Crypto’s Survival Story – An Asset Class That Pushes Through Against All Odds

It’s been 14 years since cryptocurrencies started their journey into the financial realm, and if you’ve been paying any attention to how things unfolded in the industry, you already know that the road has been paved with constant obstacles. Digital currencies are no strangers to rough patches. We’ve seen them crumble to the ground and rise from their ashes several times already. There have been no less than four major bear markets in crypto’s short history (although different analyses provide different numbers due to the varying definitions of bear markets and the overlapping cycles), with the latest one being the most taxing to date.

And yet, cryptocurrencies refuse to throw in the towel. People continue to buy Bitcoin and other crypto assets despite their blatant volatility and the numerous scandals and negative events that have marred their existence and reputation over the years. Even if the crypto industry has certainly seen better days, it’s still nowhere near extinct, as many have been quick to conclude after each downturn. It’s as if survival has become crypto’s area of expertise, and every bear market strengthens their position in the financial sphere.

Maybe digital assets provide a perfect exemplification of the saying what doesn’t kill one makes one stronger. Or maybe they’ve just been lucky enough to encounter a favorable context that has helped them live to see another day. Whatever the case might be, crypto is clearly not going anywhere anytime soon, so there may be a few lessons to learn from their resilience and perseverance story.

The Crypto Assets That Won’t Give Up or Give In

Not all cryptos are created equal. With over 22,000 in existence today, that’s hardly a surprise. So, just as we can’t judge an entire market by a certain few that have failed to meet expectations, we cannot credit all of them with the continuation of the species either.

There are those who have been in the market since its early days and continue to play an important role in the industry, and many others that have either shined for a brief period of time or have never been active in the first place. But since this is a post about survivors, we’re going to turn our attention to the first category and list the most prominent projects that have graced this asset class so far.


Starting with the most obvious of all, Bitcoin has been in the market the longest – and therefore, survived a record number of crypto winters – being the pioneering cryptocurrency that introduced the concept of blockchain-powered decentralized digital money to the masses. It was launched in 2009 by anonymous developer (or group of developers) Satoshi Nakamoto and has managed to become and remain the largest crypto by market cap, user base, and popularity, backed by its first mover advantage, appealing features, and ongoing appreciation. No other crypto has managed to come close to Bitcoin’s level of stardom and probably never will.

Ethereum (ETH), the second runner-up, was created in 2015, and just like Bitcoin, it soon became a favorite asset for traders and investors, but for different reasons. Ethereum’s utility and main selling point is given by its smart contract functionality, which supports a variety of distributed apps. Its vast and fast-expanding use cases, coupled with a strong penchant for innovation, have kept Ethereum in the lead for years and helped the crypto weather many storms.

One of the newer tokens, at least by Bitcoin standards, the Binance Coin (BNB), has also proved remarkable resilience and strength since it’s been around. Initially launched on the Ethereum blockchain, the coin later migrated to the BNB Chain and serves as the exchange token of Binance, one of the leading crypto exchanges, so its success is not exactly surprising.

Ripple (XRP) is another coin that wrote history in the crypto industry, being launched in 2012 and overcoming numerous hurdles along the way, including a lawsuit from the SEC in 2020. Other notable mentions include Cardano, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and other tokens that have become a constant presence in the crypto space for many years.

What’s Driving the Crypto Industry Forward Today?

Crypto critics and naysayers have been more than vocal about crypto’s alleged flaws and shortcomings, calling digital assets out for their volatility, lack of intrinsic value, negative impact on the environment, and the high risks they pose. However, if we only listened to their perspective, digital currencies would be long extinct by now. So, what keeps them going?

For starters, crypto’s extreme volatility isn’t seen as a downside by all stakeholders. In fact, their large fluctuations in value make them all the more appealing for aggressive investors looking for high-performing assets that can provide large returns. With Bitcoin and other tokens surging in value and popularity year after year and exchange platforms providing easy access to this asset class, a larger number of investors found the courage to take the leap and add crypto to their portfolios.


Even with all the attention from traders and investors, crypto remained on the outskirts of the financial system until governments decided to take an interest in this novel asset class. Bitcoin’s acceptance as a legal tender in El Salvador and the Central African Republic a few years back may not mean a lot to people in other countries, but it did provide digital currencies with more legitimacy and got them out of the shadow.

The fact that businesses and organizations are also getting on board the crypto train, opening their doors to crypto payments, has also enhanced the real-world utility of digital assets, which was one of the things that stood in the way of wider crypto adoption. Even governments are considering launching their own version of digital currencies to keep up with the rising demand for these types of products and services.

Wrapping Up

Say what you may about cryptocurrencies, point out their flaws, and criticize their drawbacks, but if there’s one aspect you can’t argue against, it is their ability to survive. Digital currencies continue to provide a lesson in resilience and endurance, defying all odds and exceeding all expectations since the very beginning.  

Jeremy Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
On Chain Analysis Data Engineer. Lives in sunny Perth, Australia. Investing and writing about Crypto since 2014.

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