Choosing among the thousands of cryptocurrencies available on the market may be mind-blowing for beginner investors. That’s why you may consider the top 10 digital assets with the largest market weight
What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital asset that doesn’t have a physical equivalent. Their existence is enabled by blockchain technology. Crypto transactions don’t require intermediaries such as banks or other financial institutions. These digital assets are either used for purchases or held as an investment.
The crypto market is highly volatile. Today, the total crypto market cap equals $995 billion. It is dominated by Bitcoin, having almost 39% of the market share. Stablecoins altogether take a 15.0% share of the total crypto market cap.
Here are the top 10 cryptocurrencies ranked by their market cap.
Bitcoin (BTC). Market cap: $388 billion
The pioneer of the crypto industry, Bitcoin has been in circulation for fourteen years. Unlike most modern altcoins, it uses the energy-consuming proof-of-work mechanism to verify transactions. Throughout the years, BTC has been accepted as a legal tender in El Salvador and the Central African Republic (CAR).
At the peak of its popularity and investor optimism, Bitcoin reached an all-time high of $68,800 per token. As of October 2022, a single BTC’s price is about $20K.
Ethereum (ETH). Market cap: $167 billion
After the Merge, Ethereum blockchain transitioned to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. It will cut Ethereum energy consumption by a massive 99.95% compared to the previously applied proof-of-work system. Besides sustainability improvement, the Merge will facilitate broad use of Ethereum’s computing power and blockchain-based apps. The upgrade brought a slight price increase – now ETH costs about $1,370.
Post-Merge, ETH transactions have also become cheaper. The fee metrics indicate that so-called gas fees declined about 61% after the event. Moreover, the next planned upgrades will further lower the fees. However, now the blockchain will face enhanced scrutiny from the SEC. The crypto staking process enabled by the Merge is very similar to traditional lending, making digital assets securities under SEC jurisdiction.
Tether (USDT). Market cap: $68 billion
Tether is the most valuable stablecoin in the market. It is backed by USD reserves, which include traditional currency and cash equivalents as well as other assets and receivables from loans to third parties. As with other fiat-backed stablecoins, the USDT cost is tied to the value of one U.S. dollar.
At the same time, Tether’s peg has been repeatedly questioned by regulators and market experts. For instance, the Wall Street Journal suggested that the stablecoin’s “thin cushion of equity” could cause market tumult if the liabilities of USDT outweigh its assets.
Binance Coin (BNB). Market cap: $47 billion
BNB is a proprietary coin of the popular crypto exchange Binance. It is currently worth $295, down 57% compared to the all-time-high $690 registered in May 2021.
Since its launch in 2017, BNB has expanded its use from settling transaction fees on Binance to trading itself, buying goods and services, payment processing and even booking travel arrangements.
U.S.Dollar Coin (USDC). Market cap: $46 billion
USD Coin is another stablecoin backed by U.S. dollars. Therefore, its token price aims for a 1 USD to 1 USDC ratio. USDC is powered by Ethereum, and you can use it to complete global transactions.
The Centre consortium, which is behind this asset, has two founding members: P2P payment services company Circle and the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange. Both firms have achieved regulatory compliance and claim that stablecoin’s cash reserves are verified by a major accounting firm.
XRP (XRP). Market cap: $25 billion
XRP cryptocurrency is often called Ripple just as the company behind its blockchain platform. The XRP Ledger, which is the backbone of the open-source payments Ripple protocol, uses a specific consensus mechanism called a Byzantine fault-tolerant agreement.
RippleNet customers can use XRP for sourcing liquidity in cross-border transactions, instead of pre-funding. It can serve as an intermediate mechanism of exchange between two currencies or networks as a temporary settlement layer. The cryptocurrency has a low cost of $0.5. At the same time, it reaches an impressive market cap due to the high circulating supply.
Binance USD (BUSD). Market cap: $21 billion
Binance USD (BUSD) is a fiat-backed stablecoin founded by Paxos and Binance. As other stablecoins, BUSD gives traders the ability to engage in transactions with other crypto assets while minimising the risk of volatility.
The BUSD ecosystem has grown exponentially in 2021, from a market cap of around $1B to over $14.6B. This growth is largely due to more user adoption as wallets, platforms and services, DEXes and CEXes started to support BUSD. Besides trading, BUSD can be used for yield farming and lending.
Cardano (ADA). Market cap: $14 billion
Cardano is a decentralised blockchain platform launched by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson. It’s greatly appreciated for deploying environmental-friendly and social projects. After unlocking Smart Contracts capability, developers received the possibility to create native tokens, multi-asset ledgers, and even issue stablecoins. Thus, many prominent projects started joining the Cardano ecosystem.
Moreover, Cardano’s latest upgrade, Vasil, is expected to bring “significant performance and capability” enhancements to the blockchain. At the same time, Cardano’s ADA token has had relatively modest growth over the years compared to other major crypto coins. It now costs $0.43.
Solana (SOL). Market cap: $12 billion
Solana is the fastest-growing crypto ecosystem. Not only is it widely seen as one of the main competitors to Ethereum with its smart contracts support, but also the blockchain has a constant expansion of innovative features such as blockchain gaming.
Today, SOL costs $34, growing by 17,500% in 2021. Moreover, Solana (SOL) adoption is greatly surpassing Ethereum. Between April and June, Solana blockchain witnessed 40 million daily transactions compared to the 1 million registered by Ethereum.
Dogecoin (DOGE). Market cap: $8 billion
One of the most popular “meme coins”, promoted by Elon Musk, Dogecoin has quickly developed its own online community, reaching a market capitalization of over $85 billion in 2021. Despite the ongoing crypto market slump, the cryptocurrency is still among the top 10 digital assets by market cap.
Dogecoin’s price in 2017 was $0.0002. By October 2022, its price stood at $0.06, up 29,900%.