The cryptocurrency market has been listless and in search of direction this past week — but one major coin has been smashing ever-higher.

Cardano’s Ada coin overtook Binance Coin, Polkadot and Tether over the weekend to take third spot on most lists of cryptocurrency market capitalisation, hitting an all-time high of $US1.48 in the process amid enthusiasm for the launch of its smart contract functionality.

That protocol upgrade, known as Mary, is supposed to go live later today, adding native-asset functionality and native tokens to the Cardano blockchain. In simple terms, users will be able to create their own tokens for exchange on the Cardano network – but unlike Ethereum there will be no transaction fees, backers say.

Around 2pm Monday (AEDT), Ada was trading for $US1.28, up 7.7 per cent in the last 24 hours, giving it a capitalisation of $US40.5 billion.

Cardano’s Ada is up 16 per cent this week, 250 per cent in the past month, nearly sevenfold in 2021 and 27-fold in the past 12 months.

According to Nomics, the only top 30 tokens that have beaten its performance during those timeframes are Binance Coin (up fivefold in the last month); Dogecoin and Solana (up tenfold and ninefold year-to-date); and Hex (up 32-fold in last 12 months).

Cardano hodlers ‘are kings today’

It’s sweet vindication for founder Charles Hoskinson and backers of one of the more hyped tokens of 2017. During the bubble that year, Ada tokens suddenly soared from trading at US2c in November to over $US1 in January 2018, only to fall back to earth nearly as quickly.

As recently as this past November, they were changing hands at under US10c.



Crypto market snapshot

Overall, as of 2.40pm AEDT on Monday most coins were in the green compared to where they were 24 hours ago – but they still had a fair bit of ground to make up after last week’s correction.


Of the top 100 crypto-assets listed on Coingecko, 80 had gained ground over the past 24 hours, and 19 had lost it. (One was flat).

BTC was trading for $US46,400 ($60,000), up 3.4 per cent, while Eth was at $US1,439 ($1,865), up 3.3 per cent.

Polygon (MATIC) has been the only top 100 coin other than Cardano to hit an all-time high since Friday. The blockchain scalability platform surged to US24.5430c around lunchtime. At 2.49pm Polygon coins were trading at US24.2643c, up 34 per cent in the past 24 hours and up sixfold in the last 30 days.