The five best crypto performers of 2021 revealed

While volatility remains an issue, the top tokens delivered some truly outsized gains.

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Whether you’re a crypto fan or crypto sceptic, there’s no denying the numbers.

2021 was a banner year for the world’s top digital currencies.

While there was plenty of volatility along the way, steely nerved investors who bought into the top 5 tokens on 1 January 2021 and held on through 31 December will be sitting on some seriously outsized gains.

Below we take a look at those 5 top performers.

To weed out potential price spikes from tiny altcoins, these leading 5 were all taken from the list of top 100 tokens by market cap, and sourced from data by CoinMarketCap.

With that said…

2021’s fourth and fifth best performing digital tokens

Coming in at number 5, with a 2021 price gain of 10,121% is Terra (CRYPTO: LUNA).

Terra ended the calendar year trading at US$85.54. That gave the token a market valuation of US$24.98 billion, the 10th biggest crypto in virtual circulation and the biggest to make it onto our top performers list.

So, what does Terra do?

According to CoinMarketCap, “Terra is a blockchain protocol that uses fiat-pegged stablecoins to power price-stable global payments systems.” Launched in April 2019, Terra says it offers fast and affordable settlements.

Moving on to the number four best performing crypto, we have Polygon (CRYPTO: MATIC), which posted an 11,816% gain in 2021.

Polygon was trading for US$2.56 on 31 December. That gave it a market cap of US$15.03 billion and made it the number 14 token by market cap.

Polygon, CoinMarketCap tells us, is “a platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development”, capable of building numerous different kinds of applications

2021’s second and third best performing altcoins

The third best crypto performer of the year just gone by is The Sandbox (CRYPTO: SAND).

Sand gained 13,458% during the calendar year, trading for US$5.02 on 31 December. That gave the token a market valuation of US$4.59 billion and brought it up to number 39 in the global list of cryptocurrencies.

The Sandbox is relatively old, by crypto standards, having launched back in 2011. Using blockchain technology, the token provides a virtual world than enables users to “create, build, buy and sell digital assets in the form of a game”.

While you’re unlikely to hear investors in The Sandbox complaining, fellow gaming related crypto, Axie Infinity (CRYPTO: AXS), stole the second best performing spot with a 2021 gain of 16,573%.

On 31 December Axie Infinity was worth US$98.81, giving it a market cap of US$6.02 billion. That moved it up on the list to become the 27th biggest token by market valuation.

Also blockchain based, Axie Infinity is a “trading and battling game that is partially owned and operated by its players… [allowing] players to collect, breed, raise, battle and trade token-based creatures known as Axies.”

Which brings us to…

The best performing crypto of 2021

While most everyone would welcome the returns from the 4 top performing altcoins listed above, none compare to the whopping 46,704% gain posted by 2021’s number 1 crypto gainer, Gala (CRYPTO: GALA).

Gala finished the year trading at 48.1 US cents. That gave it a market valuation of US$3.36 billion, making it the number 46 crypto in virtual circulation as at 31 December.

Like The Sandbox and Axie Infinity, Gala is also rooted in the gaming world. According to CoinMarketCap, “Players can own non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and influence the governance of games within the Gala Games ecosystem.”

Since launching in 2019, Gala Games now has 1.3 million monthly active users. The platform has sold 26,000 NFTs to date, with one selling for US$3 million.

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The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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