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The Motley Fool explains why Solana, Chainlink, and Polygon surged this week


The crypto market really came to life this week as speculation got to a fevered pitch over the potential approval of a Bitcoin (BTC 0.73%) ETF. Nothing has been given the go-ahead by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yet, but investors are definitely getting out in front of the potential news with Bitcoin up 14% over the past week. 

More interesting moves came from smaller tokens that could provide utility to the industry. According to data provided by , as of 3 p.m. ET, the value of Chainlink (LINK 10.01%) is up 44% since the market's close last week, Solana (SOL -1.70%) is up 18.2%, and Polygon (MATIC 10.72%) has jumped 13.2%. 

Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain

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What jumped out to me this week was Vodafone and Chainlink working together to "demonstrate the transformation of global trade through blockchain innovation." 

The test was intended to demonstrate the exchange of trade data across multiple platforms and blockchains, replacing "inefficient or unreliable paper or digital platforms." This is a real use case for the blockchain, and while it's not clear if Chainlink as a token will benefit from increased usage of the blockchain, investors bid up the asset nonetheless. 

Solana is one of the fastest and highest throughput blockchains and could be a big beneficiary if the industry starts to do more utility work on-chain. But it was also in the news as Sam Bankman-Fried took the stand in his own defense, arguing that his large position in Solana was bought using Alameda's profits. The collapse of FTX was one of the biggest drivers of the decline in Solana last year, so as that chapter moves further into the rear view mirror, the token itself has recovered. 

Polygon rose as a new token for the Polygon blockchain and any blockchains built on top of Polygon were launched. As part of "Polygon 2.0" a new POL token will be launched to replace the MATIC token and will be usable for the main blockchain along with supernets and the Polygon zkEVM network.

Innovation on the blockchain

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The growth in cryptocurrencies in 2020 and 2021 was originally driven by the innovation and utility the blockchain can provide. That was overrun by trading tokens over the next few years, but there were still companies and founders building products on the blockchain. 

We are seeing some of those projects come to light, like the Vodafone experiment and many other large companies accepting crypto payments or building their own smart contracts. I think long term this is what's going to drive the industry forward. 

As bullish as this is for blockchain usage, I'm not sure the value of tokens will stay high. Tokens are used to pay for some transactions on the blockchain, but stablecoins have taken a larger role in financial transactions, and that seems like a more efficient medium of transfer long term.

The market didn't see it that way this week, and whether it was speculation or utility, cryptocurrencies shot higher. 

Travis Hoium has positions in Solana. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Bitcoin, Chainlink, Polygon, and Solana. The Motley Fool recommends Vodafone Group Public. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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