Welcome to our December 2023 monthly crypto market recap!

As we near the end of the year, the crypto market has been marked by a series of promising developments and shifts in both macroeconomic and digital asset landscapes.

On the macroeconomic front, there are encouraging signs as inflation appears to be stabilizing, and the Federal Reserve has maintained interest rates without further raises. This stability is complemented by an uptick in retail sales, reflecting increased consumer confidence and demand. These positive trends in traditional financial metrics set a favorable backdrop as we delve into the dynamics of the cryptocurrency space.

Optimism also abounds in the crypto market, particularly as we approach the highly anticipated January deadline for the Bitcoin spot ETF applications. This month has seen a cascade of positive news, including BlackRock’s substantial $10 million seed funding for the ETF, updates to the ETF proposal, and constructive meetings with the SEC. This wave of positive sentiment has not only propelled Bitcoin but has rippled across the altcoin landscape, manifesting in significant green candles across various tokens.

Adding to the excitement, the BONK airdrop on Solana has triggered a frenzy in the memecoin space. Memecoins across different blockchains are experiencing astronomical returns, with Solana itself benefiting by surpassing XRP as the fourth-largest crypto by market cap. The memecoin mania, coupled with Solana’s ascendancy, shapes a vibrant narrative in the crypto narrative for December.

Meanwhile, inscription markets continue to captivate attention despite lingering doubts and criticisms about their sustainability. The inscription hype has extended beyond the initial platforms, drawing in alternative challenger chains like Solana and Avalanche. These inscription markets contribute significantly to transaction counts on these networks and have enticed more traders to engage in this evolving segment.

Join us as we explore the narratives that led to the success of the top-performing tokens in December. Additionally, stay informed with our comprehensive monthly market recaps at Treehouse Insights and our daily market analysis with Treehouse Daily, providing valuable insights and analysis to navigate the dynamic world of cryptocurrencies!

Corgi AI (CORGIAI) ⏶284.78%

CorgiAI started as a memecoin project built on the Cronos chain, affiliated with the Crypto.com exchange. Adding to the token’s utility, CORGIAI, the native cryptocurrency of CorgiAI, also functions as the decentralized currency within the community with ambitious goals, including developing community NFTs and an AI marketplace, further underlining the project’s commitment to innovation and growth.  Strategically, CorgiAI has implemented a token burn mechanism whenever it reaches new milestones, removing about 40 million tokens from circulation, which creates scarcity and potential value appreciation.

In December, the Mememas App Campaign organized by Crypto.com has proven to be a significant driver for the surge in the price of CorgiAI (CORGIAI). Boasting a substantial reward pool exceeding $50,000, this campaign, active from December 19 to 26, serves as a compelling incentive for trading CORGIAI on the Crypto.com platform. With Crypto.com actively endorsing CORGIAI through this campaign, the initiative delivers substantial advantages on two distinct fronts as it not only provides direct financial incentives to traders, but also simultaneously bolsters CORGIAI’s trading volume and visibility as the leading memecoin within the Cronos ecosystem.

ORDI (ORDI) ⏶247.6%

ORDI is a memecoin on the Bitcoin network and functions as the first BRC-20 token to be created using the Ordinals protocol. The Ordinals protocol, developed by software engineer Casey Rodarmor, allows for data like text, images, audio and video to be written directly to each satoshi, or the smallest unit of the Bitcoin network. This novel technology has enabled entirely new applications of non-fungible tokens and tokens to emerge on Bitcoin.

As a representation of the overall inscriptions market, especially BRC-20s, a key catalyst for this price increase is the unprecedented sales volume of Bitcoin Ordinals, which have now exceeded $1.7 billion according to CryptoSlam. The number of Ordinals buyers and sellers has also significantly increased, with over 269,000 buyers and 240,000 sellers engaging in over 1.59 million transactions. Notably, the Bitcoin Ordinals market exhibits a relatively low incidence of wash trading transactions, adding to its credibility and attractiveness.

Furthermore, the enthusiasm surrounding inscriptions has extended beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum to other prominent Layer-1s, with Solana and Avalanche leading the way. On December 17th, the total number of inscriptions on Solana surpassed 1 million, underscoring a burgeoning ecosystem. Avalanche, too, experienced a significant spike in gas fees, reaching as high as 5,000 Gwei, driven by the inscription craze and highlighting substantial market interest. ORDI, serving as a beta for the entire inscriptions market, has similarly benefited from the positive trends fueled by the growing market interest.

Bonk (BONK) ⏶243.78%

BONK is a token built on the Solana blockchain. It started as a meme coin in December 2022 to provide a morale boost with an airdrop after the FTX crash. However, it quickly grew to be a social and utility token across the Solana ecosystem. So far, the bonk ecosystem has released an NFT collection, a trading bot, and a token swap. Moreover, the BONK token is an accepted payment method within multiple Solana projects where you can pay in BONK for minting NFTs, NFT raffles, for casino gambling, and more.

In December, BONK experienced a dramatic price surge after Coinbase and Binance, leading cryptocurrency exchanges, confirmed it would list the token on their exchanges. The Coinbase announcement caused BONK’s price to jump by 45% and contributed to a considerable increase in its market capitalization. Throughout the month, BONK has approached a $1 billion market cap, with an over 300% rise in price over the month​. 

Another significant driver of demand for BONK tokens was the airdrop associated with the Solana Saga phones. Each sealed and unopened phone box contained an airdrop of 30 million BONK tokens. This promotion not only boosted the demand for the phones but also played a role in reviving the sales of Solana Saga phones, which had been previously lackluster. This strategy led to a surge in demand for BONK tokens, further driving up their price.

Bittorrent (BTT) ⏶162.96%

BTT, the native token of the BitTorrent platform that operates on the Tron blockchain, acts as the key component of the file-sharing system that was acquired by the Tron Foundation in 2018. Users of BitTorrent not only earn BTT tokens upon completing each download but also have the option to bid their tokens to gain faster download speeds which utilize this dual functionality of BTT to enhance user engagement and efficiency within the BitTorrent ecosystem.

Identifying the specific narrative behind BTT’s significant price surge this month is challenging, especially since the bulk of this increase occurred on December 6th, with the token value escalating by over 80% in less than 24 hours. This surge transpired in the absence of any notable news regarding major developments within the project. Nevertheless, some speculate that this pump may be attributed to a tweet by Justin Sun, announcing a new milestone for the Tron network as it reached 200 million users. The timing of this announcement coincides with the BTT price surge, suggesting a possible correlation between the two events.

However, there is also speculation among many regarding potential market manipulation by insiders. This suspicion arises particularly because TRX, the native token of the Tron blockchain, did not experience a comparable surge following Justin Sun’s announcements. The disparity in market reactions between BTT and TRX, despite both being closely associated with the Tron ecosystem, fuels these suspicions of market manipulation.

Osmosis (OSMO) ⏶139.97%

Osmosis stands as a proof-of-stake blockchain within the Cosmos ecosystem, purposefully crafted for automated market maker (AMM) applications such as the Osmosis DEX. This blockchain boasts support for customizable weighted pools, multi-asset liquidity pools, and distinctive features like Superfluid Staking, contributing to heightened security and enhanced liquidity provider (LP) rewards. The native token, OSMO, serves multiple roles—it facilitates transaction fee payments, participates in the staking mechanism as either a validator or delegator, and empowers OSMO stakers to engage in on-chain governance, playing a role in protocol upgrades and adjustments. OSMO gained a significant amount of revenue in December.

The recent announcement of OSMO being listed on Bithumb, a leading cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, has acted as a major catalyst for the observed price volatility of the token. This listing introduces OSMO to the influential Korean Won market and also significantly broadens its accessibility to a wider pool of investors and traders. This development brings legitimacy and credibility to Osmosis. Listings on major exchanges like Bithumb typically involve thorough vetting processes, enhancing the perceived value of the token among potential investors. Moreover, such listings historically tend to spark price volatility, driven by a mix of speculative trading and increased interest in the newly listed asset.

Another significant development was the announcement of a merger between the Osmosis chain and the Umee UX Chain, the largest lending protocol in the Cosmos ecosystem. This merger was a major event, as it combined the largest decentralized exchange (DEX) by trading volume on the Cosmos chain with a leading lending protocol, potentially enhancing the functionality and appeal of both platforms through the ability to buy on margin, short various tokens, borrow flashloans, etc.

Near Protocol (NEAR) ⏶121.81%

NEAR is a layer one, sharded, proof-of-stake blockchain built with usability in mind. The NEAR token is used for fees for processing transactions and storing data, running validator nodes on the network via staking NEAR tokens, and finally for governance votes to determine how network resources are allocated.

The number of daily active NEAR Protocol wallets witnessed a staggering 975% increase, rising from 93,000 to over 1 million between December 1st and December 19th. Additionally, total daily transactions on NEAR increased by 170% since December 3rd, indicating a significant uptick in user engagement and network activity​​.

In this month, Gate.io is set to initiate trading for NEAR’s Inscription Rollup Project, NEAT. This introduction marks a significant expansion in the NEAR Protocol’s offerings. NEAT emerges as the first inscription on the NEAR Protocol, notable for its streamlined one-key mint function, decentralized framework, affordability in transaction fees, and intuitive user interface. This move by Gate.io not only diversifies its cryptocurrency portfolio but also enhances the visibility and accessibility of the NEAR token, potentially influencing its market dynamics and user adoption within the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Helium (HNT) ⏶115.15%

Helium is a decentralized blockchain-powered network for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Launched in July 2019, the Helium mainnet allows low-powered wireless devices to communicate with each other and send data across its network of nodes. Network participants purchase Hotspots — a combination of a wireless gateway and a miner — or build their own. Each hotspot provides network coverage over a certain radius and mines Helium’s native token, HNT.

A significant driver for the price surge in December was the introduction of Helium Mobile’s innovative $20/month unlimited cell phone plan, which offers data, text, and calls. This innovative approach, marking Helium Mobile as the world’s first crypto carrier, leverages the Helium Network and a nationwide 5G network, contributing to its rising popularity and investment appeal. 

Another pivotal move for HNT was incentivizing users with NFT rewards for sharing connection data. This strategy not only engaged users but also functioned as an effective data collection method, enhancing network efficiency. The NFTs, representing a 20% share in $MOBILE rewards, created a unique asset for users, integrating blockchain benefits into everyday telecom services. These NFTs double as tools for network optimization and cost reduction. By identifying high-traffic areas, Helium can strategically expand its network, improving service quality. Moreover, this reduces reliance on external networks, leading to significant operational cost savings.

Stacks (STX) ⏶114.16%

Stacks (STX), a regular winner of this list this year, is the native token of the Stacks Network that serves as a Layer-2 on the Bitcoin blockchain, allowing for the creation of decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts. Stacks aims to enhance Bitcoin’s functionality and adoption by providing modular dApps and smart contracts without altering Bitcoin’s features. The platform uses a unique consensus mechanism known as Proof of Transfer (PoX), which binds Stacks to Bitcoin for settlement and offers a secure and predictable smart contract language called Clarity.

Consistent with narratives from previous months, Stacks continued to deliver outstanding performances in December, largely propelled by the positive sentiments surrounding Bitcoin. This enthusiasm has been particularly pronounced as we approach the January deadline for the ETFs. Throughout the month, there were numerous instances where the market displayed optimism, anticipating a potential final approval of the Bitcoin ETF in January.

At the start of the month, BlackRock made an announcement revealing that it had secured $100K in funding for its BTC Spot ETF, even before the SEC finalized its verdict. Remarkably, this amount has significantly increased to $10M by the month’s end, and BlackRock is set to initiate the seeding of its ETF on January 3rd. Subsequently, additional waves of positive sentiment emerged as BlackRock’s ETF proposal provided more comprehensive insights into its operational mechanisms, including details about its ticker and contribution/redemption methods. Notably, BlackRock, alongside other ETF applicants, held two meetings with regulatory bodies, marking a positive trajectory toward the anticipated final approval.

STX, recognized as one of the leading layer-2 solutions for Bitcoin, has consistently exhibited a historical performance akin to a leveraged BTC beta. Its value is inherently linked to the performance of Bitcoin, providing a compelling explanation for the notable surge in the token’s value witnessed in December.

Injective (INJ) ⏶103.43%

Injective is a specialized blockchain tailored for financial services, notable for its interoperability and eco-friendliness using the Cosmos SDK. A key feature of Injective is its facilitation for anyone to develop financial applications, providing essential financial infrastructure like a decentralized, MEV-resistant on-chain order book. It supports various financial market types entirely on-chain, including spot, perpetual, futures, and options markets.

In December, Injective experienced a notable surge, bolstered by a series of significant partnerships. The momentum began with the announcement of Injective’s official integration with Ledger on December 6th, enhancing security for this DeFi-centric Layer 1 network. This was followed by a partnership with Kujira, announced on December 12th, enabling access to KUJI tokens on various Injective (INJ) decentralized applications (dApps). Later in the month, Injective further expanded its reach by partnering with DEX Screener, a preferred tool for on-chain traders to explore various liquidity pools. This series of strategic partnerships has not only broadened Injective’s ecosystem but also fueled a new wave of price optimism among investors and market participants.

Injective’s remarkable momentum over the past few months caught the attention of Binance Labs as it was featured in their latest article. This article delved into the prospects of institutional adoption in the cryptocurrency market, particularly in anticipation of a significant influx of institutional capital from Bitcoin spot ETFs. This coverage by Binance Labs further amplified Injective’s bullish momentum during the month, highlighting its potential and impact in the broader context of institutional engagement in the cryptocurrency market.

Celestia (TIA) ⏶95.89%

With its mainnet launched in late October, Celestia is a blockchain network that employs a modular architecture to tackle the scalability challenges inherent in traditional blockchain systems. This innovative approach distinguishes Celestia by decoupling the execution of transactions from consensus mechanisms and integrating Data Availability Sampling (DAS) as a key feature. TIA, as the native token to the Celestia network, is not only used to pay for gas fees for their rollups but also to pay for the blobspaces while securing the network via its staking mechanism.

The ongoing excitement surrounding Celestia’s mainnet launch and its listings on top-tier centralized exchanges like Binance and OKX significantly contributed to its buzz this month. However, a major development that stood out was the announcement of its integration with the Polygon CDK (Chain Development Kit). This partnership is set to facilitate the easy launch of high-throughput, zero-knowledge-powered Layer 2 (L2) chains, thereby lowering entry barriers for developers. Following this announcement, TIA’s value surged to a record high, riding the wave of positive market sentiment fueled by the anticipation of Bitcoin spot ETFs. This series of events underscores Celestia’s growing influence and potential in the evolving cryptocurrency landscape.

Closing Remarks 

As 2023 concludes, the cryptocurrency community is abuzz with optimism. The potential approval of BTC and ETH ETFs holds promise for revitalizing the industry. Analysts from multiple prominent crypto institutions anticipate increased involvement from institutional investors in 2024. Market consensus indicates expectations of the Federal Reserve cutting rates in March 2024, a move that could significantly bolster the crypto markets.

The upcoming Ethereum network upgrade, known as the Dencun upgrade, is also on the horizon, and developers have set January 17th as the commencement date for testing on the Goerli Testnet. This upgrade represents a pivotal advancement in the blockchain’s journey toward becoming a scalable settlement layer by enhancing data availability for layer-2 rollups through proto-danksharding, ultimately lowering transaction costs for rollups and delivering tangible benefits to end users. For a more in-depth understanding of EIP 4844, a crucial component of the Dencun upgrade, we invite you to explore our insights article for comprehensive information.

As we move into the New Year, the January calendar is also marked with thrilling gatherings: Quantum Miami 2024, a key conference exploring the intersection of quantum computing and blockchain technology, World Crypto Forum 2024 – a significant gathering of industry leaders and innovators, focusing on the latest trends, regulatory updates, and future prospects in the cryptocurrency and blockchain domains, among others. These events promise to be a hotbed of innovative ideas and breakthroughs, igniting fresh perspectives and showcasing the latest advancements in the crypto and blockchain domains. We look forward to the myriad of opportunities and revolutionary insights these conferences are set to unveil. 

With eyes on 2024, our unwavering commitment to delving into the ever-changing world of crypto remains unchanged. We remain steadfast in providing in-depth analysis and navigating these dynamic landscapes. Stay tuned for our ongoing exploration of the crypto world through the Treehouse Daily Newsletter and Treehouse Insights Research!

Disclaimer

This publication is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. Nothing contained in this publication constitutes financial advice, trading advice, or any other advice, nor does it constitute an offer to buy or sell securities or any other assets or participate in any particular trading strategy. This publication does not take into account your personal investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. Treehouse does not warrant that the information provided in this publication is up-to-date or accurate.


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