These Hot Crypto Tokens Beat Bitcoin Gains in Q2. Here’s What Drove Prices and What’s Next

BRETT, TON and KAS Shine in a lame quarter for the broader crypto market.

TON’s surge stemmed from messaging giant Telegram’s involvement, while KAS benefitted from sentiment around its technology stack.

BTC mining stocks, artificial intelligence (AI) and the gaming sector might stand out in the third quarter.

The second quarter saw three tokens – brett (BRETT), Ton Network’s TON, and Kaspa’s KAS – emerge as shining stars as the crypto market bellwether bitcoin (BTC) wilted, pulling most major digital assets, including ether (ETH), lower.

BRETT, a memecoin native to the Base Chain and inspired by the character of Brett from Boys’ Club comic series, more than doubled to 15 cents, becoming the best-performing digital asset among the top 100 coins by market value, according to data tracked by TradingView and CoinMarketCap.

Toncoin (TON), the native cryptocurrency of The Open Network (TON), a decentralized, layer-1 network popularly known as the TON blockchain, rose 42% to $7.65 and Kaspa blockchain’s KAS surged over 35%. Meanwhile, the total crypto market capitalization fell 13.8% to $2.2 trillion.

Here’s what may have helped these coins stand out from the broader market malaise.

The BRETT surge was not an isolated event but a part of a broader uptrend in meme coins. Analytics platform DYOR’s Dune-based relative strength crypto narrative tracker shows the meme coin sub-sector rose over 45% in three months while others registered losses.

Culture coin mog (MOG) emerged as another top performing asset driven by positive sentiment and a cult-like following on social platforms such as X. MOG market capitalization zoomed from $220 million in early April to over $700 million, briefly putting it among the top hundred tokens by that metric.

Meme coins are the best performing sub-sector of past three months. (DYOR) (DYOR)

The performance is typical of a bullish cycle in which investors rotate profits from bigger coins like bitcoin into smaller tokens like meme coins, fueling a price rise and retail investor FOMO (fear of missing out). In other words, the fate of meme coins is tied to investor risk appetite and credit availability.

BRETT began its meteoric rise in May after Bitcoin began consolidating at record highs near $70,000 and, at one point, saw its market capitalization near the $2 billion mark.

“The $2.0bn mark is the liquidity wall many of the established meme coins hit before profit-taking and sideways volatility ensue. Of course, for every $1bn higher from there, retail investors will take a lot of momentum and risk-taking (a.k.a Apes) to get these meme coins to the levels of DOGE and SHIB. Let’s see what the Degens can make happen later in this Bull Market cycle,” Kenny Hearn, chief investment officer at SwissOne Capital, told CoinDesk in an interview.

Hearn added that SwissOne’s Top 50 smart passive index fund holds six of the largest meme coins in its portfolio following this quarter’s rebalance.

TON’s surge stemmed from its involvement in the cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app Telegram, which boasts 1.56 billion users worldwide and 800 million active users.

“A toncoin (TON)-based economy is starting to take root in the messaging app Telegram,” TON’s Director of Investments Justin Hyun told CoinDesk in April.

Several catalysts boosted TON’s adoption, including Telegram’s decision to pivot to TON payments for advertisements and the Open League reward program. TON’s network activity also got a boost from integrating tether (USDT), the world’s largest dollar-pegged stablecoin, and the debut of Telegram-based game Notcoin’s digital token.

TON’s daily active addresses rose to nearly 600,000 in June, surpassing Ethereum, the world’s largest smart contract blockchain, housing prominent DeFi projects worth several billions of dollars.

“During Q2, the daily active users (DAUs) for TON experienced a significant surge, even surpassing Ethereum. This growth was attributed to the introduction of mini apps, which are decentralized apps embedded into the Telegram messaging app. Notcoin, one of these apps, gained notable traction as users could ‘mine’ Notcoin by simply pressing a button within Telegram,” Katie Talati, head of research at Arca, said in an email to CoinDesk.

“Other significant catalysts include the launch of USDT on TON, with approximately $550 million USDT currently on the network, positioning it for payments, a key feature of WeChat,” Talati added, noting Pantera’s recent “largest investment ever” in TON.

Per Hearns, KAS’s parent proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain, Kaspa’s attempts to solve the blockchain trilemma helped the token grab investor attention.

The blockchain trilemma refers t to the trade-off between three key aspects of blockchain technology: scalability, decentralization, and security.

Kaspa’s GHOSDAG allows transactions to be processed in a more asynchronous, parallel manner, unlike traditional blockchains, which rely on sequential processing. That helps enhance performance and security while retaining the security of the PoW consensus mechanism.

“It appears this team is on a mission to solving the trilemma (scale, speed, security) through its DAG versus blockchain structure (supporting speed and scalability) while using the security benefits of POW (supporting security). What appears to be a strong “hodler” base meaning low free float it would appear the market is very supportive of this leading-edge technology. Again, support over the fundamentals,” Hearn explained.

KAS token also received a bullish boost from listed bitcoin miner Marathon Digital’s announcement that it has started mining KAS to diversify its revenue stream.

The third quarter has historically been the weakest one, with bitcoin chalking out an average gain of just 5% over the past 13 years versus 60% in both the second and fourth quarters.

There is a risk that incumbent U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent poor performance in the presidential debate might prompt Democrats to replace him with a strong candidate against the crypto-friendly rival Donald Trump.

That could keep animal spirits at bay until the Nov. 4 elections. Besides, the Fed and other central banks could heed BIS’ advice to avoid premature easing of the monetary policy.

Still, crypto sub-sectors with strong fundamentals could continue to stand out.

“The long-term game is the key for many projects building quietly in the background and delivering on real use cases,” Hearn added. “We note that ONDO, JASMY, and ENS fall into this category of strong fundamentals, user growth.”

Arca’s Talati said bitcoin mining stocks, artificial intelligence, gaming and DeFi sectors could witness growth.

Edited by Shaurya Malwa.


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