It’s been an exceptionally volatile year for equities due to the unprecedented uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, it’ll probably go down as a largely positive year for investors. After losing more than a third of its value during the first quarter, the benchmark S&P 500 is now on track to deliver gains of more than 14% for the year.
But most equities can’t hold a candle to what cryptocurrencies have done in 2020. After beginning the year with an aggregate digital-currency market cap of $191.5 billion, the combined valued of more than 7,900 cryptocurrencies as of Dec. 9 topped $551 billion. This 188% year-to-date gain in total market value has been largely fueled by bitcoin.
Having recently eclipsed a new all-time closing high, the world’s largest digital token by market cap is up approximately 153% on a year-to-date basis. Bitcoin has benefited from multiyear lows in the U.S. dollar (some investors view bitcoin as an intriguing store of value) as well as an aversion to cash during the pandemic. We were already witnessing a shift toward cashless payments prior to COVID-19. The pandemic has merely accelerated this ongoing trend.
Yet, a broader look at the crypto space shows that a number of popular digital currencies ran circles around bitcoin in 2020, based on year-to-date performance.
NEM: Up 535%
Among the largest and most popular digital tokens, NEM’s XEM token has been one of the top performers. Its 535% year-to-date gain more than triples up what bitcoin has delivered for its investors in 2020.
What sets NEM apart from other cryptocurrencies is its Smart Asset System, which allows its blockchain technology to be easily customized to meet a business’ needs. For example, swapping out traditional payment platforms for blockchain will likely be time-consuming, costly, and burdensome. NEM’s architecture helps to resolve this problem by allowing its blockchain to be open and decentralized or permissioned and private, depending on what a business desires.
NEM’s Smart Asset System can also be used as an authentication service with cryptographic signatures. This is a fancy of way of saying that actions can be permissioned ahead of time to empower Internet of Things (IoT) devices to operate at peak efficiency.
NEM has announced numerous partnerships over the past couple of years. But none has garnered more buzz than its partnership with StakeHound, which culminated in the launch of stakedXEM in the decentralized finance ecosystem on Ethereum on Monday, Dec. 7.
Ethereum: Up 321%
Speaking of Ethereum, the Ether token has more than doubled up bitcoin’s gain in 2020. But unlike bitcoin, which is valued for its transactional appeal, the optimism surrounding Ether has everything to do…