When media outlets report on the massive gains seen by cryptocurrencies in the monumental year of 2017, they often reference Ripple (XRP) as the biggest winner, which gained 36,000% in value from start to end. While Ripple did see the greatest price increase throughout the year among large and well-known coins, there are a number of other coins which far outperformed even Ripple.
On January 1, 2017, an infant Counterparty (XCP) based artwork registry system known as Pepecash was quietly cultivating a community of artists and meme enthusiasts. In mainstream media, Pepe the Frog had been subject to much controversy due to its association with the alt-right movement. In the world of cryptocurrency, meanwhile, the wildly famous frog had caught the attention of much of the community.
After a surge in popularity across Japanese and Venezuelan markets, Pepecash saw a huge explosion beginning in May, eventually achieving a high of just over 1,000 Satoshi, after starting the year at just 20 Satoshi. During the altcoin bear trend that followed in early summer, the meme currency held up better than most, due to its strong holders alongside exciting developments such as a Rare Pepe-based trading card game. Having ended the year with a price of US$0.09 or 650 Satoshi, Pepecash experienced growth of approximately 47,500% in 2017.
While Verge (XVG) was subject to much controversy and criticism in regards to the value of its technology, major exchange hacks, and the nature of its growth, no one can deny the absolutely massive year experienced by the privacy coin. Trading for just two Satoshi at the start of 2017, Verge represented a quiet, unknown Dogecoin fork with a total market cap of just US$250,000.
However, thanks to significant exposure and endorsements from major personalities – including Tweets from eccentric tech magnate and cryptocurrency enthusiast John McCafee, Verge became the center of attention in December, as the coin saw growth on the scale of magnitudes in just days. While critics of the coin suggest this growth resulted from unsubstantial hype, it cannot be denied that investors around the world saw some value in the project previously known as DogecoinDark. Ending 2017 at just under 1,200 Satoshi or about US$0.155, Verge saw growth of about 750,000%.
Even more recent than Verge’s explosion was that of RaiBlocks (now NANO), whose instantaneous and free transactions have caught the attention of the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem. While RaiBlocks (XRB) had been in existence for years, charts of the coin’s value only date back to April of 2017, when the coin was first listed on exchanges. However, XRB was actively traded over-the-counter (OTC) in the Bitcointalk altcoin sections for at least a year prior. In January 2017, RaiBlocks was trading between 20 and 30 Satoshi.
Ending 2017 with a value of over .0012 BTC and a price of almost US$17, Nano saw growth of a mind-blowing 6,500,000% (6.5 million) from a generous January 2017 valuation of 30 Satoshi. While that number is absolutely incredible, it does not necessarily even do the growth of the coin justice. Just one day later, on January 1, 2018, the coin’s price doubled to US$35. Incorporating this value increase into our numbers, the appreciation works out to 13,000,000%. Amazingly enough, as the distribution of Nano followed a Captcha-solving approach, many of the current Nano whales have potentially not spent a penny on their holdings.