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Bitcoin (BTC) has had a great 2020, but how are other top crypto assets doing? Let’s take a look at how some of the best cryptocurrencies by market capitalization have fared.


First, Bitcoin has made massive gains since January 1, when its price soared from $ 7,195 to as much as $ 28,422.

Within 12 months, Bitcoin’s price rose 290%, outperforming all major stock indices and most stocks, with the exception of a select few including Tesla (TSLA).

The main catalysts behind Bitcoin’s rally were the increase in institutional demand, favorable financial conditions due to central bank liquidity injections and the fall of the US dollar.

BTC / USD monthly chart (Coinbase). Source:

The combination of the three macro factors fueled Bitcoin’s momentum in October. Ultimately, major institution-focused platforms, including CME and Grayscale, saw a major spike in volume and inflow, accelerating Bitcoin’s rally.


Ether (ETH) performed strongly in 2020, despite its recent stagnant phase against Bitcoin.

Ether price started 2020 at $ 128 on major exchanges and at its peak on December 30, ETH gained $ 748.

The main driver of Ether’s November meeting was the release of Eth2. After reaching a threshold of more than 400,000 ETH in deposits, Eth2.

Eth2 is a major network upgrade for Ethereum as it scales the blockchain exponentially over time. Without Eth2, Ethereum can process less than 20 transactions per second. With Eth2, this figure increases to potentially thousands of transactions per second.

Old school altcoins

In terms of year-to-date performance, most old school altcoins (2017 and earlier), including XRP, Cadano (ADA) and Stellar (XLM), lagged Bitcoin pr.

From the original altcoins, XRP initially performed particularly well in November, when Bitcoin soared to its all-time high.

XRP started the year at $ 0.1923 and rose to $ 0.9210, quadrupling in about 11 months. However, when BTC soared above $ 20,000, altcoins took a hit, dropping XRP to $ 0.52. After the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple, XRP fell further, falling to just $ 0.17.

Smart contract protocols

Polkadot, Chainlink, EOS and Tezos have also rallied since the start of the year. The four smart contract-related cryptocurrencies each saw significant catalysts for short-term rallies as BTC rallied towards $ 20,000.

Bitcoin Weekly Chart vs Chainlink, Polkadot, EOS and Tezos. Source:

Chainlink, for example, benefited from the explosive growth of the decentralized financing space (DeFi). Chainlink is an oracle-focused blockchain network, and the purpose of an oracle is to send data to DeFi protocols.

As such, when the total value trapped in DeFi reached $ 16 billion, Chainlink recovered and so did many other DeFi-linked tokens.

Despite different respective catalysts, Polkadot, EOS, Tezos and Chainlink lagged Bitcoin in terms of gains from the past year. The main reason behind the muted price action was Bitcoin’s rapid rally after $ 20,000, causing altcoins to pull back.

Specialized tokens, such as Wrapped Bitcoin, USDC, and Tether, also saw significant growth in terms of market cap. These tokens are mainly used on DeFi protocols, and the rapid increase in user activity made each token endemic to the DeFi ecosystem.

Tether in particular saw a rapid rise in market capitalization in the fourth quarter of 2020. As Cointelegraph reported, Tether, the most widely used stablecoin in the cryptocurrency market, surpassed a valuation of $ 20 billion.