To the surprise of many people, cryptocurrencies have been the top-performing asset class so far in 2023. In fact, the overall crypto market has outperformed stocks, bonds, and commodities.
This represented a massive turnaround from the end of 2022, when many analysts were forecasting that a crypto winter was about to turn into an ice age following the $8 billion implosion of crypto exchange FTX and the failure of several other crypto lenders, brokers, and stablecoins. Many analysts predicted the end of digital coins and tokens, and the sentiment was at an all-time low.
However, things have improved dramatically since the start of the year. Many cryptocurrencies are now close to doubling their price over the past four months. This rally has only gathered steam following the collapse of several traditional banks. Thus, with cryptos continuing to rally, we look at the three most promising cryptocurrencies of the year.
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The price of Ethereum rose 12% and broke above $2,100 in the two days immediately after the successful completion of the network upgrade on Apr. 12. Year-to-date, Ethereum has gained over 75%, and its momentum is likely to continue. That’s because Ethereum’s latest network upgrade makes accessing the cryptocurrency easier, potentially unlocking more than $30 billion of liquidity.
Specifically, the Shapella upgrade allows investors to withdraw their staked assets, setting the foundation for additional upgrades and enhancements. This latest upgrade followed “the Merge” completed last September, which made Ethereum among the most energy-efficient cryptocurrencies to validate. Fans of Ethereum say that these enhancements make this the cryptocurrency to own, and I tend to agree.
Not to be outdone by its smaller rival, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has also been on the run this year, gaining more than 10% since the start of April and breaking above the critical threshold of $30,000. Year-to-date, Bitcoin’s price is up about 85%. This is an incredible achievement, given that BTC was trading below $16,000 as recently as last December, and analysts predicted the most prominent cryptocurrency was headed toward $10,000 or lower.
The rebound in Bitcoin’s price has been due to several factors that have improved sentiment toward digital assets. These include the failure of several traditional banks in the U.S. and Europe, as well as expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve is nearing the end of its interest rate hikes as signs point to cooling inflation and a slowing U.S. economy. With Bitcoin now above the critical level of $30,000, analysts are again predicting that the cryptocurrency could end the year at $50,000 or higher.
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Close behind both Ethereum and Bitcoin in its year-to-date performance has been cryptocurrency Avalanche (AVAX-USD). While lesser-known than Bitcoin and Ethereum, Avalanche has rallied 72% higher since the first trading day of the year in January. Indeed, like the other names on this list, this move appears to have momentum.
Avalanche benefits from the fact that it shares many similarities with Ethereum, including a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake operating model, and the ability to facilitate smart contracts and run decentralized finance (DeFi) transactions.
Avalanche also aims to improve the scalability and security of DeFi transactions, making them easier, safer, more manageable, and accessible to users. This gives Avalanche underlying utility, driving optimism from many crypto bulls who remain enthusiastic about its future. One of the newer cryptocurrencies, Avalanche, has come very far in a relatively short period. Since its debut in 2020, AVAX has gained 350%, making it one of the most promising cryptocurrencies of the year.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Joel Baglole has been a business journalist for 20 years. He spent five years as a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and has also written for The Washington Post and Toronto Star newspapers, as well as financial websites such as The Motley Fool and Investopedia.