The number of billion-dollar crypto “unicorn” companies continues to increase, and the 2021 bull market has just begun
In the traditional investment world, the term “unicorn” is used by venture capitalists to describe a private startup company valued at more than $1 billion.
Usually, these startups have strong fundamentals and usually have first-mover advantages that can help them quickly appreciate and become valuable investment opportunities for income-seeking funds.
Some of the most famous unicorn companies include Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a private rocket and spacecraft manufacturer valued at $46 billion; and Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, which is currently valued at 8 billion Dollar.
When the world’s attention is focused on the coronavirus pandemic, the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election and the recent r/Wallstreetbets social investment phenomenon, the total valuation of the crypto sector has quietly risen to more than 1.2 trillion US dollars.
Also, there are currently more than 55 unicorn projects with a market value of more than $1 billion.
Top 18 projects by market capitalization Source: Messari
Recently, Michael Saylor, Mark Cuban and Elon Musk are helping people focus on the emerging cryptocurrency industry. With that comes the keen eye of institutional investors. They will soon want to see what else exists in this field. Future opportunities.
These projects no longer focus solely on making cryptocurrencies a global means of transaction. Some of the top projects include smart contract platforms, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, privacy tokens, oracle vendors, and even interesting meme tokens.
With this in mind, as institutions begin to emerge in the cryptocurrency market, here are some of the top crypto unicorn projects that require close attention.
Blue Chip Project
Bitcoin is the ultimate pioneer in the field of cryptocurrency because it paves the way for other Bitcoins, and it accounts for more than 61% of the total market value, which currently has a market value of $843.0 billion.
Among all the proof-of-work cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is the chain with the longest operating time and the strongest mining network. It may be the first choice for new funds to enter the crypto field. These funds will take a cautious attitude at the beginning.
Percentage of total market capitalization Source: CoinMarketCap
Just like how many cryptocurrency enthusiasts are currently involved in this field, Bitcoin will become the “gateway token” that introduces this concept and guides further exploration.
Ethereum’s current market value is $196 billion, which is clearly the second choice. It is the most used smart contract platform and the platform for most of the top DeFi protocols that have soared in popularity in recent months.
Other projects that have experienced multiple bull market cycles and obtained unicorn status include Litecoin (LTC), which has become a reliable value transfer alternative to BTC with higher fees and longer block times, and privacy-focused Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC), they paved the way for blockchain transactions to bring anonymity.
The current market values of these projects are US$10.5 billion, US$2.75 billion and US$1.07 billion.
Decentralized finance becomes the focus
Since the beginning of 2020, one of the main driving forces for the growth of the cryptocurrency industry has been the emergence of decentralized finance.
Decentralized exchanges (DEX) like Uniswap have steadily grown from a simple trading interface DdApp to a huge trading platform. Today’s average trading day trading volume is 7 days, and its current 7-day average trading volume is US$6.72 billion, This number is comparable to the trading volume of top decentralized exchanges.
Uniswap 7-day trading volume Source: Uniswap
Uniswap’s UNI governance token was initially airdropped to interface users. They tried Uniswap when they were still in the development stage, but now, UNI can be found in all major centralized and decentralized exchanges.
Uniswap has also received venture capital support to ensure further development. Uniswap’s current market capitalization is US$5.9 billion and the token price is US$19.79. Uniswap is likely to be included on the watch list by savvy investors who pay attention to this field.
Uniswap’s main competitor, SushiSwap, also gained unicorn status, with a current valuation of US$1.8 billion. SushiSwap provides a community-centric system that allows token holders to use their SUSHI as collateral to participate in governance and obtain passive income from the transaction fees generated by the agreement.
DeFi locks in total value Source: Defi Pulse
Although DEX helps promote the growth of DeFi, lending agreements have become the primary attraction for locking in total value (TVL) and higher token value.
Measured by TVL in the agreement, Maker (MKR), AAVE and Compound (COMP) are the leading platforms. At present, the total value of smart contracts that interact with the agreement is 15.63 billion U.S. dollars, and its market value ranges from 2.1 billion U.S. dollars to 5.98 billion U.S. dollars.
In addition to the high-yield opportunities provided by the mortgage agreement, retail investors are also attracted by the governance function that gives token holders a say in the future development of the agreement. These DeFi darlings are likely to arouse the interest of long-term capital.
Ethereum congestion drives smart contract innovation
Facts have proved that Ethereum’s dominance in DeFi is a double-edged sword because increased network congestion has led to an unacceptable surge in gas fees.
Ethereum average gas price Source: Etherscan
The recent record-breaking gas fee has opened a door to other smart contract platforms that can meet the demand for Layer 2 solutions, while also highlighting the need for oracle providers that can securely communicate data across platforms.
Emerging and promising smart contract platforms to include Polkadot (DOT) and its sister chain Kusama (KSM), which have introduced interoperability with Ethereum and other top blockchains to solve the island nature of current independent networks.
As the popularity of DOT continues to grow, the market value of DOT has increased to 18.8 billion US dollars, and Kusama has just become a new member of the Unicorn Club, and its market value exceeded 1 billion US dollars for the first time on February 6.
Interestingly, Cardano (ADA) is one of the projects of the ICO era in 2017 and has also begun to gain momentum in recent weeks. Before this, the Cardano agreement joined the smart contract and hinted that DeFi-related work will be carried out in the future.
Currently, Cardano has a market value of $19.8 billion, and integration with DeFi may help push up its value because ADA has not yet taken advantage of the liquidity provided by decentralized exchanges.
In terms of blockchain-based video streaming, Theta gained a first-mover advantage. Theta recently added a smart contract function with the ability to create NFT tokens and launched Thetaswap DEX on February 4.
The oracle joins the encryption field
As more and more participants enter the cryptocurrency field and new blockchains emerge to adapt to specific market segments, communication between independent networks will become critical to the overall health and continued growth of the crypto industry.
This is the role of the oracle project, which can provide reliable and safe data transmission.
Top oracle project Source: CoinGecko
From the perspective of protocol integration and evaluation, Chainlink (LINK) is the top oracle project. LINK’s current market capitalization is USD 10.37 billion, and the recent integration with Kraken Exchange is expected to further increase the value of the project.
At the same time, as the bull market heats up in 2021, upstarts like UMA and Graph (GRT) have just gained unicorn status. Both projects have developed new methods for tracking, recording and transmitting data, and their valuations have reached US$1.7 billion and US$1.1 billion, respectively.
GRT is particularly active, announcing multiple partnerships and upcoming integrations, including DOT and Binance Coin (BNB).
“Unicorns” group will expand
Bitcoin suddenly appeared on the financial stage more than 12 years ago and steadily forged a path of prominence that governments and the global financial system can no longer ignore.
Now that institutions have finally begun to focus on BTC and ETH, it is time to take a closer look at what the emerging blockchain ecosystem can provide.
The unicorn group is likely to expand and considering that the decentralized finance field is still in a very early stage of growth, these unicorn projects have a lot of value to be discovered.