Some of the hottest cryptocurrencies of 2022 simply won’t be on this list. Some of the things on here could tank and some could rise the ranks of cryptocurrency popularity. A brand new coin could take over the world, or the entire blockchain thing could digitally blow up – probably not, but the point is nobody knows what will happen. But based on research from a variety of crypto analysts and general trends, the coins below are likely to be getting a fair bit of attention, and maybe scrutiny, next year.
Please remember that this is not financial advice. Whether you’re using spare change or remortgaging a home to invest, make sure you do your own research beforehand. I’m a crypto columnist and not a financial advisor, after all.
Anyway, let’s get on with it. These coins are presented in order of their popularity at the time of writing. Oh, and bitcoin will be spoken about as much as ever before this year. As far as crypto goes, bitcoin is still steering the ship. If that crashes, it all will, so we’ll just skip the obvious.
Popularity ranking: #2
Ethereum’s coin Ether had a pretty good year in 2021, all things considered: it increased by over 600 per cent at the time of writing and was the second-most popular coin. There’s a lot of prospective hype for ETH going into 2022, not least as it’s looking to drop ETH 2.0 early into the year. In theory, the upgrade will make the blockchain more sustainable, quicker, more secure and cheaper. It’ll also help with something called “Web3” and solve a lot of Ethereum’s current problems, putting it in a better position to potentially overtake bitcoin. Bulls are seeing this as one of the biggest crypto events, as the upgrades are there to expand all the parts of crypto that bitcoin doesn’t take part in, like letting decentralised applications build on the blockchain, supporting NFTs and more.
Popularity ranking: #5
Solana has really done bits this year, increasing by 16,682 per cent at the time of writing. On average, stocks increase by 10 per cent a year, so that’s a pretty huge return. Solana is the third-most popular altcoin, but relatively speaking, hardly anyone knows about it. The market cap is at £41.7 billion, compared to Ethereum at £356 billion. In terms of value, one Ether is £2,990 at the time of writing, while one Solana is £135. For those who follow football, it’s similar to the gap between Liverpool and West Ham (second and fifth, respectively) in the Premier League right now. Massive. The difference is that Solana has a lot of potential to close that gap, as its blockchain is the fastest around, partly thanks to its proof of history system. It’s also far cheaper than Ethereum, which has prompted a lot of applications and NFT creators to favour it. That could continue to be the case, which is why it’s sometimes dubbed the “Ethereum Killer”, but there’s also anxiety around security on Solana when it comes to hackers.
Popularity ranking: #7
2022 is looking like a bit do or die for Cardano. Click on any video that mentions it and you’ll find comments baffled at why ADA is being mentioned at all, whether it’s good or bad. But it’s still one of the most popular coins around and has slowly started creeping back toward its all time high of £2.25 back in September. The question is simply will it rise or will it fall? Stand by.
Popularity ranking: #9
Terra is a blockchain, but the coin itself (LUNA) is at its core, a special kind of “algorithmic” stablecoin, which is quite unique. Terra has boomed this year, soaring 17,469 per cent at the time of writing, but this doesn’t mean it’ll continue to rise. If you’re thinking “Oh, hang on, how can a stablecoin soar?”, then nice one, you know what a stablecoin is! For those who don’t, a stablecoin’s value is derived from external assets, such as physical currency or gold. The way this works is that Terra has created a bunch of tokens that work as stablecoins – there’s one for the Dollar (called UST), another for Euros (EUT) – which are independent from LUNA, the native coin for the blockchain. That means it’s used for network fees and doing anything on the blockchain, but it’s also a reward for people to help keep the stablecoins tracked to their fiat equivalent. Stablecoins are useful because they allow people to think about crypto in terms of dollars, euros, or whatever else you’re using. Nice and accessible.
Popularity ranking: #10
Avalanche is a pretty unique crypto network. There are smart contracts (that are very similar to Ethereum’s, which would let you move a contract from Ethereum over to Avalanche very easily), decentralised finance capabilities and much more. But the main thing Avalanche has going for it is something called “subnets”, which will let people create their own sub-blockchains. Blockchains are confusing as hell on their own, let alone sub-blockchains, so we’ll gloss over the intricacies of that here. But it’s important because these sub-blockchains could be used by businesses, governments and other teams, to create private or public blockchains and consensus mechanisms – plus, these sub-blockchains are super quick. If none of that makes any sense, don’t worry. This is confusing, super new and super innovative tech. As such, Avalanche is going to be spoken about plenty in the next year. The company also invest in projects that use its blockchain and it finds particularly useful. It also recently announced a partnership with Mastercard, which is pretty big.
Popularity ranking: #16
Crypto.com has come out of nowhere in 2021, with a billion-dollar marketing campaign that included the re-naming of sporting stadiums. The Los Angeles’ Staples Center, for instance, was re-named Crypto.com stadium on Christmas day. Momentum is only going to increase in the new year. Given its not-crypto-bro-facing presence, it could offer an accessible entry point for regular people. Will more and more newbies join the Crypto.com train, or will it start flatlining? Who knows.
Popularity ranking: #30
The metaverse is on everyone’s lips at the moment. While it all looks super primitive – PS1 level gaming, at best – the current bigger names are likely to advance first and virtual world Decentraland is one of these. So as crypto and the metaverse gains traction, along with gaming in the metaverse, you can bet Decentraland is going to be spoken about. Other metaverse worlds exist, though, not least The Sandbox (SAND), which is ranked 38th most popular at the time of writing, so not far behind. Expect the two to be pitted against each other, like Xbox and PlayStation.
Popularity ranking: #51
There was a lot of hype around Loopring last year, but most of it was based on speculation around announcements that were yet to be realised, or just rumours. That left some people a little skeptical about whether the coin is worth dipping into at all. Over the last week, though, some of the company’s promises have come into play, such as the release of their “L2 Counterfactual Wallet” and “FIAT on-ramps”, which basically just means there’s a bespoke Loopring wallet now and the transaction fees are fractions of a penny (Ethereum’s can be tens of pounds). This also saw the value increase by 11 per cent within an hour. If the promised features are launched without a hitch and rumours (especially those about GameStop and Loopring linking up) come true, Loopring could have a great year.
Relative to the rest of this list, Loopring is currently pretty under the radar. On its dedicated subreddit r/loopringorg, people can’t make sense of why its big updates don’t get news coverage, for example. That potentially means it has a lot of room to grow. There’s a lot of ifs and buts to it all, though, plus competition from the likes of Polygon (MATIC), which is way more popular and in 14th place on forums, and Ethereum (on which Loopring and Polygon are built) when it launches Ethereum 2.0.
Again, this isn’t a list of what to jump on. This is a list about what’s going to be spoken about in the community. Think about your other online social circles. How much of the stuff they talk about is good? If you’re on Twitter, chances are hardly any of it. So you know, be careful!