Why Solana, NEAR Protocol, and Avalanche Jumped This Week

The crypto market continues to push higher on the back of Bitcoin‘s (BTC -4.10%) rise and the success of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). There’s no question the industry is pushing for more ETFs as investors demand these products in ever larger numbers.

But the big moves this week took place in smaller, more utility-based tokens. According to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, Solana (SOL 5.62%) is up 28.4%, NEAR Protocol (NEAR -21.45%) is up 29.6%, and Avalanche (AVAX 3.34%) has gained 35.1%. They’re up because the industry overall is on the rise, but there are token-specific drivers as well.

The ETF craze continues

Bitcoin ETFs hit an incredible $1 billion in inflows in a single day this week as the ETFs continue to gather assets and push crypto awareness and adoption higher. The next phase could be more ETFs being approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which could again lead to more adoption.

There have been meetings at least exploring Ethereum (ETH -5.38%) ETFs, which would be the natural next step in the crypto ETF market. If Ethereum ETFs are approved, we will likely see tokens like Solana, NEAR, and Avalanche next because they have a lot of the same characteristics.

Innovation on the blockchain

Solana has been one of the fast, low-cost blockchains, and it has even run into congestion problems recently as the company faces increased usage. Developers have been building on Solana even in the down period of the market, and now it’s clear more users are active whether that’s buying non-fungible tokens (NFTs), making financial transactions, or deploying smart contracts.

That has required the development team to push updates for the blockchain that improve storage and speed, but those are great problems to have because it means real businesses are being built on the blockchain.

For NEAR Protocol, it was enough for the founder to be a speaker at NVIDIA‘s AI conference to boost the token’s value. Many blockchains are making the argument that crypto is key to both knowing what’s AI and what isn’t, and can make the infrastructure more efficient.

The Avalanche Foundation announced it is buying meme coins, hoping to gain attention for the blockchain. This seems crazy, but if it increases trading volume, it could increase on-chain activity and help the blockchain gain momentum.

The crypto bubble is inflating

It’s hard to look at the rise in cryptocurrencies recently and see much more than a bubble that’s inflating. While there’s more activity today than a year ago, there aren’t many businesses building real applications on the blockchain. Companies are building tools, but most aren’t yet deployed and won’t be using the well-known crypto tokens as a medium of exchange.

The real reason values are up is because crypto is gaining attention and money is flowing into Bitcoin as a store of value. That lifts the entire industry, but if the inflows become outflows, the bubble could burst. We’ve seen this before in 2022, and that’s why I’m cautious about buying crypto assets today.

Travis Hoium has positions in Ethereum and Solana. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Avalanche, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Nvidia, and Solana. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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