Large investors, known as whales, appear to be bargain-hunting Cardano's ADA token as the programmable blockchain's decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols see rapid growth.
The balance held by addresses with 1 million to 10 million coins rose to a record 12 billion ADA ($9.72 billion) last week, a 41% gain since late January, data provided by blockchain analytics firm IntoTheBlock show.
The total value locked in the Cardano network has increased by $50 million in a week, hitting a lifetime high of $160.79 million, according to DefiLlama. More than 70% of the funds are locked in decentralized exchange (DEX) SundaeSwap.
"Cardano appears to be showing signs of promise for more to come after years without launching smart contracts. This appears to be translating into an accumulation of ADA from large players," Lucas Outumuro, head of research at IntoTheBlock, said in a weekly report published on Friday.
"After years of lacking smart contract capabilities, Cardano is starting to show some traction in its application layer," Outmuro noted. "DEXs on Cardano have raised capital from reputable crypto funds such as Three Arrows Capital."
Last week, Cardano-based DEX AdaSwap announced a $2.6 million fund raise led by venture capital firm iAngels and several other investors, including actor and producer Gal Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.
Whale holdings have increased by over 40% this year. "Following a 70% correction, these addresses have now been accumulating aggressively. This group, as well as those holding over 100M ADA, recorded double-digit growth month over month," Outumuro said.
The renewed interest by large investors may be a sign of good times ahead, assuming the broader market finds a footing. Whale selling in early September turned out to be an advance indicator of a price slide. "These [whale] addresses had previously sold a large amount of their holdings right before ADA began to crash," Outmuro noted.
ADA peaked above $3 on Sept. 2 and has lost more than 70% since then. The ninth-largest cryptocurrency by market value was last trading near $0.8080, a 5% drop on a 24-hour basis.
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