January turned out to be a difficult month for the cryptocurrency markets.
Bitcoin, the world's largest currency by market capitalization, dropped close to 30 percent, meaning its market capitalization shaved off billions after a torrid end to 2017. Meanwhile, excitement seemed to fade as the total value of all cryptocurrencies taken together topped out at $830 billion on Jan. 7, ending the month below $500 billion.
However, amid the gloom and doom, a few small-cap tokens managed to put on a good show.
For instance, names like VeChain, NEO, Populous and Stellar dominated the list of gainers among the top 25 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization (as of Jan. 31).
Here's a closer look at their performance.
Boasting an association with enterprise firms in China, VeChain has been aiming to use an open blockchain network to revolutionize the internet of things (IoT) since late 2016.
But despite the partnerships, it hadn't garnered much attention throughout 2017's cryptocurrency boom, trading under $1 as recently as December, up from as low as $0.20 in November.
That seems to have now changed, as the blockchain recently announced it will be rebranding VeChain (VEN) into VeChain Thor (VET/THOR) this month, a plan of action that may have sparked the interest of investors eager to chase gains in a cooling market.
Sometimes referred to as "China's ethereum," neo has aimed to build a smart economy in much the same way as its larger competitor, though without the same enterprise fanfare.
Still, the retail market has shown a strong interest. Launched in Dec. 2016, neo weathered the storm created by China's ICO ban in September last year to rebound with a strong start to 2018, possibly due to its innovative features. (Notably, it differs from ethereum in a sense that it can't fork.)
The cryptocurrency is down 30 percent from the all-time high of $194.70.
Populous, an invoice and trade financing platform built on ethereum, aims to establish itself as a top player in the $3 trillion alternative business lending market.
Its token PPT surged in value last month reportedly due to increased interest among the investor community about its platform beta.
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