The cryptocurrency industry has come a long way since the advent of Bitcoin in 2009, attracting both individual and institutional investors. Notably, there is a growing appeal for digital assets as an investment instrument.
At the center of the crypto industry’s growth are several smaller niche markets, each offering a unique value proposition. For instance, decentralized finance (DeFi) markets focus on providing financial instruments such as loans without relying on intermediaries like brokerages, exchanges, or banks. The billion-dollar NFT market, on the other hand, is helping creators monetize their works and allows anyone to tokenize real-world items on the blockchain.
The growth of these emerging sectors within the crypto industry has contributed to the overall success of the space. However, blockchain and cryptocurrency are still nascent technologies. As a result, it would be limiting to put a cap on their innovative potential. As the industry continues to evolve, it is expected that more compelling applications of the technology will emerge.
But in the meantime, several projects are already pushing the frontiers of development within the space, setting the tone for future innovations. These projects are currently leading the pack in their respective sectors. That being said, we have handpicked the best project in seven selected crypto niches - Crypto Exchange, NFT, DeFi, Decentralized Exchange (DEX), Marketing, Crypto Media, and Youtube channel.
The selection criteria are based on the prominence of the projects and their impact in their respective sectors relative to their direct competitors.
Best Crypto Exchange: Binance
When Binance burst into the spotlight in 2017, not many thought that it would quickly become a household name in the crypto industry. The exchange is currently the largest and the most popular digital asset exchange today thanks to its progressive policies and competitive nature. Now averaging over $24 billion in trading volume daily, Binance offers one of the most affordable and flexible trading services. It also helps that it is available globally and supports over 300 coins. Notable exchange platforms vying for Binance’s position are Coinbase and Bittrex.
Best NFT Project: CryptoPunks
There are several projects making waves in the NFT market today. At the center of this latest crypto frenzy is CryptoPunks, which market metrics show has the highest collection net worth. It is worth noting that CryptoPunk had existed way before the NFT explosion in 2021. In fact, it was the first NFT collectibles launched on the Ethereum blockchain. There are over 10,000 unique and verifiable characters within the CryptoPunks collection. And while each sold for around $50 to $100 back in 2018, the most expensive Cryptopunks character was purchased for a whopping $7.56 million earlier this year. The entire Cryptopunk market is said to be worth $350 million.
Best DeFi Project: Aave
There is no doubt that the DeFi craze of 2020 helped demystify the role of crypto in the future of finance. It also showed that the concept of open finance is not mere wishful thinking but a realistic financial paradigm compelling enough to power a new generation of solutions designed to promote an inclusive economy. At the forefront of this movement is Aave, a decentralized lending solution. Currently, Aave accounts for $13 billion of the $60 billion worth of digital assets locked on Ethereum’s DeFi ecosystem. This highlights the dominance of the lending sub-niche in the DeFi market and also showcases the growing demand and robustness of the Aave protocol. Notable competitors include Maker and Compound.
Best Decentralized Exchange: Uniswap
Even after facing several adversaries in the last 12 months, Uniswap has been able to hold on to the top spot in the DEX market. This is largely due to the simplicity of the protocol and the high liquidity that it provides to traders. Note that Uniswap has recently reaffirmed its dominance in the DEX ecosystem. Its latest series of upgrades offer more flexibility in terms of fees and significantly reduces the possibility of price slippage. Following the launch, Uniswap V3 quickly emerged as the number 1 DEx with an average of $800 million worth of trading volume recorded daily.
Owing to the ascendancy of Uniswap V3, there are even more reasons for traders and liquidity providers to choose decentralized exchanges over centralized counterparties. However, for Uniswap to hold on to the number 1 spot for the long-term, it must contend with the likes of SushiSwap, PancakeSwap, and 1inch Exchange.
Best Marketing Agency: X10 Agency
It is hard to imagine the crypto industry we have today without acknowledging the work put in by individuals and teams to market the commonly misrepresented crypto ecosystem to investors and users. These entities specialize in building thriving communities and increasing the market visibility of crypto projects such that investors and users are willing to overlook the nascency of crypto. One platform that has excelled in this regard is the top marketing agency for Web3, crypto and NFT projects - X10 Agency. X10 Agency provides services for projects that intend to set up, promote or manage crypto or fintech brands, including a division dedicated to promoting NFT products.
Best Crypto Media/News Platform: Coindesk
There are no mincing words when it comes to the importance of crypto media houses. These platforms are the gateways to the latest crypto neлws and have persistently served as unbiased alternatives to the one-sidedness of traditional media networks, especially when covering crypto-related topics or news. Leading the way in this critical sector is Coindesk. The news platform has remained the go-to website for anyone looking to access prompt, factual, and quality crypto news. Launched in 2013, Coindesk upholds the highest of journalistic standards at all times. However, like most of the platforms mentioned in this guide, Coindesk’s long-standing status as the best crypto media outlet is increasingly being threatened by the emergence of new generation platforms like BTC Peers, Decrypto and Cointelegraph.
Best Crypto YouTube Channel: Coin Bureau
YouTube remains one of the crucial gateways to get mainstream users interested in crypto and blockchain. Coin Bureau spans a wide range of topics with videos that get 200,000 views and more with ease. Whether one is interested in individual projects or the broader developments across the industry, Coin Bureau will get the word out in video format quickly. With over 1.38 million YouTube subscribers, it is one of the most popular crypto-related channels on the platform. They also have a Spanish and Japanese channel to reach a broader non-English native audience.
The crypto industry is highly competitive. Therefore, the platforms highlighted in this guide must continue to evolve to stand a chance of retaining their number 1 spot in their respective sectors. For now, though, we cannot help but applaud their current dominance.