The Metaverse cryptocurrencies niche is an important segment of the overall crypto market. Right now, the rankings table for the leading cryptos within the niche is experiencing historical changes. The tectonic developments in the leaders’ rankings are largely due to the confident and market-defying rise of the RNDR token. In this article, we detail how the recent SocialFi hype has affected RNDR and the Metaverse category of the crypto world.
Top Cryptocurrencies of Metaverse
Cryptocurrencies related to the Metaverse are one of the most-watched categories in the crypto market. This future-focused category is made up of a variety of coins that support the development or realisation of the Metaverse in some way or form. The leading cryptos of the Metaverse are made up of two primary categories:
1. The native cryptos of the largest blockchain-based gaming environments, such as Axie Infinity (AXS), The Sandox (SAND), and Decentraland (MANA).
2. The cryptocurrencies of blockchain-based platforms that offer products or services that support or enable the Metaverse concept. The leading ones among these are the Internet Computer (ICP) and the Render Network (RNDR). The former is a decentralised network of data centres that facilitate bandwidth sharing, while the latter is a decentralised marketplace for computer rendering services. We call this sub-category of cryptos “the Metaverse services”.
The cryptocurrencies mentioned above have long held the top 5 spots in the Metaverse category rankings by market cap, comfortably ahead of the other coins in this niche. However, there have been big changes in the rankings within the top 5 this month.
The Metaverse category is still headed by the long-time leader - Internet Computer (ICP). Despite recent losses, ICP is by far the highest-capped Metaverse crypto. Before October, the trio of the big gaming cryptos – AXS, SAND, and MANA – had held positions between 2 and 4. The RNDR token had held the 5th spot in the rankings since early 2023.
For many months, the pecking order within the top 5, with ICP at the top, the 3 gaming coins following it, and RNDR at the bottom, stayed intact. The cryptocurrencies’ prices had largely moved in roughly similar, even if not the same, trajectories, keeping the order unchanged.
RNDR’s October Surge
Things have been on changing in the niche since the beginning of October, with RNDR rapidly gaining ground. The token’s rise started in late September. Over the last fortnight, RNDR’s price has grown by 19%. The price growth moderated in the last week, with RNDR growing only 2% on a 7-day basis. However, this growth has still occurred at a time when the other top Metaverse cryptos and the broader cryptocurrency market have been experiencing significant declines.
Over the last week, the category leader, ICP, has declined by nearly 5%, while SAND, AXS, and MANA are down by 7%, 6%, and 9%, respectively. RNDR’s recent growth, coupled with the steep declines for its key rivals in the niche, has taken the token to the 2nd spot, behind ICP, in the market cap rankings.
These are the biggest ranking changes in the Metaverse world for a long time. For the first time, RNDR has overtaken the trio of big gaming cryptos.
The top 5 Metaverse cryptocurrencies by market cap as of 10 October 2023
Image sources: Coingecko.com
These tectonic changes occurred within just the first 4 days of the month. On 1 October, RNDR rose to the 4th position, overtaking MANA. Three days later, on 4 October, the token surged to occupy the 2nd spot, leaving SAND and AXS behind.
SocialFi and RNDR Link
RNDR’s confident rise comes during a bear market not only for its Metaverse rivals but also for the broader crypto market. As of 10 October, on a 7-day basis, Bitcoin (BTC) has been stagnant, while Ethereum (ETH) has lost 4.5%. All the other top 20 cryptos are in the red over the same period.
The question arises – if both the overall market and the Metaverse niche are losing ground, what is behind RNDR’s category-altering rise? There have been no major announcements at the Render Network, the token’s host platform. RNDR’s tokenomics is also intact, with no changes announced or planned. RNDR is also a product token with solid business fundamentals and is far from the favourite choice of market manipulators and pump-and-dump scheme operators.
On the surface, it looks like no major factors support the token’s rise. However, one big recent development in the crypto world is likely behind RNDR’s surge. Over the last couple of months, there has been a meteoric rise of the SocialFi niche, or rather, the influencer-oriented SocialFi sub-category.
First, the Friend.tech SocialFi platform was launched on the Coinbase-supported Base Layer 2 protocol in early August. Friend.tech’s key concept revolves around users buying “shares” of social media influencers. Those with high enough share counts are able to communicate with the influencers directly. Friend.tech became the first SocialFi platform aiming to attract influencers. The platform experienced massive growth within days on the market.
Yesterday, Friend.tech celebrated two months since its launch. In this short period of time, it has amassed a total value locked (TVL) of $44 million, a feat that no other decentralised social platform has ever come close to.
Following Friend.tech’s rise, another influencer-focused SocialFi platform, Avalanche-based Stars Arena, was launched in late September. The new platform replicates the concept of Friend.tech. Stars Arena also experienced a massive rise, albeit on a smaller scale than Friend.tech, in the first days of its operation. After achieving a TVL of close to $3 million by 6 October, the platform was hit with a security hack that wiped out all the funds from the platform. As of the time of writing on 10 October, Stars Arena’s team are working on restoring the platform’s full functionality.
Despite the unfortunate security exploit, Stars Arena’s quick rise in popularity and TVL was an additional boost to the influencer-focused SocialFi niche.
Infuencers drive the demand for RNDR services
As Friend.tech and Stars Arena soared, social media influencers hoping to leverage these platforms rushed to offer more digital content – in the form of images, video, and animation – to their new crypto followers. This is where the Render Network, RNDR crypto’s host platform, comes into the picture. The Ethereum-based Render Network lets users share their computers’ idle GPU processing capacity with other users, typically digital artists and studios, who need this capacity to process computer rendering jobs.
Render Network is the undisputed leader of rendering services in the blockchain world. There is hardly any other project in the industry that focuses on this specialised field. At the same time, producing visually rich digital content on a scale is a very GPU-intensive task. For many digital content creators, Render Network is an efficient and affordable way to process their rendering jobs.
The surge of Friend.tech and Stars Arena led to an influx of social media influencers into the decentralised social universe. Eager to produce rich digital content that requires rendering services, these influencers are now storming Render Network, helping the RNDR token soar amidst the lackluster broader market.
SocialFi platforms, particularly Friend.tech, are now making an impact on the Metaverse category of the crypto industry. If Friend.tech and similarly-styled, influencer-focused SocialFi platforms continue to grow, expect RNDR to keep growing in unison. While another blockchain-based rendering services provider might appear on the horizon to meet the growing demand, the technical complexity of the computer rendering industry makes this a very challenging endeavour. Thus, for now, when influencers need to access rendering services, their go-to source in the crypto world is likely to remain Render Network. At the end of the day, computer rendering isn’t playing games!