Top 10 Projects Launched During Crypto Winter
There’s no more doubt that we’re amid a crypto winter. The May crash of LUNA and its stablecoin UST brought the crypto market into a deep dive, accompanied by a broader global market recession caused by COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine. The BTC decline by 55% from its ATH of $69,000 in December 2021 has shocked many investors and HODLers, urging millions of crypto enthusiasts to reconsider the reasonability of their strategy.
Thus, in light of the impending stock market recession and melting trust in the stock and crypto assets, one might think it’s no use entering the market with new products, like a P2E game or an NFT marketplace. But setting the economic figures and investor panic aside may help take a sober look at what’s happening in the crypto world.
Has it betrayed the users’ hopes? Not at all.
Most solid, reliable projects with the fundamental value behind them continue working, serving thousands of users and delivering upon their promise. Except for LUNA, all modern blockchains function as usual, powering the vibrant DeFi space and fueling its growth. Thus, it’s a favorable moment to build your NFT game or marketplace and enter the market during a downfall in competition.
So, here we examine what a crypto winter is, explore the pros and cons of the current bear market, and clarify why it’s the best time to build your new blockchain project now. Read on to draw inspiration from the top 10 projects that succeeded despite the launch in crypto winter to reap immense profits soon afterward.
What Is Crypto Winter?
Now, let’s proceed to the terminology. What are the signs of a crypto winter you can observe today? Following the objective market indicators, a crypto winter is a period characterized by:
- Prolonged duration in time
- A sustained and general decline in the price of major cryptocurrencies and altcoins
- Falling enthusiasm of investors
- Reducing investment in crypto projects by businesses
The last crypto winter lasted from 2018 to late 2020, after BTC reached its all-time high of $20,000 and the crypto market exceeded $800 billion in capitalization. Soon after that, the storm threw BTC down to $7,700. The triggers of that winter were:
- Absence of consistent regulation
- Industry’s immaturity
- Excessive investment in “empty” projects during the ICO boom
- Concerns about the forthcoming Asian ban on crypto trading
- A large-scale Coincheck hack costing $530 million to investors
Today, we’re witnessing another crypto winter that followed a mega bull run lasting one year until late 2021. Some would think such an event is impossible today, in the epoch of the mature, well-regulated crypto industry, but it really happened. What brought about the cold?
- Tightening monetary policies
- The post-COVID recession
- War in Ukraine
- Inflation rates’ uncontrolled rise to 40-year maximums
Since its peak in December 2021, BTC fell by an astonishing 55%, and the crypto market lost more than $2 trillion. The dApps, NFTs, and P2E games could not keep the market afloat despite the high popularity of these projects and further development of crypto projects.
Amid these gloomy figures, one can still find one positive: modern crypto investors are already experienced in crypto winter survival. The previous bear cycle showed how one-day scams fail and leave the market, reserving more room and investor cash for the growth of strong, resilient projects. Thus, it’s time to set emotions aside and evaluate the crypto winter objectively, finding favorable entry points and business opportunities.
The Risks and Opportunities of Bear Market
The most important about the crypto market is understanding its four-year growth cycles, each of which comes with a crypto winter period to cool the market down. Due to its cyclical development, winter is unavoidable. Still, investors can minimize their risks and survive the tough times by knowing these risks:
- Weak projects quickly fail because of high volatility
- The spread of leveraged lending poses a risk of bankruptcy and liquidation among inexperienced investors
- Market-shaking events can cause even promising projects to go bankrupt
It would also be fair to note that crypto winter is not all about pain and losses. It also comes with unique market opportunities, though you’ll need wisdom, patience, and a cool mind to embrace them:
- Downturns in the crypto market’s cycle weed out weak projects, fostering innovation
- The winter period is better for new project launches, as investors are less thirsty for quick profits
- Each new winter teaches people lessons that they may apply during the next crisis
- Strong projects win from downtrends as they survive and thrive in the cleared crypto space
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Top 10 Projects Kicked Off in Crypto Winter
No matter how hard it may be to see the light through the darkness, the most precious skill of investors is patience. As the previous crypto winter’s experience showed, strategic insight and the ability to wait ultimately pay off. Here is a list of 10 successful crypto projects that launched amid the crypto winter’s disinterest and apathy, yielding multi-billion profits and surviving the difficult market period.
Solana, one of the fastest and most performant blockchains existing to date, was founded at the end of 2017 and launched in 2018 amid the hard crypto winter times. This project weathered all storms by collecting the first $20 million in funding between April 2018 and July 2019 and then launching its mainnet Beta in March 2020, amid the unleashing global pandemic.
At the beginning of its market operation, Solana organized an airdrop of 500 SOL for the user activity. The lucky recipients of SOL airdrops soon witnessed its price rise to $100.
Now, Solana is fairly called the fastest blockchain in the world. Its unique architecture allows for 65,000 TPS, compared to only 15 TPS of Ethereum. It hosts thousands of DeFi, NFT, and Web3 projects, powering the crypto universe with robust technical solutions. Thus, its experience is a great example of stable investor interest in unique projects regardless of the market cycle.
At first glance, you might have thought that the Polkadot blockchain launched in a very unfavorable period. Its ICO was held in October 2017, offering 2.24 million tokens to investors for $0.29. soon afterward, the crypto winter froze all investor interest, leaving the startup without essential support.
Still, Polkadot has managed to overcome the market pressure and achieve a market cap of $50 billion only a couple of months after its launch. It has become famous and achieved widespread adoption because of enabling seamless cross-chain transfers of any data and asset types. Besides, the blockchain’s unique architecture ensures endless scalability without performance compromises.
The official trade of its DOT tokens started in summer 2021, reaching the peak price of $42 in October 2021. DOT is currently traded between $6.5 and $7.
3. NEAR Protocol
NEAR protocol, another Ethereum competitor, also launched in turbulent times. Its development occurred in 2019 and 2020 amid the rising doubts about blockchain vitality. Still, NEAR launched at the end of 2020, stepping into the market at the beginning of a major bull run.
Despite the market problems it experienced, the NEAR project has grown into a widespread dApp platform selected for new crypto project development. Its community-run, sharded architecture and developer- and user-friendly features make NEAR a preferred choice for coders worldwide. Besides, NEAR is committed to carbon neutrality, for which it received the Climate Neutral Product Label in 2021. The NEAR token has been traded at the crypto exchanges since October 2020, starting with $8 and exceeding $20 in January 2022. The current price of NEAR is around $4, but the project is moving forward with many promising innovations and updates.
Vitalik Buterin’s idea of creating a decentralized exchange where the asset price would be determined by an automated market-maker instead of an order book was brought to life by Hayden Adams in 2018. It was a breathtaking story of an unemployed crypto fan coding the first-ever DEX called Uniswap and launching it in November 2018. The project received $100,000 from the Ethereum Foundation and launched in November 2018, right at the threshold of crypto winter.
However, the problematic market period did not prevent Uniswap from accumulating liquidity and steadily raising its trading volumes. The platform quickly gained popularity because of the hype around yield farming and the launch of Uniswap V2 in May 2020.
The UNI token launched for public trading in September 2020, starting with the price of $6.9 and exceeding $42 in May 2021. The token’s launch was accompanied by generous airdrops, with each service user receiving 400 UNI for using the Uniswap service at least once.
Rarible ushered the new era in the crypto market by setting the hype for NFT marketplaces. Its founders, Alexei Falin and Alex Salnikov, built an Ethereum-based platform for a hassle-free exchange of NFTs. It was launched in 2020, amid the COVID pandemic panic and after more than two years of crypto winter, with hopes and optimism for the bright industry future.
Despite the depressive market conditions, Rarible enjoyed positive publicity and attracted $16 million in investment from VCs like CoinFund and Coinbase. Soon after its launch, Rarible increased its active customer base to over 1.6 million users, proving that the NFT niche is the future. The RARI token started trading at the crypto exchanges in July 2020, with the entry price of around $0.6, reaching $45+ in March 2021.
6. 1inch Network
Another popular DEX that launched amid the winter storms is 1inch Network. It was created in 2019 by Russian developers Sergej Kunz and Anton Bukov, both blockchain experts with extensive expertise in arbitrage bot and strategy design.
The unique network unifies three decentralized protocols (Bancor, Kyber, and Uniswap) under one roof to generate liquidity from different DEXs. Despite its emergence in the unfavorable crypto period, 1inch Network quickly attracted attention because of the innovative 1inch Aggregation Protocol.
The price of the 1INCH token upon its launch was over $2 (December 2020), reaching $7.5 in May 2021. The company’s current market cap is around $406 million, with the 1INCH token trading at $0.73 with significant fluctuations.
A great example of slow but sure success is Chainlink. This project was in the making since 2014 but launched only in 2017, with crypto winter following soon afterward. The Chainlink platform was initially designed as an oracle connecting on-chain smart contracts with real-world data. However, it evolved into a complex network of oracle gateways and APIs that ensure proper decentralization of on-chain communication with off-chain data.
Due to unfavorable market conditions, the LINK token was traded for around $0.01 and hardly reached $1 by the middle of 2019. Since then, the price started increasing steadily, as users comprehended the value of oracle decentralization and appreciated the uniqueness of Chainlink services. The price rose to $14+ by the end of 2020 and exceeded $37 in 2021. The company’s current market cap has exceeded $3.2 billion, and the LINK token costs around $7 in the modern bearish market.
Tezos is another case of lengthy, dedicated work on an innovative crypto idea. The idea of Tezos emerged in 2014, with the small development group headed by Arthur Breitman and Kathleen Breitman starting the development process in Switzerland. The project saw the world in 2017, with the ICO reaping over $230 million for the company in just two weeks. However, the internal dispute caused a delay in XTZ allocation and postponed the betanet launch to June 2018. The full-scale Tezos mainnet launch occurred in September 2018.
The project gained momentum because of several unique architectural features. Tezos founders dubbed it a “self-amending crypto-ledger,” and its on-chain governance distinguishes it from the off-chain models of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Besides, the Tezos blockchain is immune to hard forks, adding to the stability and predictability of project development.
The XTZ coin entered the market with a price of $1.9 in July 2018, but the turbulent market times soon sent it to the bottom of $0.35 (around the turn of 2018-2019). In October 2021, the XTZ price reached $8.34, sliding to the current price of around $1.7 after the onset of the current crypto winter.
9. Axie Infinity
Sky Mavis drew inspiration from the fun, cartoonish Pokemon game to create Axie Infinity. The project has become the first world-famous P2E game powered by a blockchain, though it was launched in 2018 amid the crypto winter storm. However, the simple yet educational purpose of Axie Infinity, coupled with generous P2E opportunities, quickly increased the active gamer base and ensured the game’s success.
It initially started as an Ethereum-powered game, with Axies created in compliance with the ERC_721 standard. However, after Ronin’s creation, the game migrated to the Ronin blockchain in April 2021. The game’s AXS token was distributed at the 2020 ICO for $0.1 per token, with the price climbing to $160 by November 2021. The current AXS price is around $17.
Last but not least is the Aave project – the one that started as ETHLend in 2017 and raised over $16 million in funding from its ICO. The platform initially launched as a p2p lending platform but then evolved into a liquidity pool to offer broader opportunities to its users.
The Aave platform now enjoys a market cap of $1.4 billion, with its coin trading at around $100. The AAVE token’s initial price in October 2020 was $53, and it peaked at $632+ in May 2021.
As you can see, the crypto winter is not a reason to stop crypto activities and abandon your blockchain-powered business ideas. Instead, it’s time to reconsider crypto projects’ market trends and real value. The bull run’s euphoria changes for a sober look at what projects can survive by delivering real value to users.
The market is mature and interesting for millions of users, with NFT marketplaces and P2E games heading the list of exciting projects. Thus, it’s an ideal period to prepare for the next crypto spring with promising, innovative projects meeting user needs and matching the broader market trends. All you need is to partner with a reliable blockchain company, build your product while the cost of blockchain assets is at historical minimums, and rock the market with a brand-new idea.
The 2018 winter started after a huge bull run in December 2017, following the ICO boom and entry of tons of new “promising” crypto projects. The industry was still immature, and Bitcoin’s cyclical decline to $7,700 in the summer of 2018 washed away the investors’ certainty, putting the whole crypto market’s existence into question.
This crypto winter shares many similarities with the 2018 winter season, ushered by a 55% decline in the BTC price since its all-time high of $69,000. However, this time, the winter was triggered by several macroeconomic events, like the approaching post-COVID recession and the war in Ukraine. The situation was exacerbated by the dramatic crash of the Luna blockchain and its stablecoin UST in March 2022. Therefore, the crypto market is currently experiencing pressures different from those of the 2018 winter, including the recession and uncertainty about stablecoin pegging and resilience.
Crypto winter is in no way a sign of the market’s crash or failure. Bitcoin price slid over the past half a year because of a series of unfortunate macroeconomic events, causing the rest of the crypto market to dwindle. Thus, optimists would say it’s a unique period for buying worthy, strategically viable projects at a huge discount. Most altcoins fell by 50-90% in price, giving investors unique entry points to reap enormous gains upon BTC’s revival. Besides, the crypto winter gives a sober look at the projects’ viability, helping you pick resilient projects for investment.
The most important step for survival is to keep connected with the investor community. Many crypto crashes, including that of Luna, resulted from numerous fads and panic spreading across the Web like a virus. When investors are worried and uncertain, they abandon the project to save the remnants of their cash. Thus, the business’s goal is to convince investors that they’re doing fine regardless of the market state, delivering value to users and functioning as usual. Once the business is seen as alive and developing, its market price is sure to stay relatively stable.