Crypto holders had a rough ride in 2022.
At the start of the year, the collective market cap of cryptocurrencies worldwide stood at $2.2 trillion. As the year ends, that figures stands at just below $800 billion.
The industry’s euphoric highs of last year descended into a bear market of epic proportions, leaving many of the industry’s major players in collapse. Or worse.
The plunge in crypto prices started with central banks cutting the cord on easy money policies, which dragged down risky assets first, and the problems multiplied from there — accounts were frozen, bankruptcies declared, frauds uncovered.
As Yahoo Finance’s Jared Blikre pointed out, whether in spite of crypto’s epic swoon or because of it, Yahoo Finance’s bitcoin (BTC-USD) quote page took the eighth spot on this year’s top trending ticker page behind major stock indices like the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq, and three megacap stocks: Tesla, Apple, and Amazon.
In 2021, cryptocurrencies powering Layer-1 tokens such as ethereum (ETH-USD), Avalanche (AVAX-USD), Solana (SOL-USD), Polygon (MATIC-USD), and Cosmos (ATOM-USD) stole the show.
This year that battle for outlandish returns whittled down to a competition for least bad losses. And the results are more of a grab bag of cryptocurrencies rather than reflecting a clear theme on the industry’s progress.
Ethereum (-68% YTD)
After outperforming bitcoin by 355% last year, ether (ETH-USD) came in as the 10th-best performing cryptocurrency in 2022, falling just less than 70% this year.
Despite its performance, the second-largest cryptocurrency pulled off the Merge upgrade in mid-September, transitioning to proof-of-stake from proof-of-work, which proved to be one of the industry’s few success stories in 2022.
The technological feat has also freed Ethereum core developers to dive into other initiatives meant to improve the protocol’s transaction scaling, privacy, and use as a financial layer.
Part decentralized banking layer and part tech platform, Ethereum still doesn’t offer the crucial feature of allowing investors to withdraw their staked…