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Numba Go Up… 1.5 Years Later

Early last year, we wrote 20 Charts of “Numba Go Up”, highlighting the insanely positive ROI in January 2021. It turned out to be the beginnings of a major bull run. A couple months into the current bear market, it’s time to revisit those charts and see how they look like today.

We look at prices of the top 100 Ethereum tokens by market cap, split across 20+ categories. Both 1st January 2021 and 1st January 2022 are used as base points for analysis.

Key observations include the following:

  • Emergence of Meme, Fan Engagement & NFT-related tokens
  • The challenge of out-performing ETH
  • Trend breakers

To check out the dashboard used for this article, click here.

Overall Market

First, we look at the overall data. Using 1st Jan 2022 as a base point, we see that only the new IOT category has a positive return. It in fact has only one token, MXC, with a return of 63%.

The Bridge category returned -28%, but it is primarily propped up by TITAN (71%) while SYN (-74%) and REN (-80%) performed as badly as others. CEX (-39%), AMM (-45%) and DEX (-50%) managed to stay above -50%, while all other categories ranged between -60 to -85%

While useful, the chart above doesn’t tell us much that’s new given the current bear market. Using 1st Jan 2021 as the base point, we can compare the returns today vs those shared in the previous article.

The chart here throws up some monstrous numbers. The top 5 categories are led by Meme and DEX categories, which are heavily skewed by SHIB (at 13 million %!). The 3 other categories — Fan Engagement, NFT, Gaming — still brought a return exceeding 1,000%.

Returns so large we had to filter them out and display a logarithmic chart.

Almost all categories are still providing positive returns, two months into the bear market.

4 categories with negative returns are Lending, Oracle, API and the Yearn Family.

Emergence of New Categories

3 of the top 5 categories from above — Meme, Fan Engagement and NFT — didn’t even exist in the top 75 tokens analyzed previously. Their emergence points to these categories being a major part of the bull run.

By far the most impressive is SHIB. From being seen as a Dogecoin copycat to developing its own suite of products such as the ShibaSwap DEX, it has come a long way. Its price chart overshadows every other token, to the point where we need to exclude it to look into others.

While not the extreme returns provided by SHIB, ELON (566%) and PEOPLE (470%) both did amazingly as well, providing a 10x better return than ETH. This in spite both of them seemingly having no use cases.

Fan Engagement tokens share a similar chart with Memes. CEEK also overshadowed other tokens with a return of 10,000%. Unlike the Meme tokens, all 3 of these tokens launched before the 2021 bull run.

Zooming into CHZ (336%) and AUDIO (151%), both also outperformed ETH.

NFTs have unsurprisingly come up as a top category. 4 NFT-related tokens (OMI, GALA, AXS, MANA) massively outperformed others with 1,000+% returns each. Incidentally all 4 also fall into the Gaming token category, which itself outperformed other subsets of the NFT category.

Of those that underperformed ETH and are having negative returns, all of them launched after Jan 2021. Timing, at least for NFT projects, matter.

The challenge of out-performing ETH

A common thread among token investors is whether the token will outperform simply holding ETH. We next look at how different categories match up to this.

For sidechains, MATIC (2,630%) and FTM (1,463%) stand out by far. Benefiting from the EVM L1 narratives, their returns hold up very well, even after falling from their highs at the start of the year. Most tokens in this category overperformed ETH, with only OMG (-25%) and SKL (-35%) falling short.

CEX (Centralized Exchanges) tokens on Ethereum also hold up well. All of the tokens in this category had positive returns. Note, however, that VGX was in this category previously and has since dropped out of the top 100, as they navigate their post-Luna and 3AC issues.

DEX (Decentralized Exchanges) did not do as well as their centralized counterparts. With the exception of SHIB and TITAN (627%), all other tokens underperformed ETH. Half of them had negative returns.

Chart excluding SHIB as an outlier.

Derivatives-related tokens showed a similar pattern. With the exception of FTT (331%), all other tokens are showing poor negative returns. DYDX’s -89% return may have played a part in their shift to creating their own blockchain.

In Lending, MKR (57%) is the exception that beats ETH returns. Others lose out, and CEL facing similar Luna issues as VGX is also doing terribly.

An intriguing category from the previous article is the Yearn Family. From a seemingly unassailable position in DeFi at the start of 2021, the projects have struggled and all of their tokens have since suffered terrible returns.

Trend Breakers

An interesting cohort of tokens are breaking off from the down trend of the market. In fact, with the exception of KNC, all of them are heading into July with positive tail winds. It will be interesting to see how they do over the course of the bear market!

While looking up prices may be a fun and even useful activity, remember to understand the underlying project and other important metrics such as market cap and fully diluted valuations before purchasing any tokens out there. As always, none of this is financial advice!

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