The 2020 altcoin Hype-to-Activity index
Crypto fans love to defend their favorite assets. Just look at the XRP army and the LINK Marines. Does the hype expressed on Twitter match up with high trading activity though? A few altcoins throughout 2020 revealed mixed results. Using information from The Tie, a crypto data platform, Cointelegraph looked at assets’ Hype-To-Activity Ratios matched against their prices.
“Hype-To-Activity Ratio measures the number of tweets a particular coin has per each $1M in reported trading volume of that coin,” Joshua Frank, CEO and co-founder of The Tie, told Cointelegraph, adding:
“As of August 15th 2019 the average Hype-To-Activity Ratio in crypto was 1.02. In other words, on average cryptocurrencies see 1.02 tweets per $1M in reported trading volume.”
Twitter often hosts countless discussions on various assets at any given time. Announcements and other events also factor into the equation. Sometimes, trading activity and hype travel in tandem, while other times, the two fall out of balance.
“High Hype-to-Activity Ratios may suggest that a particular cryptocurrency is overhyped in social conversations relative to the amount of trading activity that it has,” Frank explained. “It is a good metric for identifying outliers or for tracking the number of social conversations a particular coin has relative to its trading volume over time.”
The Tie conducted an in-depth study on the scene in 2019. The findings ranged from the relatively obvious — for example, Tether (USDT) is traded much more than it is talked about — to major outliers like Electroneum (ETN), whose off-the-charts reading led The Tie to suspect foul play.
Crypto-asset prices performed well in 2020, with Bitcoin (BTC) leading the charge, breaking its 2017 all-time high price. Ether (ETH), Ripple’s XRP and Chainlink’s LINK also had respectable years, including their share of promotion on Twitter, but did their prices match the hype?
The crypto industry’s second-largest asset by market cap, ETH, gave the public many talking points in 2020. Progress on Ethereum 2.0, the blockchain’s highly anticipated transition over to a proof-of-stake mining algorithm, took longer than anticipated. On Nov. 24, Eth2 hit the requirements necessary for a Dec. 1 Beacon Chain launch, completing Phase 0. On Dec. 1, Eth2 went live.
Twitter hype for the year noticeably fluctuated against the price of ETH. Its hype converged toward its price near the beginning of 2020.
The COVID-19-caused crash in March provided a powerful external jolt to the markets, with prices plummeting even as hype remained steady. Between late April and early June, hype essentially correlated equally with price action.
Throughout June and July as the “summer of DeFi” unfolded, ETH began increasing in popularity on Twitter. The Hype-to-Activity Ratio went from 0.395 to 1.019 tweets per $1 million in trading volume between June 1 and July 20, all while ETH’s price remained flat, trading approximately between $221 and $247. A powerful rally toward the end of July corrected the discrepancy, with ETH reaching $383 by Aug. 1 while maintaining a hype score of 1.003. On the other hand, its hype flatlined into November and December even as its price began approaching the heights of the 2017 rally.
During that same June and July stretch, ETH’s reported trading volume notably declined while tweets increased. A trading flow of $13.86 billion matched its hype at 0.406 tweets per million in volume on June 2. Volume dropped to $5.59 billion by July 20, but tweets per million in volume more than doubled, hitting 1.019 on the same day.
In recent days, ETH’s price has surged, but its hype has not followed with the same exuberance.
Crypto’s third-largest asset by market cap, XRP did not have a looming big news event in the same manner as Ethereum did, although the asset’s loyal following, known as the XRP Army, provided a steady stream of hype nevertheless.
In January, comments surfaced from Ripple’s CEO about a potential initial public offering for the company. Headlines throughout the year also included a co-founder’s sale of a portion of his XRP stockpile, developments on a lawsuit claiming XRP was an unregistered security, and the building of a link between the Ethereum and XRP networks, which also involves an upcoming airdrop.
Regarding Twitter hype and prices for the year, XRP tweet flow per volume held at elevated values for most of the year. Similar to ETH, XRP’s price dropped much more than its Twitter activity in March during the COVID-19-induced price drop.
Similar to ETH, between May 11 and July 21, XRP’s hype ratio increased, while its price failed to follow in the same fashion until the start of August when it made up significant ground. XRP, however, generally carried a much higher hype ratio than ETH in that period, during which its hype ranged from 1.414 to 2.754 tweets per $1 million in trading volume.
Its hype began trending downward on Sept. 20, traveling from a ratio of 2.249 down to 0.59 by Dec. 2. Meanwhile, its price traded sideways between $0.22 and $0.25 from Sept. 20 to Nov. 2. Its price rocketed upward through November, however, reaching $0.69 against a declining hype ratio.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission went after Ripple and XRP on Dec. 22, claiming the company ran an unregistered securities sale and alleging that XRP remains a security even years after launch. XRP fell dramatically in price in the days after the action’s initiation. A number of exchanges have also removed XRP trading. XRP’s price plummeted down to meet its Twitter activity, which was already lagging behind its price before the regulatory news.
LINK has garnered a following similar to that of XRP, known as the Link Marines — the members of which Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy called frauds during his brief foray in the crypto space.
The sixth-largest crypto asset in the industry, LINK performed well in price throughout the year, posting a record-high price of approximately $20 in August, based on TradingView data. Between its low in March and its all-time high in August, LINK rose from roughly $1.50 to $20.
Headlines around the asset during the year included multiple partnerships and various Chainlink oracle integrations, as well as some fear, uncertainty and doubt, also known as FUD, thrown in.
LINK showed an exorbitantly high hype ratio early in 2020, tallying a score of 5.128 on Jan. 25 while its price traded far below at $2.46. The hype train crashed after that, falling all the way down to a score of 2.099 by April 11, meeting its price at $3.25 per LINK token.
The asset’s Twitter action did not remain near its price for long though, bouncing right back into a strong uptrend from there and reaching a hype rating of 4.456 by July 6. LINK, however, remained fairly quiet in terms of upward price action during all that Twitter commotion, ranging between $3.17 to $5.30 from April 11 to July 6. Catching up to Twitter’s chatter to a degree, the token then began an uptrend that would eventually bring the asset to $20.
During the stark rally, hype growth actually turned negative much earlier than the record high near $20. Its hype proceeded to plummet down to 1.199 by Oct. 9. Its price fell substantially from $20 after its historic summit, but it still held at an appreciable level compared with the collapse in its hype. LINK recorded significantly more attention than ETH on Twitter in 2020, even noticeably hitting higher than XRP’s levels during the year as well.
Twitter-based hype for ETH, XRP and LINK all trended down or flatlined over the last few months of 2020. Such declines and stagnation might possibly have resulted due to Bitcoin’s dramatic surge during that time. BTC stole the spotlight during the last three months of 2020. Crypto’s largest asset rallied from $10,500 to $19,900 in that time period, dragging certain altcoins up with it in price, but not necessarily in attention.
A number of decentralized finance, or DeFi, assets also posted dramatic price action during their first years in existence, riding the 2020 DeFi boom.
Yearn.finance, with its YFI asset, burst onto the crypto scene in the latter half of 2020, soaring from $900 to more than $40,000 per token.
Although earlier months show no available hype ratings, November and December revealed greater hype than price, at a peak score of 0.92 — notably below levels seen in XRP and LINK — amid a price of $25,708.
SushiSwap, a DeFi protocol, and its related SUSHI asset yielded significant drama in September. Sushi’s leader, a pseudonymous individual known as “Chef Nomi,” ran off with some of the project’s development fund, temporarily handing down the protocol to Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of the exchange FTX. Chef Nomi later returned the funds.
During the latter half of October and the first half of November, SUSHI hype significantly outpaced price, peaking at 1.89 on the hype scale while trading at a price of $0.71 — scoring similar in hype to XRP, but lower than LINK.
Looking back at 2020, and the Hype-To-Activity Ratio in line with asset prices, shows that Twitter activity still remains prevalent in the crypto industry. What will 2021’s data show in the year ahead if Bitcoin’s bull market continues?
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