It’s hard to argue that the crypto market is not in a bull market right now, but this run does show different characteristics and catalysts than the 2017 bull market. 

In 2017, investors were hyped by the allure of high returns from initial coin offerings (ICO) that promised much but delivered very little in the form of an actually working ‘product.’

Fast forward to 2020, and the current altcoin season has been primarily focused on lending, liquidity, and yield farming. Growing interest in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) was triggered by the four-digit APYs being earned from staking assets, besides the decentralized access to legacy assets via synthetic tokens. Moreover, pure speculation of buying and staking nonfungible tokens is driving the total crypto market capitalization to new highs.

Some blockchains offer delegated staking and while staking and node validation provide lucrative rewards to operators, deploying a node isn’t something that average users may find challenging. Even for more experienced users, setting up developer nodes might take time.

Ankr protocol allows easy access to multiple blockchains, including Ethereum, Polkadot, and Binance Smart Chain. By offering a cloud solution, users can deploy staking nodes and developer nodes in minutes instead of purchasing, setup, and then maintaining pricey setups on their own.

In February, ANKR had a $170 million market capitalization and was trading in a relatively flat range. Still, the most recent 137% rally kicked off as the project became a Binance Smart Chain validator.

As the token reached a $0.06 all-time-high on March 12, its market capitalization surpassed $400 million.

Ankr’s one-click solution also offers nodes for Eth2, Avalanche, Bitcoin, Celo, Cosmos, Decred, Matic, Qtum, Tezos, and many other blockchain networks. Moreover, Ankr will handle Eth2 staking with as little as 0.5 Ether, and the project provides instant liquidity by issuing a synthetic asset called aETH.

ANKR is the native governance token of the Ankr Staking platforms, and it also serves as a payment method for services, such as node deployment and app usage.

aETH gains traction

The use cases for aETH have been expanding after several successful collaborations with SushiSwap, Curve Finance, and Yearn Finance. These partnerships add to the token’s liquidity and yield optimization. Anker’s synthetic assets are also used in OnX Finance’s farming and lending offers.

Recent developments include a listing on HitBTC exchange on March 7, and on March 11, the protocol reached the number one position as a Binance Smart Chain validator.

On March 12, Binance Chain’s JulSwap DEX also announced a partnership with Ankr.

The new partnerships and Ankr’s track record of delivering on promised products are very favorable for the project, but the on-chain activity of the ERC-20 token has not picked up much. On average, less than 250 addresses have been active per day.

On the other hand, there has been increased use of ANKR tokens on the Binance Smart Chain network. This shows that the project has gained relevance both as a validator, and the aETH synthetic token is continuing to see increased use within its DEX ecosystem.

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro also began to detect a bullish outlook for Ankr on March 5, which is before the recent price rise.

The VORTECS™ score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historical and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points, including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements, and Twitter activity.

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ score began turning green on March 5 and on March 6 reached a high of 75, roughly twelve hours before ANKR price initiated a two-day 20% rally to $0.04.

Competition is ferocious, but Ankr has an edge

Although Ankr has a promising outlook, there are multiple competitors like Stakin, Stake.Fish, Stake Capital, and Staking Facilities that operate in the same sector. Nevertheless, reaching the number one position as a Binance Smart Chain validator gives Ankr some credibility and leverage.

Investors would do well to keep a close eye on how the aETH synthetic asset grows in size and integration in its staking, DEX, and yield farming solutions. Overall, Ankr seems to be in an excellent position to capture this fast-growing market.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.