From Bitcoin and Ethereum to Dogecoin and Tether, there are thousands of different cryptocurrencies, which can make it overwhelming when you’re first getting started in the world of crypto. To help you get your bearings, these are the top 10 cryptocurrencies based on their market capitalization, or the total value of all of the coins currently in circulation.
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Market cap: Over $400 billion
Ethereum, a smart contract platform for creating decentralized apps (DApps), was created in 2013 by many co-founders, including Vitalik Buterin. It engineered its own programming language for smart contracts, Solidity. To run your Solidity smart contracts on Ethereum’s blockchain, you pay a network gas fee in Ethereum’s token, Ether. Ethereum laid the foundation for what is now known as decentralized finance (DeFi). Ethereum’s early success has led to a large portion of the DeFi space relying on Ethereum’s blockchain.
As Ethereum converts to version 2.0 over the coming year, fees will decrease dramatically and a whole host of new DApps will get their chance to shine. The ticket to ride on the Ethereum blockchain is the Ether token (ETH), which is becoming more useful each day.
- Binance Coin (BNB)
- Market cap: Over $80 billion
The cryptocurrency of the world’s largest exchange can have a great growth during 2022, as long as it is easier and cheaper to transact with Binance crypto, there will be more movement in the market, which would influence the trading price.
Just like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Binance coin has garnered attention in a short span. It keeps a hard limit on the number of tokens in circulation. This has turned out to be the reason why its price increased exponentially in the year 2021. Well, we can definitely expect this cryptocurrency to reach a height in the coming year as well.
- Tether (USDT)
- Market cap: Over $78 billion
Unlike some other forms of cryptocurrency, Tether is a stablecoin, meaning it’s backed by fiat currencies like U.S. dollars and the Euro and hypothetically keeps a value equal to one of those denominations. In theory, this means Tether’s value is supposed to be more consistent than other cryptocurrencies, and it’s favored by investors who are wary of the extreme volatility of other coins.
- Solana (SOL)
- Market cap: Over $47 billion
Solana is one of the superstars of 2022, but the big question is: Can it keep growing? Its speed and cheap transactions are attracting a lot of developer interest, and it may continue to lead the Ethereum alternatives. However, it has already had a couple of technical issues and it isn’t clear if it can maintain its momentum.
- S. Dollar Coin (USDC)
- Market cap: Over $44 billion
Like Tether, USD Coin (USDC) is a stablecoin, meaning it’s backed by U.S. dollars and aims for a 1 USD to 1 USDC ratio. USDC is powered by Ethereum, and you can use USD Coin to complete global transactions.
- Market cap: Over $43 billion
Somewhat later to the crypto scene, Cardano is notable for its early embrace of proof-of-stake validation. This method expedites transaction time and decreases energy usage and environmental impact by removing the competitive, problem-solving aspect of transaction verification present in platforms like Bitcoin. Cardano also works like Ethereum to enable smart contracts and decentralized applications, which are powered by ADA, its native coin.
Cardano’s ADA token has had relatively modest growth compared to other major crypto coins. In 2017, ADA’s price was $0.02. As of Jan. 3, 2022, its price was at $1.34. This is an increase of 6,600%.
- XRP (XRP)
- Market cap: Over $37 billion
Created by some of the same founders as Ripple, a digital technology and payment processing company, XRP can be used on that network to facilitate exchanges of different currency types, including fiat currencies and other major cryptocurrencies.
At the beginning of 2017, the price of XRP was $0.006. As of Jan. 3, 2022, its price reached $0.83, equal to a rise of more than 13,700%.
- Terra (LUNA)
- Market cap: Over $29 billion
Terra was another of the top performing cryptos in 2021, but its stablecoin-based financial ecosystem continues to grow. It has several different stablecoins pegged to different currencies, all underpinned by its LUNA token.
- Polkadot (DOT)
- Market cap: Over $26 billion
2021 saw the rise of a host of Ethereum alternatives that offered faster and cheaper transactions. Polkadot performed well, but the problem it solves — interoperability — is still an issue. Right now we have several popular blockchain networks that aren’t good at talking to each other. As developers start to use a number of layer 1 blockchains, interoperability will be crucial.
- Avalanche (AVAX)
- Market cap: Over $23 billion
Avalanche is the fastest smart contracts platform as measured by time-to-finality, and has the most validators securing its activity of any proof-of-stake protocol.
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