This week in coins
This week in coins. Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt.

Crypto markets have been festively surging over the last seven days. In the past week, crypto’s global market capitalization climbed 6.8% to $2.48 trillion, according to CoinGecko.

Although the market’s top dogs Bitcoin and Ethereum both enjoyed seven-day gains, they didn’t lead the pack this week.

Bitcoin’s price crossed the $50,000 threshold on Thursday. The last time it was above that key level was on December 13. Since last Saturday, it has climbed 7% in value, though it slipped back under $50k on Christmas and is trading at $49,998 as of Sunday morning.

Ethereum’s price gains over the week were more modest, climbing only 2.4%. ETH is trading at around $4,056 at the time of writing. 

Merry Altcoin Christmas

Altcoins and DeFi tokens won the week.

Aave (AAVE) and Terra’s LUNA have both surged by 36% as money continues to pour into DeFi.

The Terra network, in particular, has positively exploded in the last quarter. A huge part of Terra’s success is down to the fact that the network is becoming a mainstay in DeFi. As of Wednesday the total value of crypto locked up in Terra-based projects exceeded $20 billion.  

LUNA isn’t the only Terra cryptocurrency doing well, either. On Monday, Terra’s dollar-pegged UST flipped DAI to become the No. 4 stablecoin. With a market cap of about $9.9 billion dollars, UST is now comfortably ahead of DAI’s $9 billion market cap. 

Uniswap (UNI) and Polygon (MATIC) are rising in tandem. Uniswap is up 10% in the past week, while Polygon is up 29%.

Their synchronized rally could be largely thanks to the fact that Uniswap users voted to deploy the exchange’s smart contracts on Polygon, which sent MATIC to an all-time high on Wednesday. The move alleviates much of the fees incurred when users tap into the Ethereum network directly from Uniswap, since Polygon is a Layer 2 scaling solution designed to ease the load from Ethereum.

Polkadot (DOT) rose 15.4% over the week. Its recent growth spurt comes after the launch of five parachains on the network. Parachains are essentially individual sovereign blockchains running on top of a blockchain network that help reduce its transaction bottleneck while mitigating the need to rely on layer 2 scaling solutions. 

Cardano (ADA) and Ripple's XRP also posted double-digit gains this week. The price of Cardano is up 15.6% from last week, while XRP is up 12% higher than it was last week. 

Onto the meme coins. Apart from Aave and LUNA, nothing had a bigger week than Shiba Inu (SHIB), which has seen seven-day gains of around 19.5%. Its price is still a fraction of a cent, trading for $0.00003771. 

Dogecoin had a more modest Christmas climb. It’s currently worth $0.18–up 9.6% from a week before. 

The altcoin sector’s spectacular rallies this week are a strong indication that investors are looking outside the market leaders for projects to throw their weight behind. By this time next year, the top tier of the crypto market might look totally different.