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AI, GameFi & Meme Coins Top Crypto Narratives’ Interest in 2023

4.3 | by Nicholas Boey

The most popular crypto narratives in 2023 were artificial intelligence (AI), GameFi and meme coins, which captured one third of investor interest.

The Solana ecosystem, BRC-20 tokens and real world assets (RWA) also gained significant attention, capturing more than 5% of the crypto narratives interest each this year.

The top 15 narratives accounted for 72.3% of total crypto narratives interest. These 15 narratives captured most of the attention out of a diverse pool of 139 narratives. The remaining 27.7% of crypto interest was spread out across 124 narratives.

AI Tokens Lead Crypto Narratives Amid Tech Advancements

Artificial intelligence (AI) is by far the most popular crypto narrative in 2023, accounting for 11.3% of crypto narratives interest this year. Since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, AI interest and related efforts have gained momentum in the tech industry. This interest has spilled over into the crypto space, bringing attention to AI-related cryptocurrencies.

Akash Network (AKT) gained the most among AI tokens, reaching an all-year high that was 13 times its January 1 price. Render (RNDR), the biggest AI token by market cap, followed closely, where its price surged by up to 12 times at its yearly high.

GameFi Comes Back Strong After An Extended Crypto Winter

GameFi follows close behind as the second most popular crypto narrative, accounting for 10.5% of crypto narratives interest in 2023. GameFi has always been a popular narrative in the past. However, it came on strong in 2023 with developments on various fronts.

Seven top video game companies have delved into blockchain game development, while blockchain game development continues to raise substantial investments. Simultaneously, various blockchain projects continued to improve their products. Notably, Pixels' integration with Ronin (RON) and the successful debuts of Illuvium (ILV) and Gods Unchained (GODS) on the Epic Games Store have significantly broadened gaming accessibility, captivating a larger audience.

The GameFi token with the biggest gain since January 2023 is ImmutableX (IMX), where its price surged up to 7 times at its yearly high. Ronin, the blockchain powering Axie Infinity, comes close with price returns of up to 6 times its January 1 price.

Meme Craze Gave Price Returns of up to 129X at Its Peak

Meme coins ranked as the third most popular crypto narrative in 2023, accounting for 8.3% of crypto narratives interest. 2023 saw a prolonged meme coin season, usually beginning with a surge of attention towards a specific meme coin.

May 2023 witnessed Pepe (PEPE) taking the spotlight, capitalizing on the widespread appeal of Pepe the Frog in its imagery. Subsequently, HarryPotterObamaSonic10Inu (BITCOIN) gained prominence in July, followed by the revival of Bonk (BONK) later in the year.

Bonk is the biggest gainer among memecoins, reaching an all-year high that was 129 times its January 1 price. Pepe takes the second spot, offering price returns of up to 19 times at its yearly high.

4 out of the 49 blockchain ecosystems, made it into the top 15 crypto narratives in 2023. Among them are the Solana ecosystem, BRC-20s, the Ethereum (ETH) ecosystem, and the Avalanche (AVAX) ecosystem.

Each of these ecosystems had very strong narratives. They received attention as people looked for higher beta plays because its native token surged in prices. In 2023, we have Solana’s rise from the dead, the introduction of BRC-20s, the Ethereum Shanghai Upgrade in April, and a narrative akin to Solana's revival within the Avalanche ecosystem.

The Arbitrum ecosystem received significant attention in early 2023. However, it failed to break into the top 15 crypto narratives in 2023. This might be attributed to timing. It captured attention before the major market movement and attracted many newer players in the crypto space. Another factor could be the dilution of layer 2 solutions, with the launch of various new L2s in 2023. For example, Base, zkSync Era, and Mantle (MNT).

All Eyes on the Solana Ecosystem as Solana’s Price Surge 11X From Its Yearly Lows

The Solana ecosystem is the fourth most popular crypto narrative in 2023, accounting for 7.2% of the crypto narratives interest this year. Solana faced a period of market-wide capitulation, labeled a 'dead-chain' following FTX's collapse in November 2022. However, the narrative took a remarkable turn, plummeting to yearly lows of $9.96 on January 1, 2023, only to surge by 11 times, reaching its yearly high of $121.45 on December 26, 2023. This resurgence owes much to Solana's dedicated builders, who persisted in improving the chain and forging crucial partnerships with web2 giants like Shopify and Visa.

The Solana ecosystem had several noteworthy projects. Bonk, a meme coin, garnered attention by airdropping its tokens to Solana community members during the chain’s darkest times, signifying a turnaround for Solana. Jito (JITO) contributed as a liquid staking derivative protocol for Solana, while Pyth (PYTH) emerged as a prospective oracle aiming to rival Chainlink (LINK).

Bonk is also the top gainer in the Solana ecosystem, with price returns of up to 129 times. Orca is the second biggest gainer, offering price returns of up to 19 times at its yearly high.

BRC-20 Sparks Excitement for Bitcoin Ecosystem

BRC-20 is the fifth most popular crypto narrative in 2023, accounting for 7.1% of the crypto narratives interest this year. These fungible tokens on Bitcoin, ignited enthusiasm for the potential growth within the Bitcoin ecosystem. This surge in interest attracted builders and enthusiasts alike, fostering an influx of activity within the Bitcoin space.

Ordi (ORDI) was the first BRC-20 token. It also saw the most gains among the top BRC-20 tokens, reaching an all-year high of up to 5 times its price since May 8, 2023.

The 15 most popular crypto narratives of 2023, ranked by market share of investor interest are:

Rank Crypto Narrative Share of Investor Interest
1 Artificial Intelligence 11.32%
2 Gaming 10.49%
3 Meme Coins 8.32%
4 Solana Ecosystem 7.17%
5 BRC-20 7.10%
6 Real World Assets 6.48%
7 Layer 1 4.61%
8 DeFi 2.73%
9 Layer 2 2.47%
10 Ethereum Ecosystem 2.17%
11 Avalanche Ecosystem 2.08%
12 NFTs 2.02%
13 DePIN 1.82%
14 Smart Contract Platforms 1.80%
15 FTX Holdings 1.68%

Methodology

This study analyzed the most popular crypto narratives based on 139 CoinGecko categories’ web traffic from January 1, 2023 to December 21, 2023, excluding bot traffic. The top 15 crypto narratives are: artificial intelligence, gaming, meme Coins, Solana ecosystem, BRC-20, real world assets, layer 1, DeFi, layer 2, Ethereum ecosystem, Avalanche ecosystem, NFTs, DePIN, smart contract platforms, and FTX holdings.

This study is for illustrative and informational purposes only, and is not financial advice. Always do your own research and be careful when putting your money into any crypto or financial asset.


If you use these insights, we would appreciate a link credit to this article on CoinGecko. A link credit allows us to keep supplying you with data-led content that you may find useful.

Curious to find out more about our previous research studies & statistics? Check out this one we did on the biggest Bitcoin ETFs in the world.

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Nicholas Boey
Nicholas Boey

Nicholas is a Market Research Intern at CoinGecko. He can be seen crawling around the vast crypto space, be it NFTs, crypto or memecoins from time to time. People in web3 call him picnicmou. Follow the author on Twitter @picnicmou

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