New milestone reached as 100 cryptocurrencies reach a market capitalization of USD 1 billion

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In the past two months, the number of cryptocurrencies with a market capitalization of $ 1 billion has doubled since Cointelegraph last reported the milestone. There are currently 100 projects with a market cap of $ 1 billion.

Unicorns are typically privately held startup companies valued at more than $ 1 billion. In the traditional financial world, however, the term is increasingly being applied to high-quality cryptocurrencies that institutions are only now exposed to.

The entry of institutional investors into the cryptocurrency sector during the course of 2021 has been one of the driving forces of growth for the entire ecosystem as billion dollar companies like Tesla, Square, and MicroStrategy converted some of their cash reserves into Bitcoin (BTC) and others -Altcoins.

Decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFT), and oracles have been some of the hottest growth sectors in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. They have helped several projects earn unicorn status, and stable coin-related protocols have also gained in value as they help lay a solid foundation for the industry to grow.

Check out this thread for an update on some of the best crypto unicorn projects, as well as an introduction to some of the latest additions to the billion dollar club.

Non-fungible tokens are stealing the limelight

Non-fungible tokens have taken the world by storm in the past two months as celebrities, influencers, fast food restaurants, and established auction houses stepped forward to participate in the creation, sale, and distribution of unique digital assets.

Enjin Coin (ENJ) was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the surge in NFTs, which helped push the price of ENJ to an all-time high of $ 3.08 on March 15 and the project with a market cap of $ 2.6 billion firmly on the status of a unicorn.

ENJ / USDT 4 hour chart. Source: TradingView

The upcoming April 6 launch of JumpNet will enable the royalty-free creation and distribution of ERC-1155 tokens in the Enjin ecosystem, and the community excitement over this launch seems to keep investors optimistic for ENJ.

Other notable NFT-related new additions to the Unicorn Club are the virtual reality platform Decentraland (MANA), which can be used to acquire and monetize digital properties, and Flow (FLOW), a developer-friendly blockchain that was developed as the basis for “the next generation of games, apps and the digital assets that power them ”.

The DeFi ecosystem is expanding

The impact of decentralized funding on the cryptocurrency ecosystem is undeniable, as much of the sector’s growth over the past two years has been driven by DEXs like Uniswap and Yield.Farming platforms like Yearn.finance (YFI).

High transaction costs and network congestion in the Ethereum network triggered an exodus of users and liquidity to cross-chain compatible platforms, and also helped push several Binance Smart Chain (BSC) -based DeFi protocols above the billion dollar mark to lift.

PancakeSwap (CAKE) was one of BSC’s shining stars, rapidly climbing the charts in February and March to hit a market cap of $ 2.55 billion.

Total value blocked for PancakeSwap. Source: Defi Llama

Data from Defi Llama shows that CAKE is now ranked as the fifth largest DeFi platform by total value, currently locked in the log at $ 6.18 billion.

One protocol running on the Binance chain and Ethereum network is THORChain (RUNE), whose price growth of 700% since January 1 has increased the project’s total market cap to $ 1.95 billion.

Recent optimism for the project has centered on the launch of THORChain Multichain, which is devoted to Genesis on April 2nd and is expected to launch between April 13th and 16th.

Cross-chain bridges and interoperability protocols are increasing

Platforms that offer a lower fee environment than Ethereum, including Layer 2 solutions and separate blockchain networks, have received special attention in the past two months due to record-breaking gas costs.

Binance Coin (BNB) has seen a price increase as a token for transactions on the BSC, enough to put the token in the top 3 by market capitalization, which is now hovering around $ 53.55 billion.

Polygon (MATIC) has also become one of the selected Layer 2 protocols for the Ethereum network, having evolved into the “Polkadot on Ethereum”, helping to stem the flood of projects and liquidity leaving the network .

With many popular unicorn-level projects already running under the Polygon Protocol, including Aave (AAVE) and SushiSwap (SUSHI), MATIC appears to be well positioned to continue its gallop as the ascending unicorn star.

Stable coins and storage platforms keep getting stronger

Stablecoins and their associated protocols received a boost in early 2021 when the U.S. Treasury Department gave the currency validator the green light for national banks to run independent nodes for distributed ledger networks.

Top stablecoin market caps. Source: CoinGecko

After Bitfinex and Tether settled their landmark case with the New York Attorney General’s office, enthusiasm for stablecoin projects continued to rise as market caps for Tether and USD Coin (USDC) increased by billions of dollars.

One protocol with a stable coin component that has made great strides in building stable prosperity in hyperinflationary countries like Venezuela is Reserve, whose Reserve Rights (RSR) token rose more than 400% in 2021.

Another new addition to stablecoins is TerraUSD (UST), whose market capitalization rose from $ 182 million on January 1 to $ 1.66 billion on April 2 as a native Terra (LUNA) blockchain protocol that is based on specializing in the creation of fiat pegged stablecoins, skyrocketing In order to operate price-stable global payment systems, the price has increased by 3,000% since the beginning of the year.

Real-world use cases and partnerships are driving altcoins soaring

Several projects with specific use cases and first mover advantage have joined the unicorn herd, offering unique solutions to problems encountered in both the cryptocurrency and traditional sectors.

Theta (THETA) was a standout performer for the blockchain industry in 2021 as the token value of the streaming video-centric platform rose more than 900% since early January after several high profile announcements resulted in record high trading volumes for the token.

The blockchain-based web browser and digital advertising platform Basic Attention Token (BAT) achieved a unicorn-level rating thanks to its own announcements related to NFT and DeFi. The project revealed plans to roll out a DEX aggregator and an NFT wallet in the next browser.

Helium (HNT), a decentralized blockchain network for Internet of Things (IoT) devices via a network of nodes (hotspots), recently joined the Unicorn Club.

Helium hotspot coverage map. Source: helium

By running a hotspot on the Helium network, the user can cheaply participate in mining to maintain network security at a fraction of the cost of mining Bitcoin and Ethereum.

This will help build a global network of more than 25,000 hotspots and a total market cap of $ 1.12 billion for the HNT.

HNT / USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Now that institutional investors are slowly entering the cryptocurrency asset class, the number of unicorn-level projects is likely to continue to grow as traditional funding includes the rise of DeFi and digital assets.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading step is associated with risks. You should do your own research when making a decision.