UNI storms into the top 10 amid Uniswap v3 anticipation

  • Uniswap’s governance token gained 50% in a week to surge past Litecoin and Chainlink into the top 10, with Ripple’s XRP the next in sight.
  • The DeFi platform had a stellar February in which it set a new record after another in trading volume, with the upcoming v3 upgrade also playing a big part.

Uniswap has made history. The decentralized exchange became the first decentralized finance (DeFi) platform to make it into the top 10 by market cap. Its UNI token has gained close to 50% in the past week to surge past Litecoin, Chainlink and Bitcoin Cash.

UNI has been one of the best performing cryptocurrencies since the year began. The token started the year at just $5 before going on a price surge that saw it hit $32 in late February. After retracing to $21, it has then picked up the pace to record its all-time high at $34.2 today. Its market cap stands at $17.2 billion, making it the eighth-most valuable cryptocurrency, just behind Ripple’s XRP.

Uniswap is also the second-largest Ethereum application, just behind Tether at $37 billion. With its surge last week, it has outranked Chainlink which has held the distinction for several months.

One of the key factors behind UNI’s surge is the parabolic spike in Uniswap usage. The platform has firmed its position as the go-to DeFi platform, with most DeFi projects listing there first. Uniswap has consistently ranked as the leading guzzler of gas fees on the Ethereum network for several months now. It currently rakes in 17% of all gas fees as per Etherscan.

Uniswap’s lead developer Hayden Adams shared the February figures recently. In the first week, it recorded $7.5 billion in trading volume. The following February weeks saw Uniswap an increase each time.

v3 upgrade sparks anticipation

While the rise of DeFi and a spike in trading volume have all led to UNI’s growth, they all pale in comparison to the eagerly anticipated version 3 (v3) upgrade. The upgrade could finally make the DeFi platform a legitimate contender for the cryptocurrency exchange throne. While information about v3 is scarce, it will come to Ethereum’s layer 2 scaling network, bringing down the fees to mere pennies.

Other changes could include more liquidity mining. This feature will reward UNI token holders while also increasing liquidity on the platform.

There has been great excitement in the cryptocurrency industry over the release of v3. The Uniswap team has, however, remained tight-lipped about the details or the launch date. In one of the rare indications that v3 is coming soon, Adams took to Twitter recently to poll his followers about the upgrade. He asked his followers where they will rush immediately v3 launches – the blog post, the whitepaper, random Twitter reactions or Uniswap’s tweetstorm.

The cryptocurrency community is already making guesses about what v3 will bring to the network, and when. Andre Cronje, the founder of DeFi platform Yearn Finance, observed that increased Twitter activity by Uniswap’s core team could signal v3 is already done.

Popular cryptocurrency YouTuber Chico Crypto also believes that v3 is coming soon. He observed that v3 launch could be one of the biggest events in the industry this year. When Uniswap launched its v2 upgrade last year, it did an airdrop to its users of 400 UNI, now worth over $12,000. It also announced Unisocks, their ‘limited edition, dynamically priced socks.’ These socks were only going for $12.5 at launch but have shot up and now go for over $131,000.

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