created a whole new cyberspace of digital currencies. spanning every corner of the world.

But, the year was also auspicious for altcoins, which far outperformed BTC and ETH during the same time frame. So, without further ado, let’s look at five cryptocurrencies that went from zero to hero in 2021.

1. Shiba Inu

Of course, in the first place is the iconic Shiba Inu (SHIB) token meme. Originally created as a joke and as a spin-off of Dogecoin (DOGE) in August 2020, SHIB holders made an impressive gain of 29,513,624.1% from start to finish in 2021. But the network has evolved much more beyond meme status. There is now a ShibaSwap DEX with close to $ 324.5 million in total locked value (TVL) at press time, with two other native tokens and support for NFT deliveries.

Then again, memes have been flying high all this time too. Last October, AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron organized a poll on Twitter asking whether the well-known theater chain should accept SHIB tokens as payment for movie tickets. The survey obtained 153,100 votes, with 81.4% of users in favor.

And, true to the cause, the soldiers of the “Shiba Army” have proven to be ardent defenders of the token when facing enemies of their blockchain. Last December, Canadian medical question-and-answer platform Ask the Doctor, a former SHIB influencer, resigned from his post and decided to file a lawsuit against Shytoshi Kusama, the volunteer leader of the SHIB project, alleging defamation. Not only did Kusama reply (with tweets), but the Shiba Army launched an all-out attack across the (cyber) front. In a matter of hours, Ask the Doctor had lost nearly 10,000 of its 58,000 Twitter followers, while its TrustPilot page was inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of one-star reviews before the platform’s conservatives began. to eliminate them.

2. Solana

Coming in with a profit of 11,120% in 2021, Solana (SOL) managed to live up to its endearing nickname of “Ethereum Killer”, processing 1,847 transactions per second and with an average cost per transaction of less than a cent at the time of publication . Meanwhile, the Ethereum network can only process 15 transactions per second, with gas prices of $ 133.17 per smart contract execution.

Due to its high efficiency, the blockchain has attracted the attention of many developers, from FTX-backed game studios and the most successful NFT project originated in Asia to the privacy-enhancing Brave browser, which has more than 42 million users. In December, Twitch co-founder Justin Kan launched a new NFT marketplace focused on blockchain gaming, Fractal, on the Solana network, and it has amassed more than 110,000 members.

3. Dogecoin

It’s not often that sequels, like SHIB, outperform the original, but DOGE is still a solid meme story. Ending the year with a 2,910% gain, DOGE attracted the attention of celebrities, influencers, investors, and blockchain enthusiasts alike. But, let’s face it, most were probably in it for the money (and the jokes) rather than the technology.

Read:  Jack Dorsey's Square Plans To Build An Open Source Bitcoin Mining System

One of DOGE’s greatest evangelizers is, of course, Elon Musk. Known colloquially as the “Dogefather,” Musk has repeatedly promoted the meme coin to his 68.9 million followers and has even confirmed that Tesla will accept DOGE for payment of merchandise. In an interview with Time magazine, Musk said: “Bitcoin is not a good substitute for transactional currency. Although it was created as a silly joke, Dogecoin is more suitable for transactions. The total flow of transactions that you do with Dogecoin, such as transactions per day, it has much greater potential than Bitcoin. “

What’s more, Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has launched a rebate program to incentivize payments for merchandise and tickets through DOGE. According to CryptWerk, 1,983 merchants around the world now accept DOGE as payments, up from 1,206 in early 2021.

4. Binance Coin

Ending 2021 with a profit of 1,271% is Binance Coin (BNB). Previously only used as a discount for trading fees on Binance, the world’s largest centralized cryptocurrency exchange, BNB has evolved to become a leader in the DeFi ecosystem and is ERC-20 compliant. Since its launch in 2020, Binance Smart Chain (BEP-20) has exceeded 1.5 billion in lifetime transactions with a TVL of $ 16.61 billion. 32.98% of the TVL comes from the DEX and gaming / NFT platform PancakeSwap, where there are 3,759 currencies available for trading for a total transaction volume of $ 760.2 million in the last 24 hours.

BNB is used to pay gas fees on both the Binance Chain and BEP-20 and is interchangeable. Binance dedicates a portion of its profits to repurchasing BNB for permanent disposal each quarter. During the 17th quarterly burn that took place in October, BNB worth $ 639.5 million was burned.

5. Cardano

According to a recent report by CryptoRanks and Santiment, Cardano (ADA) was the most developed blockchain in 2021. Over 140,000 GitHub events involving Cardano were reported throughout the year, surpassing the close second and third place for Kusama and Polkadot. . Last September, Cardano underwent the Alonzo fork, which enabled smart contracts functionality on its Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network.

Soon after, the number of ADA wallets surpassed the 2 million mark. At the same time, its founder, Charles Hoskinson, updated enthusiasts on the status of the Hydra update, which could theoretically allow the network to process hundreds of transactions per second. In early January, Hoskinson announced his plans to gradually make Cardano a permanent open source project. ADA ended the year with a gain of 673.8%.