Top 10 Cryptocurrencies by Market Capitalization Price Performance Since 2018

Since 2018, the cryptocurrency market has undergone tremendous growth thanks to growing interest and adoption from the general population. The crypto market value topped $2 trillion for the first time in 2021, indicating the continued growth of the lucrative market despite the 2020 pandemic that brought financial markets to their knees.

Better still, 2021 saw Bitcoin crossed $1 trillion in market cap compared to the $276.63B market cap on January 7, 2018. The “Global Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Market 2021” established that cryptocurrency is gaining momentum across the globe, with established markets, notably Russia and Ukraine setting the trend in crypto adoption.

Universally, more consumers and businesses are becoming open to the concept of blockchain and cryptocurrency, with leading payment platforms including PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard planning on integrating blockchain to their platforms to support cryptocurrency.

Another research established that the growth of the crypto market in Q1 2020 was predominantly driven by growing interest from traders and retail investors rather than institutional investors’ activity, vital in growing the market in Q4 2020.

Despite the significant growth of the cryptocurrency market, not all cryptos have displayed a significant price increase, with some recording significant losses. Here is a look at the top 10 cryptocurrencies (by market cap) gainers and losers since 2018.

Biggest Gainers

1. Bitcoin(BTC)

Price on 1st January 2018: $13 390. 67
Price on 12th April 2021: $60 509. 45
% gain-351.10%

As you could expect, Bitcoin is the most significant crypto gainer in 2021, soaring from a price of $13 390 in January 2018 to now worth over $60, 509 representing a 351.10% increase in value. 2018 seemed to be a troubling year for Bitcoin, marked by high volatility.

Coming into 2018, Bitcoin experienced a drop of value from $17 783.06 in December 2017 to open the year trading at around $13 300. Further into the year, the coin displayed a strong bearish run dropping to as low as $ 3, 400 with the total market cap shrinking from over 87% to 35% thanks to enormous gains from other cryptocurrencies.

2021 looks like an excellent year for Bitcoin. The coin started the year at around $30 000 and rose to an all-time high price of $60 000 and market cap at $1 trillion. The market capitalization has increased from approximately $288 billion to now worth over $1 trillion, representing 54.08% market share.

Reasons of the Spike

While there are various reasons for Bitcoin’s extraordinary price spike, the main reason is a growing interest from institutional investors. Institutional investors facilitate trade in substantially large volumes compared to individual investors providing enormous price movement.

The announcement that is leading electric vehicles manufacturer Tesla (TSLA) had bought $1.5bn in Bitcoin and planned to accept BTC payments later in the year saw the Bitcoin price shot past $50 000. Following Tesla’s announcement, other corporates and large investors, including MasterCard, Twitter, and MicroStrategy, moved to invest in Bitcoin, leading to a further spike in price past $60 000.

Another factor that might have led to Bitcoin’s growth in value in 2021 is the Biden stimulus plan, where the US Senate approved a $1.9trn economic stimulus package. The package enhanced investments in Bitcoin thanks to the availability of capital circulating in the economy. As the year progresses, Bitcoin will likely hit $100 000 by the end of 2021.

2. Ethereum(ETH)

Price on 1st January 2018: $750.26
Price on 12th April 2021: $2, 142.20
% Gain- 185.53

Ethereum gained over 800 percent in the year leading to 2018, starting the year off with $750 on the first day of 2018. The crypto continued with its rally zooming past $1397 on January 14. The coin soon experienced a massive bearish run dropping to under $395 by March 30 and further $101.09 in December 2018, representing a 93% loss in value. In 2019, Ethereum didn’t recover much, starting the year at $137 and ending it at $120.

In 2020, Ethereum displayed significant price movements gaining over 450% and even performing better than Bitcoin. The coin ended the year trading at around $730 compared to $129 at the start of the year. So far, 2021 has been an excellent year for Ethereum, reaching an all-time high of $2 142.20 on April 12, 2021. Experts predict that the coin will end the year past $7K thanks to the Ecosystem’s increased growth, including DeFi and NFT platforms.

Reasons for Price Increase

A notable reason for the significant increase in Ethereum prices is increased usability. The Ethereum ecosystem has become a leading choice for developers to launch decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFT platforms making the platform quite valuable. Another probable reason for the ETH price spike is the ongoing Ethereum 2.0 upgrade, enhancing the network’s security and scalability once completed.

The upgrade will see the network shift from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake, which is more scalable and sustainable. The upgrade will solve some of the Ethereum network’s current issues, such as scalability problems and high gas fees. Ethereum is also likely to be bullish in the coming days with the upcoming EIP 1559 proposal that will see a change in how Ethereum determines the transaction fee, i.e., an auction-style system, as well as facilitate better management of Ethereuem’s supply through burning.

Implementation of the EIP 1559 proposal will eliminate transaction fee discrepancies and introduce uniform transaction fees across all Ethereum-based platforms.

3. Binance Coin(BNB)

Price on 1st January 2018: $8.09
Price on 12th April 2021: $579.39
% Gain- 7, 061.80%

Since 2018, BNB has gained a whopping 7, 061.80% making it among the biggest crypto gainers. Launched in July 2017, the coin started 2018 at $8.63 compared to the $0.11 on its first day trading on July 25, 2017. The coin rose to a high of $24.46 in January before ending the year on a low of $6.24, i.e., an 81% overall drop in the price.

In 2019, Binance opened the year at $5.92, maintaining an almost consistent price run and ending it slightly higher at $13.35. In 2020, BNB displayed substantial growth ending the year at $37.50, up from $13.82 at the start of the year. So far, 2021 has been an excellent year for BNB, gaining over 635% in 2021 alone.

The enormous bullish run started on February 10, doubling its price and hitting $143. On February 21, 2021, BNB doubled its price again, hitting $342. BNB is currently priced at $579.39, and it’s predicted to rise past $1,000 by the end of 2021.

Reason for the Price Increase

BNB’s incredible Bull Run could be due to the increased activity on Binance Exchange and Binance Smart Chain. Following Ethereuem’s gas challenges and other issues such as scalability, most developers are increasingly launching DeFi projects on the Binance Smart Chain. Besides, there has been increased trading activity on Binance Exchange thanks to increased interest in cryptocurrencies.

4. Cardano(ADA)

Price on 1st January 2018: $0.70
Price on 12th April 2021: $1.31
% Gain- 87.14

Cardano (ADA) opened 2018 at $0.70 before rallying in the first week of January to trade at $1.17 on January 5, 2018, representing an 82% price increase. Throughout 2018, the coin generally experienced a downtrend ending the year at $0.047, representing a 93% drop in value. In 2019, the coin was still on a downtrend until April 3, 2019, when the coin rose to $0.1007-representing a 149% price increase.

The coin went on a downtrend again, unable to break past $0.0500 and unable to sustain any significant growth. Cardano performed much better in 2020, ending the year with a high of $0.18 on December 31, 2020. So far in 2021, Cardona has performed exceptionally well, recording a 100% price surge in the first week of February 2021.

The coin reached an all-time high of $1.48 on February 27, 2021, before reversing to $1.02 0n March 12. At the time of writing, the coin is trading at $1.31, representing an 87.14% gain from 2018.

Reasons for Price Increase

Cardano has made significant enhancements to its network-a reason for the price spike. The project currently boasts of over 1,400 stake pools, numerous partnerships with leading institutions and companies, as well as thousands of users. The project is also in the process of launching the Goguen Mainnet that will further enhance its value.

Other improvements on the network include the security improvements and performance updates of its Daedalus Wallet. ADA coin has also been listed on Korbit-the largest crypto exchange in South Korea. The number of ADA wallets has been on the rise, indicating the growing use case of the coin.

5. Polkadot(DOT)

Price on 20th August 2020: $2.88
Price on 12th April 2021: $41.70
% Gain- 1347.92%

Less than a year after its release on August 20, 2020, DOT has already recorded a massive 1347.92% ROI becoming one of the most profitable cryptocurrencies to invest in. Following its launch in 2020, DOT received low public interest trading between $2.50 and $5.00 from May until late December 2020. From December 2020 to February 2021, the coin was on a solid Bull Run reaching a $37 price point.

At the end of February 2021, it again retreated to $26 before buyers getting back in control and pushing the price to $35 by mid-March 2021. On April 3, 2021, the coin reached an all-time high of $46.14 before retracting to $41.70 ON April 12, 2021.

Reason for the Price Increase

The primary reason for DOT’s incredible price run is the expansion of its blockchain ecosystem. Polkadot offers real-life use cases in the crypto space, acting as a bridge between public and private networks. As such, it’s a vital component of the crypto space-the reason it’s experiencing rapid growth in the value of its native coin-DOT.

6. Uniswap(UNI)

Price on 17th September 2020: $3.33
Price on 12th April 2021: $31.49
% Gain- 845.65%

While Uniswap was launched in 2018 as a platform for trading DeFi tokens, it was until September 2020 that UNI was launched as its governance token. UNI launched at $3.33 and rose by 100% in just two days. In the rest of 2020, UNI’s price steadily climbed, ending the year at $4.48. The start of 2021 was highly successful for UNI breaking the $20 resistance level in February.

Between January and February 2021, UNI’s price spiked by over 350%. On March 23, UNI reached an all-time price high of $33.84 before retracting again to $31.49 at writing. The coin is currently on a bullish trend, and it’s likely to gain more in the coming days.

Reasons for the Price Gain

There are several reasons for UNI’s price gain seen in the past year. For a start, the growth in DeFi platforms has seen the total value locked (TVL) in DeFi exchanges continue to rise. The TVL in Uniswap is currently more than $5 billion evidencing the growing value of UNI.

Aside from that, there has been a sharp rise in the trading volume on the exchange leading to increased demand for UNI, thus price growth. Another reason for UNI’s price growth is the excitement surrounding the launch of Uniswap V3.

7. Litecoin(LTC)

Price on 1st January 2018: $232.51
Price on 12th April 2021: $261.92
%Gain- 12.65%

Litecoin hasn’t gained much from 2018 gaining only 12.65%. The coins started 2018 at $232.51, retracting from an all-time high of $320.42 on December 17, 2017. In the first week of 2018, Litecoin gained 38.5% to trade at around $320.

However, the coin soon went on a bearish run, dropping by nearly 63% to trade at $119.54 by the first week of February. The price corrected in March before deeping further, ending the year at a very low of $30.92. Compared to 2018, LTC generally performed poorly in 2019 and 2020, recording a high of $141.12 on June 22, 2019, and a low of $34.85 on March 19, 2020.

The coin finished 2020 at $127.91, with the Bull Run continuing into 2021. In February 2020, LTC reached $240 before retracting to $170 by the start of March. The coin shows excellent price movement, currently trading at $261.92, but it’s pretty unstable.

Reason for the Price Change

Litecoin’s price change in three years hasn’t been quite significant. There seems to be dwindling interest in the coin, with investors preferring other coins, leading to decreased demand. Even so, there haven’t been significant changes on the network, creating low interest from investors.

Nonetheless, the coins seem to be recovering from unprecedented problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s currently showing a slow price recovery. The performance of other cryptos and increased adoption would determine whether the coin will recover in the coming days.

8. Stellar(XLM)

Price on January 1, 2018: $0.35
Price on April 12, 2021: $0.62
%Gain- 77.14

Stellar started 2018 at $0.35 just before rising to an all-time high of $0.89 4 days later. However, the coin didn’t sustain the Bull Run closing the year at a $0.1100-a 68.93% price drop. In 2019, the coin was generally on and off, recording a high of $0.14 on May 19, 2019.

At the start of 2010, XLM hit a low of $0.042, with the price fluctuating in the range of $0.045-$0.19 for the rest of the year. 2021 has so far been a successful year for XLM, with the price steadily growing. In January 2021, the coin went from $0.0125 to $0.3560 in just four days.

In February 2021, there was a sharp price surge to $0.57 on February 13. Since then, XLM’s price has generally been rising, currently trading at $0.62 at writing.

Reason for Price Increase

The Stellar price surge in 2021 came after the release of the 2021 roadmap by the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF). Furthermore, the project announced that its long-awaited integration with USD Coin (USDC) was live and that the blockchain would allow users to send USDC tokens. Another reason for the price spike was the release of Horizon 2.0 on March 2, 2021.

Biggest Loser

1. XRP( XRP)

Price on 1st January 2018: $2.18
Price on 12th April 2021: $1.61
%Loss- 26.15%

XRP lost 26.15% in three years, making it the only losing cryptocurrency in the top ten coins with the largest market cap. In 2018, XRP started the year at $2.18 before reaching an all-time high of $3.37 five days later, representing a 46% price rise in a single week. This did not last long as the coin saw a market correction on January 8, with the price dropping by 27% to trade at $2.46.

That year, XRP further tumbled down to less than a dollar on February 1, 2019. The coin closed the year at $0.36, representing an 84% drop in price from the start of the year. 2020 was not any better for XRP, trading in the range of $0.20 to $0.50 for the major part of the year.

While 2021 has seen the coin make major recoveries breaking past 1 dollar, it’s still trading below its all-time of $3.37 in January 2018. At the time of writing, the coins price was $1.61, down by 26.15% from its price in January 2018.

Reason for Price Drop

There are several reasons why XRP keeps dropping in price. A major reason for the price drop is the separation between Ripple and XRP attributed to legal cases where Ripple is accused by the SEC of controlling XRP. The separation of Ripple and XRP was to help alleviate the centralization concerns.

After the separation, Ripple could have dumped lots of XRP, leading to devaluation. Other reasons for the significant price drop are worsening market sentiments and delisting by key exchanges due to high trading fees.

2. Bitcoin Cash( BCH)

Price on 1st January 2018: $2515.16
Price on 12th April 2021: $680.85
%Loss- 72.96%

Bitcoin Cash has lost out more than 72.96% in value since 2018. On 1st January 2018, the Coin-a hard fork of Bitcoin was worth $2525.16, representing a 760% increase in price from its opening price of $294.60 on August 1, 2017. In the first half of January 2018, the coin continued its gain thanks to the crypto boom, which saw the prices of nearly all cryptocurrencies rise at that time. On January 16, 2018, BCH saw a sharp decline of 26%, dropping to $1 772 and continued to decline for the rest of the year, closing at $125-the lowest ever. In 2019, the coins displayed a slight recovery reaching a high of $487 on 16th June 2019. It ended 2019 at $209.09 and never made any significant recovery in 2020, with a high of $485.20 on 15th February 2020. In 2021, the coin has shown some slight recovery, shooting to $713.84 on 17th February. On 1st March 2021, it dropped to $482.40 before again climbing to $680.85 at the time of writing. To say the least, the coin has been on a downtrend since its January 2018 boom.

Reason for Price Drop

Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork of Bitcoin and came about due to the scalability flaws of Bitcoin. Since its price boom in 2018, the coin is yet to make a significant recovery. At the time of its launch, BCH was believed to be a better version of Bitcoin, considering that it could handle 8 MB of data instead of Bitcoin’s 1 MB; thus, it can handle more transactions. Bitcoin Cash had begun to gain real value before the community disagreed on proceeding with the project. This led to a division, and two coins ensued-Bitcoin SV(BSV) and Bitcoin Cash. The disagreement has an enormous effect on BCH’s value bringing it to a low of $80. Since the split, BCH hasn’t seen much recovery surpass its launch price, let alone its all-time high. The split could be a reason for the coin’s downfall. Other probable reasons for the price fall include insufficient security and poor conditions for the miners, and Bitcoin’s high preference.


From the analysis above, 2018 through to 2021 has been a good year for crypto, with most cryptocurrencies recording a price growth. Except for XRP and USDT (a stablecoin-hasn’t changed), all cryptocurrencies in the top ten market capitalization list displayed phenomenal growth, with some growing as much as 1347%.

Bitcoin live price
price change

As the crypto market continues to grow, fueled by increased adoption and interest from investors, most coins are poised to continue growing in the coming years.

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