Cryptocurrencies, by and large, crashed Thursday after Elon Musk’s surprise reversal on Bitcoin. But two lesser-known digital currencies have actually seen gains in the past 24 hours—with one of those nearly doubling in value.
Nano, a largely unknown cryptocurrency, has seen the biggest gains. As of 2:30 p.m. ET, the crypto was up 98% to $16.30, according to price data from Coindesk. Year to date, Nano is up 1,314%. Cardano, another little-known crypto, was up just under 12% to $1.93.
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Nano surged as high as 60% at one point. The liftoff began after Musk announced that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin for purchases. Musk said the company was concerned about the cryptocurrency's environmental footprint.
Unlike Bitcoin, Nano is not "mined"—a process that supports the network and offers crypto rewards for solving computational puzzles—and presents itself as an eco-friendly digital currency. People can receive Nano tokens simply by solving a captcha on a web page, letting people with low-end computers take part. Trading the cryptocurrency uses less energy, its boosters say.
Those enthusiasts were, predictably, touting Nano on Twitter today.
Until Musk thrust other cryptocurrencies’ use of fossil fuels into the spotlight, Nano’s ecological claims caught little notice. But some traders now apparently see potential—or at least a pumping opportunity. The crypto spiked from the $8 range to more than $17 after Musk’s tweet.
Nano is a newer cryptocurrency. Originally called RaiBlocks, it was created in 2015 by Colin LeMahieu, a software engineer who began focusing on its development full-time two years later. Nano doesn’t have the same track record of Bitcoin or other established cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum.
Nano is, like most cryptocurrencies, subject to wild volatility. Amid an earlier cryptocurrency industry-wide bull run, which peaked in January 2018, for example, it was valued as high as $37.62. By mid-August of that year, it was down to $1.36—and stayed locked in the $1-to-$2 range until the beginning of this year.
By Chris Morris