Bitcoin’s strong monthly performance translated into massive gains in APT, GALA, T, MANA, and SOL, making them the top-performing altcoin projects in January. Crypto expert Nivesh Rustgi takes a close look at these altcoins that are recording double-digit altitudes.
How did the new year adventure of the crypto market begin?
The rally in the cryptocurrency markets began in early January with a surge in Ethereum (ETH) liquid staking derivative (LSD) tokens, largely due to the shorted altcoins and the upcoming network upgrade in March. Soon, the gains generally showed up as buyers began to catch on. Improved macroeconomic conditions such as falling inflation and a stable employment sector in the US provided additional headwinds for the positive rally. Bitcoin had the most impressive January close since 2013. BTC price is up 40% since its Christmas opening value of $16,530.
Another major catalyst for the January 2023 rally was the ‘short squeeze’ in the crypto market. After the FTX debacle and the lack of bull narratives for the niche, most investors expected growth to slow in 2023. There are unresolved issues like a potential Digital Currency Group (DCG) fallout, geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and recession risks from the Fed’s aggressive quantitative tightening policies. Therefore, most traders did not expect strong price increases so early in the year.
It seems that the negative atmosphere and crowded positions in the futures market continued to move upwards. In this sequence, there is a chance of a strong pullback right after the sharp gains. It remains to be seen whether the pullback levels are attractive enough for buyers to turn it into a medium-to-long-term uptrend. Let’s take a look at the top performing altcoin projects for the month of January.
The top altcoin Aptos (APT)
Launched in October 2022, Aptos is a relatively new blockchain in the space, leveraging the technology of Facebook’s (Meta) project, Libra. The executive team, made up of former Meta engineers who also created the Move programming language, are working to make Blockchain scalable and decentralized. However, while the project carries a lot of reputation, its foundations do not justify the price. Distrust among investors is part of the reason behind the APT price rally. A market cap of $3 billion for a four-month project surprised many viewers. Also, APT/KRW on Upbit has suspected market manipulation leading to a Kimchi premium. It is difficult to pinpoint a specific factor driving demand in South Korea.
APT/USD has climbed above its previous high of around $10 recorded at launch. Technically, the token is currently in price discovery mode. Therefore, there are several sell-side resistance levels alongside the most recent high of $20 and the psychological level of $25. The rally could still have wings as long as positive catalysts in negative funding rate for permanent swaps and Kimchi premium cools down.
The price momentum indicator Relative Strength Index (RSI) has moved into the oversold territory, highlighting the possibility of a pullback. The Moving Average Convergence Deviation (MACD) indicator shows a slight bullish divergence with a less sharp rise in the metric compared to the price. Still, the presence of buying volume is reassuring for APT bulls. Support for the token is $14.75 and $10.40.
One of the winners of the popular metaverse coin Gala (GALA)
Similar to Aptos, GALA has also benefited from extremely negative positions in the futures market. The rise of GALA from $0.02 to $0.07 can be attributed primarily to the deletion of short positions.
The altcoin has experienced significant inflation around 17,123,286 GALA per day, which equates to around $28.2 million per month at current prices. This has raised concerns that the recent price increase may be short-lived. On January 25, Gala’s team unveiled a new roadmap of the project, in which they are trying to update tokenomics to reduce inflation and introduce a new burning mechanism. They are working on a standalone Gala Chain where GALA will be used to pay transaction fees.
On top of that, GALA’s daily release may also decrease after the vote to convert the time-based halving program to a supply-based one to bring the halving closer to July 203. The upgrade announcements have increased the buying pressure in GALA, which is evident in the increase in purchasing volume. The token is trading above its 200-day exponential moving average at $0.052. If buyers form support above this level, the price could move towards the July 2022 breakout levels at $0.164.
Another altcoin that won was Threshold (T)
Threshold was born from the merger of two projects, Keep Network and NuCypher, which combined their technologies to create a decentralized bridge network. Node operators on the Threshold network allocate the platform’s native token T and Ether to authenticate transfers between Bitcoin and Ethereum. While this technology is borrowed from Keep Network, NuCypher adds a layer of privacy to the protocol.
In January, the project’s native token nearly tripled, taking advantage of the V2 launch and Coinbase’s listing announcements. The upgraded version of the Threshold protocol will enable the printing of tBTC (Threshold Bitcoin) on Ethereum powered by Bitcoin and pegged 1:1 to the BTC price. The launch of tBTC issuance on Ethereum via the Threshold Network will likely increase the network’s total locked value, i.e. TVL. It will also make Threshold nodes more valuable. Initially, the project will launch a semi-decentralized version of Optimistic Minting and will gradually move to a decentralized node system.
There is a significant market opportunity for Threshold after RenBTC’s dissolution. Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) currently has a dominant share of 93.6% of the total Bitcoin bridged to Ethereum. Still, the recent 190% increase is starting to show signs of a “buy the rumor, sell the news” kind of event, especially taking into account the Coinbase-led rise. For buyers, support is at $0.027 and the next level of resistance is at $0.145.
Metaverse coin Decentraland (MANA) is also listed
Metaverse-themed projects Decentraland (MANA) and The Sandbox (SAND) have witnessed a resurgence of the VR narrative, with Apple rumored to launch its VR headset collection in the spring of 2023. More recently, the Decentraland team released its manifesto for this year highlighting its focus on growing the developer and creator community. Decentraland is one of the oldest metaverse projects with a huge opportunity to capture the future Web3 market. However, the current rally shows overbought characteristics in the short term.
The RSI indicator is showing data above the bullish resistance. The MACD indicator is showing a divergence with little or no change in the metric to complete the 16.5% gain on Jan. 28.
However, the break above the 200-day moving average and resistance from the FTX dump levels at 0.70 are encouraging for technical buyers. It is not yet clear whether the increase was driven by hunting for short orders or by actual demand. Token support is at the 50-day EMA, currently at $0.54 and 2022 low at $0.27.
Last ranked altcoin Solana (SOL)
Solana SOL took advantage of the overwhelmingly negative sentiment about the future of Blockchain. The price rally was a classic short squeeze situation in the futures market. The market has played better than the sellers, as key indicators point to a death spiral in its price. Taking advantage of the low liquidity conditions, the buyers were able to push prices higher until few sellers remained. Market maker and venture capitalist entity Alameda Research was the primary source of liquidity for Solana’s DeFi projects. He was also one of the biggest supporters of ecosystem projects. So the DeFi community will face significant challenges within Solana due to lack of liquidity.
Solana developers and foundation are working hard to make the network stable and decentralized. However, while the network remained stable during the FTX debacle, it seems to have lost market confidence due to frequent outages. Also, Alameda/FTX owns approximately 10.7% of the total SOL supply. This will likely increase the selling pressure for the next few years. Solana ranks second in the NFT space in terms of cross-chain trading volume. On the other hand, cryptocoin.comAs you follow, top performers like DeGods, y00ts, and finally F Studio have left. It is not yet clear whether the community can be rebuilt. The task will be challenging without the support of its most prolific supporters.
On long time frames, $30 is a crucial resistance and support level for the SOL. If buyers consolidate above this level, the positive momentum in altcoin price will likely extend into the first quarter of 2023. It will likely be followed by a period of accumulation until meaningful work takes shape.
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