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Metaverse tokens are vastly outperforming every other crypto category in the current bearish condition, up by nearly 400% year on year.

Leading the gains are Decentraland’s MANA (up 41%), The Sandbox’s SAND (up 470%), Axie Infinity’s Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) (up 511%), and Stepn’s GMT (up 746%), according to data from Kraken Intelligence and CoinGecko’s May 2022 market report. Metaverse tokens can be used to pay fees, buy land and participate in governance.

The next highest category for year-on-year gains is exchange tokens, which saw a 6% increase. All other categories saw negative price action in the same time period, ranging from -13% for Bitcoin (BTC) to -72% for decentralized finance, or DeFi.

Metaverse tokens are up nearly 400% year on year. Source: Kraken Intelligence

Blockchain-based gaming using nonfungible tokens (NFT) and metaverse platforms has remained tremendously popular throughout 2022. Despite slumping prices across the market, usership among those games has remained consistent at about 1 million users per day, according to data from decentralized application tracker DappRadar. 

The Kraken report pointed out that although May saw flat daily usership, “NFT volume saw a large decrease with daily volume dropping -87.1%.”

Every category tracked by Kraken’s report, including metaverse and exchange tokens, experienced negative returns over the past 30 days and 90 days. Metaverse tokens were among the worst losers over the past 30 days, dropping 42%, with by far the highest volatility at 173%.

Despite the short-term price action, money is pouring in to fund the sector. DAppRadar’s Q1 games report noted that $2.5 billion was raised in support of blockchain games and metaverse projects in the first quarter of 2022. Investors were eager to back games, according to the report, as 52% of all blockchain activity came from game DApps:

“At this pace, play-to-earn and Metaverse-related projects will add $10 billion this year to keep building the future of this industry.”

Related: Global Web3 metaverse and tax initiatives continue in the face of a market meltdown

Layer-1 tokens such as Solana’s SOL and Cardano’s ADA led the losers, down 53% and 43% over the past 90 and 30 days, respectively.

Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) saw relatively modest losses compared with altcoins over all three timeframes measured by Kraken.