Crypto markets had a mixed session early Thursday with bitcoin and ether little changed while some altcoins posted gains of more than 10%.
Leading the advance among top altcoins with a market capitalization of over $1 billion were the tokens of Near (NEAR), a high-speed blockchain that rivals Ethereum, which surged 33% in 24 hours to an all-time high of $13.52.
The move came after decentralized payments network Terra said it would issue its UST stablecoins – pegged 1:1 with the U.S. dollar – on the Near network, as CoinDesk reported on Wednesday.
”NEAR has developed an impressed scaling solution that surpasses most available alternatives,” Jack Tao, CEO of crypto exchange Phemex told CoinDesk on Telegram. “It comes as no surprise that more and more projects will integrate or begin to develop on this ecosystem. With the launch of its Aurora EVM solution, I expect to see even more growth in the years to come.”
Data from CoinGecko showed $1.3 billion worth of NEAR traded on Wednesday. The price jump caused $6 million in liquidations on NEAR futures, a relatively small value that implies the rally was mainly led by spot traders.
Memecoin Shiba Inu (SHIB) was the top performer among other large cap altcoins. Prices of SHIB increased 7% on Thursday morning as whales – or large holders – further increased their exposure.
Terra gives back gains while DeFi tokens rally
LUNA, the native tokens of Terra, had fallen 11% as of Thursday morning to $85 after setting an all-time high of $97 on Wednesday. The volatility caused over $10 million worth of liquidations on LUNA futures in the past 24 hours, data from Coinglass showed.
LUNA’s drop came after a nearly monthlong rally from $42 driven by the broader market’s interest in Ethereum rivals like Terra, Solana, and Avalanche and increasing decentralized finance (DeFi) activity on the Terra network.
Other DeFi-centric tokens were less volatile. DeFi refers to a financial system based on smart contracts on blockchain networks instead of centralized middlemen for services like lending, trading, and borrowing.
Ethereum is the current DeFi market leader, with over $155 billion locked in protocols on its network, DeFi Llama data show. Terra overtook Binance Smart Chain earlier this week to become the second-largest platform, locking over $18.97 billion in value on its network.
In the past 24 hours, prices of Polkadot’s DOT token rose 4% to $27, while Avalanche’s AVAX and Solana’s SOL both lost 2.5%, according to CoinGecko. Tokens of Ethereum-based decentralized exchange Uniswap (UNI) surged nearly 9% after developers said they would launch the platform on Polygon, a scaling solution for Ethereum that has its own blockchain.
Another top gainer was lending protocol Aave, recording a 15% surge in the past 24 hours. Prices soared as Switzerland’s SEBA Bank proposed joining Aave Arc, a permissioned DeFi product aimed at institutions. The regulated bank said in a post that its clients were interested in accessing DeFi services via Aave and becoming active participants in the broader DeFi ecosystem.
Bitcoin lost 0.6% after failing to break a resistance level of $49,000 on Thursday while ether has dropped 1.6% in the past 24 hours. The moves came as trading volumes remained low across major centralized exchanges in advance of the year-end holiday season.
Similar trading conditions were observed on global markets in European hours on Thursday. The Stoxx Europe 600, a European equities index tracking 600 companies, and futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were little changed, Bloomberg reported.