Messari’s first quarter crypto market review: PancakeSwap and Terra are the biggest winners in the DeFi field


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In the first quarter, crypto asset segments such as DeFi, smart contract platforms, and exchanges all achieved excellent returns.

Original title: ” Encrypted assets performed well in the first quarter of 2021, and Binance is outstanding. Will the 30 times myth continue?
Written by: Roberto Talamas and Messari Team
Compilation: Screen

Encryption research organization Messari reviewed the performance of encrypted assets in the first quarter. The overall performance was excellent. Leaders in various sub-sectors generally led the increase by 6-11 times. The CAKE of the BSC ecosystem increased by 30.31 times far exceeding the average level. It is in the centralized trading platform. , Binance’s WRX and BNB occupy the top 2 positions. At the beginning of the second quarter, BNB continued to rise, breaking through a new high today, reaching $638. Can the myth of the first quarter of Binance players continue in the second quarter? let us wait and see.

The following is the original review:

2020 is the most successful year for the crypto asset industry. Although the coronavirus pandemic has triggered a global lockdown, facts have proven that new trends and central bank actions are beneficial to crypto assets and decentralized technologies. By the end of the year, Bitcoin’s new high has laid the foundation for 2021 to become a historic year.

In the first quarter of 2021, crypto assets performed well. According to Messari’s classification method, all sub-sectors have achieved excellent returns. This article will examine the quarterly performance of the overall market and conduct an in-depth analysis of some of the best performing assets in each field.

Top assets by market value

Bitcoin’s optimistic outlook has led to a strong performance of all assets. Among the top ten assets classified by market value, Binance coin (BNB) performed well. The Binance Smart Chain has quickly become the smart contract platform second only to Ethereum in usage, providing miners with a low-cost option. It benefits from the rising transaction fees of Ethereum, which prohibits users from its high fees. The factors that further contributed to the rise of BNB were the surge in trading volume on exchanges and the gains driven by the violent bull market. Among high market capitalization assets, Bitcoin and Litecoin are the laggards, with quarterly cumulative performances of 103% and 58%, respectively.


Among DeFi assets, there are two prominent winners: PancakeSwap and Terra. PancakeSwap is an automated market maker (AMM) on the Binance smart chain. During February and March, as BSC became a good choice, and Ethereum’s fees were severely inflated, a large number of transactions flooded into PancakeSwap. CAKE’s performance this quarter was a return of 3000%, making it the best performing asset in the DeFi field.

LUNA, the native token of the Terra blockchain, has also experienced tremendous growth this quarter under several major catalysts. In January, Galaxy Digital announced an investment of US$25 million in Terraform Labs, the creator of Terra. Subsequently, after the approval of the governance proposal submitted by Jump Trading, the price of LUNA rose sharply in February, and Terra’s UST stablecoin has a higher coinage efficiency.

Terra is also a rapidly developing DeFi ecosystem. The main projects include Mirror Protocol (a protocol that allows users to trade synthetic stocks) and Anchor (money market protocol). These agreements created additional demand for Terra stablecoins, and Jump Trading’s proposal allowed Terra to rapidly increase the minting capacity of its UST to meet this demand. When the Terra stablecoin was issued, LUNA was burned, which had a positive impact on price movements.

Messari's first quarter crypto market review: PancakeSwap and Terra are the biggest winners in the DeFi field

CAKE and LUNA have become the leaders in the DeFi industry because of their catalytic factors this quarter. However, other projects in this field also have amazing returns. Decentralized exchanges such as THORChain, Uniswap and SushiSwap were among the best performing assets this quarter. In contrast, blue-chip DeFi tokens such as Compound and Synthetix are at the bottom, but they still rose by 147% and 168% respectively this quarter.

Smart contract platform

Solana stands out in the field of smart contract platforms. It lifted full inflation in February, enabling SOL holders to delegate their tokens to validators and earn staking rewards for the first time. Within two weeks of the inflation launch, both FTX and Binance have increased their support for SOL pledge rewards.

Another catalytic event for Solana is the rise of its application ecosystem. In late February, with the announcement of Raydium, the first AMM in the Solana ecosystem, the price of Solana has improved greatly. Soon after the announcement, a proposal code-named “Bonsai” was published on the SushiSwap forum, suggesting that Sushiswap be built on the Solana ecosystem. The proposal involves integrating the exchange with Raydium in an attempt to get rid of the high cost burden of Ethereuem, which marks the increasing influence of Solana among developers. Other Solana applications launched in the first quarter include the derivatives trading platform Mango Markets (derivatives) and the decentralized exchange Orca.

Although EOS and Tezos still have 85% and 140% returns, they rank bottom in this group. Although these two protocols have the two largest teams of all encryption technologies, they continue to lag behind the market.

Messari's first quarter crypto market review: PancakeSwap and Terra are the biggest winners in the DeFi field

Centralized exchange

In the first month of the quarter, the returns of all centralized exchanges were very close. However, starting in February, OKEx’s token (OKB) and Bitfinex’s token (LEO) began to lag behind other members in the field. The rest of the platforms performed well in the following period, but by the end of the season, Binance’s Indian exchange WazirX topped the list with a cumulative return of 1,123%.

Although cryptocurrency trading continues to encounter resistance in terms of regulation, the younger generation in India is still excited about crypto technology. This excitement is reflected in WazirX’s token, WRX, which experienced a significant price increase in the last week of March with a 24-hour trading volume of US$350 million, indicating that India’s interest in the field is growing.

Messari's first quarter crypto market review: PancakeSwap and Terra are the biggest winners in the DeFi field

Decentralized exchange

Decentralized exchanges are one of the best performing areas in the market. In addition to PancakeSwap’s sky-high return, compared to other players in the field, DODO’s return rate is also as high as 2403%. In mid-February, DODO, an active market maker (PMM) running on Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain, announced the launch of the V2 public beta. Traders reacted positively to the news, resulting in a return rate of 4000% since the beginning of the quarter. However, due to a hacking attack, the hacker drew $3.8 million worth of tokens from the exchange, which caused the price to rise for a short period of time.

Messari's first quarter crypto market review: PancakeSwap and Terra are the biggest winners in the DeFi field

In addition to the outstanding CAKE and DODO, THORChain (RUNE) and Bancor (BNT) also led the rise of the decentralized exchange track. In mid-February, RUNE revealed in Multicoin Capital that they had a large position on this (and its quarterly return rate reached 300%), which rose by 30% within 24 hours. This news resonated in the entire crypto market and triggered an increase in the demand for tokens, resulting in a total return of RUNE in the first quarter of 21 to 579%.

In October 2020, Bancor announced the release of version 2.1. The upgrade of this version introduced Bancor’s unilateral exposure capability and impermanent loss protection. This upgrade was a great success. Since its launch, Bancor’s transaction volume has increased 60-fold, reaching $2.36 billion. In addition, the total locked value has increased by 15 times, and the value locked in the current agreement exceeds 700 million U.S. dollars. As a result, BNT appreciated by 488% during the quarter.

Messari's first quarter crypto market review: PancakeSwap and Terra are the biggest winners in the DeFi field

Web 3

Web 3 silently witnessed a special season. The themes throughout the past few months have been storage assets, including Arweave, Storj, Filecoin, and Sia.

Messari's first quarter crypto market review: PancakeSwap and Terra are the biggest winners in the DeFi field

Throughout the quarter, people’s awareness of the importance of file storage agreements continued to increase, partly due to the development of NFTs. In this regard, IPFS faces some data storage challenges, while Arweave’s permanent file storage model is silently adopted by Mirror, Mintbase and various NFT projects. The sudden rise of Storj is likely to be due to its listing on Coinbase on March 25, 2021, which roughly coincides with its rapid price appreciation.

In addition, The Graph continues to expand its product range, announcing that it will add indexes to various other blockchains starting from Polkadot, NEAR, Solana and Celo. Although the fully diluted valuation of close to 20 billion may be overestimated, The Graph continues to gain new users. In March alone, the hosting service processed about 19 billion queries.

Finally, Helium’s network continues to expand and now claims that there are more than 26,000 hotspots on the network, which means that the average monthly hotspot revenue is 145 HNT, or 4.82 HNT per day. In addition, Helium proposed various improvements to its network in the last quarter, including a new validator type and another HIP, allowing two other third-party manufacturers to create new hardware hotspots for The People’s Network.

Final thoughts

The first quarter of 2021 is a memorable quarter. With the full continuation of the bull market, asset prices in all industries have reached record highs. Investors and developers are eager to seek opportunities in this field, and their interest in the industry has reached an inflection point. If this trend heralds the way ahead, then 2021 will be the most successful and historic year in the industry.

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