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#87 Greatest Hits: 7 Coins to Explain Crypto Today
Your weekly dose of crypto context and opportunities
Now that we're all back in the green, at least in spirit, let's shift our focus to the world of tokens. Ultimately, while the promise of disruptive technology for the digital natives, the disenchanted, and the unbanked materializes, our favorite part of crypto is seeing tokens rise and fall (but mainly rise). Their charts are painting the mood of every moment.
Today's newsletter delves into half a dozen plus one joyous tokens that have been performing exceptionally well lately. We've picked them not just for their current behavior but also because their trajectory sheds light on the industry, its history, and the status quo. They tell the stories of regulation, bridges with TradFi, degen trading, infrastructure, and even NFTs.
Join us in this recollection of seven bangers that explain where crypto stands today.
Bitcoin and Ether | Digital gold and silver
The king and queen are back on their throne. Ironically, the two leading cryptocurrencies from the realms of decentralization are making a comeback, thanks to their strengthening ties to TradFi.
Public opinion agrees that a bitcoin spot ETF is on the horizon, likely opening in January, bringing joy to the crypto community. Joining the euphoric ride is Ethereum, as BlackRock, the same TradFi giant filing for a spot bitcoin ETF, now expresses interest in an Ethereum one.
As we mentioned last week, an ETF would have four favorable outcomes: regulatory clarity, liquidity, improved user experience, and kickass marketing to crypto. If this momentum continues, hindsight might describe 2023 as the year crypto recovered from the capital sins of its bad apples. It felt like a neverending struggle, but looking back over the last 365 days, we can be proud that we survived.
Ripple | The victory that took ages
Ripple has doubled in price in the last 365 days. Born in 2012, Ripple was a pioneering project to provide a global payment system for financial institutions. Despite being TradFi's sweetheart for many years, Ripple entered a long and winding judicial road after being sued for the way they sold their token XRP. Ripple's case embodied the conundrum of whether cryptocurrencies are a security or a commodity.
In recent months, Ripple has won a significant legal battle, with a judge ruling that XRPs are not a security as a whole, only under specific conditions during its sale. It's a confusing response to the security/commodity puzzle, but a response nonetheless.
Solana | The born-again chain
Solana, once labeled an Ethereum Killer, faced a near-death experience at the end of 2022 when its most influential ambassador, Sam Bankman-Fried, was unmasked as a fraudster. Despite the hit during the 2023 bear market, Solana emerged as one of the best-performing protocols in recent months. Builders kept building, and the community stayed strong. Some of Solana's notable flaws, like excessive centralization or the occasional outages, have been significantly improved.
Now, Solana is a phoenix chain. Old threats, like the Damocles sword of an FTX liquidation and questions about Solana's economic sustainability, still linger. But the idea of a super-fast, high-performing blockchain powering dApps on a bull run is too compelling to miss.
Chainlink | The link between blockchains
If Ripple was TradFi's sweetheart in the mid-2010s, Chainlink could be its substitute in the 2020s. Chainlink provides crypto projects with oracles, essential for fetching real-world information and transporting it on-chain. Chainlink's token, LINK, incentivizes participants like node operators and data providers.
Lately, Chainlink has launched CCIP, their interoperability protocol meant to connect blockchains seamlessly, allowing the delivery of information and value between otherwise incompatible chains. CCIP is tailor-made for institutions. It might eventually be how blockchains like JPMorgan’s private blockchain Onyx (which allegedly processes $2B daily) connect to permissionless Layer 1s like Ethereum.
Rollbit | Gambling squared
Rollbit stands out by embracing the exciting mashup of gambling and crypto, or as some could call it, gambling squared. The platform is a decentralized one-stop shop for everything thrilling, from classic casino games to adventurous betting and diving into the crypto futures scene. On top of the excitement of online gambling, Rollbit's token, $RLB, gives its owners a share of the revenue. Rollbit regularly uses the fees from trades to buy and burn its token, reducing its supply.
Rollbit was one of the shining stars during the bear market doldrums when everything happening in crypto was somehow linked to gambling. But some of its other virtues emerge once we approach the light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, gambling and crypto are a match made in heaven, but Rollbit also combines a millenary product (gambling), an old-school business model and a clever token design.
ORDI | The first of its kind
ORDI serves as the primary representative among ORC-20 tokens, essentially mirroring the ERC-20 token standard on Ethereum. This innovative token type on the Bitcoin network emerged due to the ordinals revolution.
Ordinals took the spotlight when a clever developer uncovered a method to generate unique assets on the Bitcoin blockchain through a side-effect of the latest protocol upgrade. This breakthrough paved the way for creating the inaugural de-facto NFTs on Bitcoin, sparking a surge in attention, adoption, and investment in digital images on the oldest blockchain. Simultaneously, it spurred ancillary developments like inventing a standard for fungible versions of Ordinals, the ORC-20 tokens.
The revived interest in Bitcoin's enhancements, courtesy of the Ordinals revolution, finds its prime expression in ORDI. As the most recognized ORB-20 token, ORDI recently secured a listing on Binance. ORDI is hardly a few months old, but its trajectory narrates the story of the first tokens on Bitcoin that extend beyond BTC. The 365-day-old chart shows the stellar beginnings and the new awakening.