What happened 

Cryptocurrencies have traded higher for the most part on Tuesday as interest in the crypto community surges. Ironically, growth stocks are down and the Nasdaq Composite has shed 1.6% of its value in trading as of 3 p.m. ET.

Some of the biggest movers today are cryptocurrencies known as altcoins, or alternatives to Bitcoin. And there are a few speculative moves that caught my eye.

Celo (CRYPTO:CELO) was up as much as 17.3% in the last 24 hours and is currently up 13.4% over that time. Arweave (CRYPTO:AR) jumped 17.9% and is now up 11.9, while Harmony (CRYPTO:ONE) popped 11.6%, and Chainlink (CRYPTO:LINK) was up as much as 5.9% today. There isn’t a lot of news, but there could be good reason they’re up today.

Three-dimensional objects on top of a chart labeled "cryptocurrency."

Image source: Getty Images.

So what 

There’s clearly a surge in interest from crypto and non-fungible token investors over the past few days and that’s helping altcoins that are typically more volatile than their larger rivals. According to Dune Analytics, volume of sales on OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace on the Ethereum network, jumped to over $200 million per day in the first two days of 2022. Volume was as low as about $50 million per day in early November, so this is a notable increase.

Ethereum has been plagued by high gas fees, though, pushing developers and users to smaller cryptocurrencies, which is likely some of the buying we are seeing. As the ecosystems of these cryptocurrencies grow, there could be more activity move to altcoins. And these cryptocurrencies will be the ones to watch.

Celo was built to make mobile decentralized finance operations accessible, which is a novel concept from the PC-centric world of most crypto projects. Arweave is building a way to store data permanently. Harmony is bridging blockchains and trying to make Ethereum applications cheaper and more efficient. Finally, Chainlink is enabling advanced smart contracts for any blockchain.

The theme here is that these cryptocurrencies are building utility into the ecosystem. NFTs, which are up big on OpenSea, are an early utility for cryptocurrencies and these projects are an extension of that utility.

Now what 

Altcoins can be extremely volatile so don’t take too much away from a single day’s move. A better strategy is to look at how crypto ecosystems are growing and who their target market is for real utility. Each of these cryptocurrencies has a great strategy for unlocking long-term value, but there’s a long way to go in building out the products people will use every day.

Expect volatility from these cryptocurrencies, but if they can deliver real value there’s no reason they can’t keep going up in 2022.


This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.