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Cryptocurrency Performance in 2022: The Top Five Winners and Losers

In 2022, the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization saw significant fluctuation in their values.

Logos of popular cryptocurrencies
Logos of popular cryptocurrencies

This article will highlight the five best-performing and worst-performing cryptocurrencies of the year, excluding stablecoins and those that track mainstream assets like gold. These coins include decentralized currencies, smart contract tokens, exchange tokens, and others.

Best-Performing Cryptocurrencies of 2022

GMX Logo
GMX Logo
  • GMX (GMX)
  • YTD return: 111%
  • Sector: Decentralized exchange
  • Market Cap: $379.4 million

GMX is a utility and governance token within the GMX decentralized exchange (DEX) ecosystem and was the top-performing digital asset among the top 100 coins in 2022. Its price trend was largely influenced by the collapse of FTX, a centralized exchange, and its listing on popular trading platforms such as Binance and Huobi Global. In addition, the token saw a significant rally in late November after the GMX platform briefly overtook its top DEX competitor, Uniswap, in daily trading fees.

Trust Wallet Logo
Trust Wallet Logo
  • Trust Wallet Token (TWT)
  • YTD return: 92%
  • Sector: Payment platform
  • Market Cap: $570 million

Trust Wallet Token (TWT) serves as a utility and governance token within the Trust Wallet ecosystem. Like GMX, TWT saw a decline in value in tandem with the rest of the cryptocurrency market in 2022. Still, it experienced a surge in upward momentum in November following the collapse of the FTX exchange. This event may have prompted investors to move their funds to self-custody wallets like Trust Wallet, which could have played a role in boosting TWT's valuation.

Unus Sed Leo Logo
Unus Sed Leo Logo
  • Unus Sed Leo (LEO)
  • YTD return: -3.5%
  • Sector: Centralized exchange
  • Market Cap: $3.44 billion

Unus Sed Leo (LEO) is the native token of the iFinex ecosystem. Although it did see losses in 2022, at -3.5%, they were relatively small compared to most top coins, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, which lost over 65% in the same period. One reason for LEO's outperformance could be iFinex's pledge to use 27% of its revenue to buy back LEO tokens until the entire supply of 985.24 million units is removed from circulation. iFinex also stated that it would use funds lost in the August 2016 Bitfinex hack to purchase LEO tokens. This may have contributed to LEO's more than 100% rally at the start of the year, following the recovery of 94,000 BTC by the US Department of Justice from Bitfinex hackers. While the token has dropped 55% since reaching a YTD high of $8.15 in February, it remains one of the best performers in 2022.

Worst-Performing Cryptocurrencies of 2022

The Open Network (TON)
  • The Open Network (TON)
  • YTD return: -33.5%
  • Sector: Smart contracts
  • Market Cap: $4.04 billion

The Open Network (TON) is a smart contract platform developed by Telegram. In 2022, it saw a decline of -33.5% in value. TON was highly anticipated before its launch, with its initial coin offering (ICO) raising a record-breaking $1.7 billion in 2018. However, the project faced several legal challenges and was ultimately shut down by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in May 2020. The demise of TON likely contributed to its negative performance in 2022.

Chainlink Logo
Chainlink Logo
  • Chainlink (LINK)
  • YTD return: -52%
  • Sector: Decentralized finance (DeFi)
  • Market Cap: $8.68 billion

Chainlink (LINK) is a decentralized oracle network that allows smart contracts on blockchain platforms to access off-chain data. In 2022, it saw a decline of -52% in value. While LINK was one of the top-performing cryptocurrencies in 2020, it faced a significant correction in the following year. This correction may have been caused by the decline in the DeFi sector and the selling pressure from early investors who had profited from LINK's previous rally.

Polkadot Logo
Polkadot Logo
  • Polkadot (DOT)
  • YTD return: -60%
  • Sector: Smart contracts
  • Market Cap: $6.27 billion

Polkadot (DOT) is a blockchain protocol that enables the creation of multiple specialized blockchains, known as "parachains," that can interact with each other. In 2022, it saw a decline of -60% in value. Like other smart contract platforms, DOT faced a correction following the DeFi hype of 2020. In addition, the launch of several high-profile competitors, such as Binance Smart Chain and Polygon, may have also contributed to DOT's negative performance.

BitcoinCash Logo
BitcoinCash Logo
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • YTD return: -62%
  • Sector: Decentralized currency
  • Market Cap: $5.09 billion

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is a decentralized cryptocurrency that was created as a hard fork of the Bitcoin network in 2017. In 2022, it saw a decline of -62% in value. BCH has struggled to maintain its value and relevance in the face of increasing competition from other cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin and Ethereum. In addition, BCH has faced controversy and internal conflict within its community, which may have also contributed to its negative performance.

Ripple Logo
Ripple Logo
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • YTD return: -66%
  • Sector: Centralized currency
  • Market Cap: $13.3 billion

Ripple (XRP) is a centralized cryptocurrency that financial institutions use to facilitate cross-border payments. In 2022, it saw a decline of -66% in value. XRP faced several challenges in the year, including a lawsuit by the US SEC alleging that Ripple had violated federal securities laws by selling XRP as an unregistered security. This lawsuit and the overall decline in the cryptocurrency market likely contributed to XRP's negative performance.