Tron Is Out, Dai Is Back: CoinDesk 20 List Updates for 2021 Q1

Volume on eight trusted exchanges used by CoinDesk hit $239.98 billion in Q4 2020, up from $90.08 billion in the prior quarter.

AccessTimeIconJan 12, 2021 at 3:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 4:16 p.m. UTC
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The surge in cryptocurrency trading in the last three months of 2020 led to one change in the CoinDesk 20: tron (TRX) has been taken off of the list of the top crypto assets traded on verified markets while Maker’s dai (DAI) stablecoin has returned.

Verifiable crypto volume nearly tripled in the fourth quarter of 2020, as bitcoin surged to new all-time highs. Volume on eight trusted exchanges used by CoinDesk hit $239.98 billion in Q4 2020, up from $90.08 billion in the prior quarter, according to Nomics.

The increase in trading volume varied across the CoinDesk 20 list of the most-traded crypto assets, with some seeing quarter-over-quarter declines. However, there was little turnover.

The exception was tron. The no-fee Ethereum rival did not keep pace with other major assets and fell out of the CoinDesk 20 ranking. It was replaced by dai, the dollar-pegged stablecoin used in Maker's decentralized finance (DeFi) network, which makes a second appearance on the list.

The new CoinDesk 20 list is as follows.

The CoinDesk 20 is a list, not an index. Its methodology uses volume data from eight exchanges, compiled by Nomics. The eight exchanges were selected, vetted and verified by all three of a trio of studies on fake and verifiable volume, published in 2019 and 2020. They are: Bitfinex, bitFlyer, Bitstamp, Coinbase, Gemini, itBit, Kraken and Poloniex.

Last week CoinDesk announced the acquisition of TradeBlock, a provider of crypto-asset reference rates and indexes for financial institutions. This addition could result in methodology changes in the future, disclosed in advance, to improve the utility and robustness of the reference points the CoinDesk 20 provides on crypto markets.

Here's the quarter-to-quarter percentage change in volume for each CoinDesk 20 asset, reported from these eight trusted exchanges, including both dai and tron.


The CoinDesk 20 includes stablecoins, such as dai, which are pegged to fiat currencies because their trading volume and market cap are relevant to providing a picture of investment and trading activity in crypto markets.

Dai rejoins stablecoins tether (USDT) and usd coin (USDC) on the CoinDesk 20 list, after a quarter's absence. In Q3 2020, dai was pushed out of the CoinDesk 20 list, along with four other assets, in the list's largest quarterly turnover to date.

Here is how every asset on the new CoinDesk 20, plus tron, performed last quarter.


The CoinDesk 20 methodology will be reviewed and revised periodically. If you have questions or comments on the method, please email them to research at

Note: Due to a calculation error, four assets were listed incorrectly in the 2021 Q1 update to the CoinDesk 20. Cardano, dai, ethereum classic and 0x should have been excluded. In their place, compound, polkadot, uniswap and should have been included in the list.


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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Galen Moore

Galen Moore is the content lead at Axelar, which is building interoperable Web3 infrastructure. Prior to this, Galen was the director of professional content at CoinDesk.

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