In late 2022, the European Central Bank claimed that Bitcoin and crypto were going to zero. About a year later, Bitcoin is trading around $34k USD, while many other digital assets have also had big bounce backs rather than dropping to zero. Bitcoin first reclaimed the $30k mark for the first time in over 10 months in early April following the collapse of a few midsize banks in the US, and has again retaken that level upon the possibilities of a spot Bitcoin ETF on the horizon.
Let’s take a look at what coins have performed well in 2023 and why.
Five Top Performers and Reasons for Success
Below you’ll find a list of five of the top performers of 2023, including how much they’ve gained in the year and the reasons why they’ve remained resilient during a period when so many other assets are losing value. These are not in order of performance.
Bitcoin, the undisputed king of crypto, has had a fantastic 2023. Though it fell down as far as $15k USD during late fall 2022 amidst the collapse of FTX exchange, Bitcoin has shown amazing resilience, surging over 100% on the year. Anyone who bought at the bottom has already doubled their money, while believers who have kept buying in using strategies like dollar cost averaging are also reaping the rewards currently. Trading around $34k with eyes towards $40k, it will be interesting to see how its price action shakes out over the next couple months of 2023.
Now, there are many possible reasons why Bitcoin has been so resilient during what has been a bad year for many traditional markets. Perhaps it is now being viewed as a hedge against inflation more seriously than it was before. The collapse of some mid size banks in the US and rising interest rates are likely helping as well.
But what is maybe the biggest catalyst is the possibility of not one, but multiple, spot Bitcoin ETFs being approved in the US within the next few months. Such an approval is expected to bring in hundreds of billions of dollars to the market, and many are likely looking to get ahead.
Bitcoin forks such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV are also up on the year, with the former being up over 150% and the latter being up 20%.
No top 10 digital asset by market cap has had a better year than Solana, not even Bitcoin. The blockchain network known for its transaction speed and finality has made gains of over 200% on the year, trading around $30 USD after starting 2023 at under $10 USD per SOL.
Solana had already been a great performer in 2022 until the FTX collapse, so it’s perhaps no surprise that it was able to regain so much value. It does have a long way to go to get back to its all-time high of over $250 USD though, whereas Bitcoin only has to 2x again to hit its own.
One of the biggest potential drivers of Solana’s price action this year is their new agreement with Visa, wherein Visa will use the Solana network for stablecoin payments of USD.
Ripple Labs finally won their legal battle with the SEC in summer 2023. This victory proved that XRP was not a security, and thus the SEC had no legal ground to go after Ripple Labs.
XRP had been delisted by many exchanges over the years leading up to this decision because it was labeled as a security. However, with the victory, the asset’s price shot up, moving 47 cents USD to over 80 cents USD within 24 hours of the announcement. Its price has since settled around 55 cents USD.
More recently, the SEC’s appeal has been denied, and they’ve also had to drop their charges against Brad Garlinghouse and Christian Larsen, two of Ripple’s executives. Though XRP hasn’t shot up again with this news, it’s positioned well now, and they have a new agreement with Uphold exchange to bolster cross-border payment infrastructure.
Maybe one of the more surprising inclusions on this list is Tron, which is up almost 70% on the year. It started 2023 trading around 5.5 cents USD and is now almost at 10 cents. For those who are into decentralized finance and stablecoins however, it may be no surprise. The Tron blockchain actually has the second highest total value locked (TVL) of any blockchain network, only behind Ethereum. There’s over $7 billion in value locked into the Tron network.
Apart from being a fast network with low fees, Tron is perhaps the most popular place for stablecoins, especially USDT. While Ethereum has stablecoins worth $65 billion in market cap, Tron has $45 billion, with 91% of that being USDT. This makes the Tron network perhaps the most liquid place to use USDT, and since USDT is the most popular stablecoin, it draws in its proponents. The network is averaging almost 5 million transactions a day according to the Tronscan block explorer, which proves the network is bustling.
Chainlink, the oracle darling of the crypto community, has seen a fairly dramatic price increase in 2023, up about 90% and trading at over $10 USD after starting the year around $5. Much of the gains have come in the last week of October, following an announcement from Vodafone Digital Asset Broker (DAB) of a proof of concept on trade document transfer with Web3 services platform Chainlink Labs, Sumitomo Corporation, and InnoWave.
For their collaboration, the companies used Chainlink’s Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) with DAB to provide security and interoperability across Internet of Things (IoT) devices at the edge of a network. This could provide a single simple interface that allows applications to securely exchange data and tokens across both public and private blockchain networks, along with IoT networks. The concept shows the potential for secure, trustable, and traceable data for use in smart contracts and even blockchain and AI applications.
As we approach 2024 and possible spot Bitcoin ETF approval, there will be a lot of interesting price action for digital assets. It seems a foregone conclusion that Bitcoin will continue to do well if and when that happens, but the other assets on this list should perhaps be on your watchlist if they aren’t already.