Within the final two months, the variety of cryptocurrencies with a $1 billion market cap has doubled for the reason that final time Cointelegraph reported on the milestone. As issues at present stand, there are 100 initiatives which have reached a $1 billion market capitalization.

Unicorns are sometimes privately held startup firms valued at greater than $1 billion, however conventional finance is more and more making use of the time period to high-value cryptocurrencies that establishments are solely now gaining publicity to.

The doorway of institutional buyers into the cryptocurrency sector over the course of 2021 has been one of many driving forces of progress for the ecosystem as an entire as multi-billion greenback firms like Tesla, Sq. and MicroStrategy have transformed a portion of their money reserves into Bitcoin (BTC) and different prime altcoins.

Decentralized finance (DeFi), nonfungible tokens (NFT) and oracles have been a number of the hottest progress sectors of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, serving to propel a number of initiatives to Unicorn degree standing, whereas stablecoin-related protocols have additionally vaulted in worth as they assist present a stable basis for the trade to develop from.

On that thread, right here’s an replace on a number of the prime crypto unicorn initiatives, in addition to an introduction to a number of the latest arrivals to the billion greenback membership.

Nonfungible tokens steal the highlight

Nonfungible tokens took the world by storm over the previous two months as celebrities, influencers, quick meals eating places and established public sale homes jumped on the bandwagon to participate within the creation, sale and distribution of one-of-a-kind digital property.

Enjin Coin (ENJ) has been one of many largest beneficiaries of the rise of NFTs which helped rocket the price of ENJ to an all-time high of $3.08 on March 15 and firmly elevated the mission to Unicorn standing with a $2.6 billion market cap.

ENJ/USDT 4-hour chart. Supply: TradingView

The upcoming launch of JumpNet on April 6, will allow the zero-fee creation and distribution of ERC-1155 tokens within the Enjin ecosystem and group pleasure over this launch seems to be maintaining buyers bullish on ENJ.

Different notable NFT-related arrivals to the Unicorn membership embrace the digital actuality platform Decentraland (MANA), which permits the acquisition of digital plots of land that may be developed and monetized, and Move (FLOW), a developer-friendly blockchain designed to be the muse for “the following technology of video games, apps, and the digital property that energy them.”

The DeFi ecosystem expands

The influence that decentralized finance has had on the cryptocurrency ecosystem is plain as a lot of the expansion within the sector over the previous two years might be attributed to DEXs like Uniswap and yield-farming platforms like Yearn.finance (YFI).

Excessive transaction prices and community congestion on the Ethereum community triggered an exodus of customers and liquidity to cross-chain suitable platforms and likewise helped to lift a number of DeFi protocols constructed on the Binance Sensible Chain (BSC) above the billion-dollar mark.

PancakeSwap (CAKE) has been one of many shining stars of BSC, quickly climbing up the charts through the months of February and March to hit a market cap of $2.55 billion.

Complete worth locked on PancakeSwap. Supply: Defi Llama

Information from Defi Llama exhibits that CAKE is now ranked because the fifth-largest DeFi platform by complete worth locked with $6.18 billion at present locked within the protocol.

One protocol that operates on the Binance Chain and the Ethereum community is THORChain (RUNE), whose 700% value progress since January 1 has lifted the mission’s complete market cap to $1.95 billion.

Current optimism for the mission has been centered across the launch of THORChain Multichain, which committed to genesis on April 2 and is predicted to launch between the 13th and 16th of April.

Cross-chain bridges and interoperability protocols soar

Platforms that supply a decrease charge atmosphere to that of Ethereum, together with layer 2 options and separate blockchain networks, have acquired additional consideration over the previous two months on account of record-breaking gasoline prices.

Because the token that powers transactions on the BSC, Binance Coin (BNB) has seen its value surge sufficient to vault the token into the highest Three by market capitalization, which now fluctuates round $53.55 billion.

Polygon (MATIC) has additionally risen in stature to develop into one of many chosen layer 2 protocols for the Ethereum community following its pivot to develop into the “Polkadot on Ethereum” and assist stem the tide of initiatives and liquidity leaving the community.

With many well-liked unicorn-level initiatives already operational on the Polygon protocol, together with Aave (AAVE) and SushiSwap (SUSHI), MATIC seems well-positioned to proceed its gallop increased as a rising unicorn star.

Stablecoins and storage platforms develop in power

Stablecoins and their related protocols acquired a lift early in 2021 when the U.S. Treasury’s Workplace of the Comptroller of the Foreign money gave the green light for nationwide banks to run unbiased nodes for distributed ledger networks.

Prime stablecoin market capitalizations. Supply: CoinGecko

After Bitfinex and Tether settled their landmark case with the Workplace of the New York Lawyer Normal, enthusiasm for stablecoin initiatives additional elevated because the market caps for Tether and USD Coin (USDC) elevated by billions of {dollars}.

One protocol with a stablecoin element that has made nice strides in serving to set up a steady retailer of wealth in international locations experiencing hyperinflation like Venezuela is Reserve, whose Reserve Rights (RSR) token has elevated by greater than 400% in 2021.

One other new entrant to the stablecoin discipline is TerraUSD (UST), whose market cap skyrocketed from $182 million on Jan. 1 to $1.66 billion on April 2 as its native Terra (LUNA) blockchain protocol, which specializes within the creation of fiat-pegged stablecoins to energy price-stable international funds methods, has seen its value rally 3,000% for the reason that starting of the yr.

Actual-world use instances and partnerships drive altcoins increased

A number of initiatives with particular use-cases and first-mover benefit have joined the unicorn herd by providing distinctive options to issues confronted in each the cryptocurrency and conventional sectors.

Theta (THETA) has been a stand-out performer for the blockchain trade in 2021 because the streaming video-focused platform has seen its token worth swell greater than 900% since early January after a number of high-profile bulletins led to record-high buying and selling volumes for the token.

The blockchain-based internet browser and digital promoting platform Fundamental Consideration Token (BAT) managed to realize a unicorn-level valuation because of its personal NFT and DeFi associated bulletins, with the mission unveiling plans to launch a DEX aggregator and NFT wallet in its subsequent browser.

Helium (HNT), a decentralized blockchain-powered community for the Web of Issues (IoT) units by way of a community of nodes (hotspots), has additionally lately joined the unicorn membership.

Helium hotspot protection map. Supply: Helium

Operating a hotspot on the Helium community provides the consumer a low-cost alternative to take part in mining to assist preserve community safety at a fraction of what it prices to mine Bitcoin and Ethereum.

That is helped create a world community of greater than 25,000 hotspots and a complete market cap of $1.12 billion for the HNT.

HNT/USDT 4-hour chart. Supply: TradingView

Now that institutional buyers are slowly gaining publicity to the cryptocurrency asset class, the variety of unicorn-level initiatives is prone to proceed to extend as conventional finance embraces the rise of DeFi and digital property.

The views and opinions expressed listed below are solely these of the creator and don’t essentially replicate the views of Cointelegraph.com. Each funding and buying and selling transfer entails threat, you need to conduct your personal analysis when making a call.