What are the top Cryptocurrencies?
There are currently over 6,600 cryptocurrencies across the market, but let’s be honest – a large majority of these are garbage (aka ‘Shitcoins’). There’s no point in dressing up that fact in any other way. At this stage in the evolution of crypto, the top 15 cryptocurrencies are hugely dominant and are worth knowing about, as are many other really interesting, genuine and technologically advanced projects. Some of these will no doubt go on to become big winners in future. The list below outlines some of the top coins and tokens and provides a guide and overview of the major cryptocurrencies in the market today.
With thousands of cryptocurrencies out there, the total market cap of crypto is currently in excess of $200 billion. However the distribution is hugely skewed towards the major cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in particular. To give you an idea of the dominance of the top 10, consider the following facts. Bitcoin and Ethereum represent 74% of the total market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies worldwide, whilst the top 10 cryptocurrencies contribute 88% of total crypto market cap.
What is the Number 1 Cryptocurrency?
As you can imagine, Bitcoin is the number one cryptocurrency. As the first mover and most famous of the cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is hugely dominant. Bitcoin makes up 64% of the total market cap of cryptocurrencies worldwide.
What is the best Cryptocurrency to invest in?
That is a decision for each individual investor. Crypto On-Ramp does not provide investment advice or investment recommendations. Crypto On-Ramp strongly recommends that you perform your own independent research, conduct your own due diligence and speak with a qualified investment professional before making any financial decisions. However it is hoped that the information on this website will help you to understand more about the world of cryptocurrencies and the potential that this technology promises in an ever changing world. It’s an exciting area that we are passionate about and hope you appreciate the content on Crypto On-Ramp.
- Bitcoin is the original digital cryptocurrency, created in January 2009. It follows the ideas set out in a whitepaper published by the mysterious and pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity has never been revealed or verified. Unlike fiat currency, Bitcoin is created, distributed, traded and stored with the use of a decentralised ledger system known as the blockchain.
- The concept behind Bitcoin enabled a digital currency in which a record of transactions is maintained on the blockchain and new units of currency are generated by the computational solution of mathematical problems. There are no physical Bitcoins, only balances kept on a public ledger in the cloud. Bitcoin’s consensus mechanism is Proof of Work.
- Bitcoin is operated by a decentralised authority, independent of any central bank, unlike government-issued currencies.
- Bitcoin is the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation and is generally now regarded as an asset and potential store of value rather than a transactional currency.
- Bitcoin's history as a store of value has been turbulent – its price skyrocketed to $20,000 per coin in late 2017, but has since dropped back significantly. As the first cryptocurrency to gain widespread popularity and success, Bitcoin has inspired a plethora of offshoots and new ‘altcoins’.
- Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, but it’s important to understand that it is so much more than that. Launched in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is an open-source, blockchain-based, decentralised software platform used for its own cryptocurrency, Ether.
- Ethereum is the community-built technology behind the cryptocurrency Ether (ETH) and powers thousands of applications in use today, especially those in the decentralised Finance (DeFi) space. Ethereum enables smart contracts and distributed applications to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from any third party.
- Ethereum was developed as a Turing Complete blockchain. Turing Complete refers to a machine that, given enough time and memory along with the necessary instructions, can solve any computational problem, irrespective of the complexity. This is critical because it needs to understand the agreements which make up smart contracts. Turing Completeness enables Ethereum to understand and implement any future agreement, even those that have not been conceptualised yet. In other words, Ethereum’s Turing Completeness means that it is able to use its code base to perform virtually any task, as long as it has the correct instructions, enough time and sufficient processing power.
- Ethereum is censorship-resistant - no government or company has central control. This decentralisation makes it near impossible for anyone to stop payments or services on the Ethereum network.
- As a decentralised system, Ethereum is fully autonomous and not controlled by anyone. It has no central point of failure, as it is being run from thousands of volunteers’ computers around the world. This means it can never go offline.
- Although constantly compared to Bitcoin, the two are completely different projects with entirely different goals. Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency and a system of digital money transfer built on a distributed public ledger technology called the Blockchain. Ethereum took this Blockchain technology and substantially expanded its capabilities to offer the attributes described above.
- Tether is a cryptocurrency designed to track the value of the U.S. dollar. Therefore it is far less volatile than other cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, as it is pegged to USD.
- Tether is a stablecoin – the concept is to create a stable cryptocurrency that can be utilised like digital dollars. Stablecoins make it easy to move currency between exchanges and wallets, much quicker and cheaper than fiat currency.
- Each Tether (USDT) is pegged one to one to the dollar and backed by their reserves, so 1 USDT = 1 USD. Tether publish daily the value of their reserves, which are always either the same or more than the value of all USDT in circulation.
- Tether is the most popular stablecoin and now the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap. It has remained relatively stable since its introduction back in 2015.
- Many exchanges offer USDT as a trading pair, offering liquidity to exchanges that don’t trade directly in fiat or with banks.
- Tether had a controversial beginning, with questions over its collateral reserves and its relationship with the Bitfinex exchange, however USDT has now become firmly established as the stablecoin of choice. Trust is extremely important, so the belief that 1 UDST = 1 USD is critical. Due to the centralised nature of Tether, it is imperative to be able to verify fully the system and their reserves.
Binance Coin (BNB)
- Binance Coin (BNB) is a digital currency issued by Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
- BNB is based on the Ethereum blockchain and similar to Ether.
- The Binance Coin token fuels all operations on Binance.com and fees paid in BNB on the exchange receive a discount. These fees include trading, exchange and listing fees.
- BNB now also supports Binance Smart Chain - Binance's own smart contracts platform, which emulates Ethereum.
- BNB operates a proof of Stake consensus protocol and can be staked, offering a healthy yield for investors in the BNB token.
- BNB is also be traded on supported cryptocurrency exchanges.
- Cardano is home to the ADA cryptocurrency, which can be used to send and receive digital funds.
- Cardano is not only a cryptocurrency, but also a technological platform that will be capable of running financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organisations and governments all around the world.
- Cardano will also run decentralised applications (dapps), services not controlled by any single party but instead operate on a blockchain.
- Cardano is a blockchain project that claims to have been developed from a scientific philosophy and the only one to be designed and built by a global team of leading academics and engineers.
- A major innovation of Cardano is that it will balance the needs of users with those of regulators, and in doing so combine privacy with regulation.
- The vision for Cardano is that its new style of regulated computing will bring greater financial inclusion by providing open access for all to fair financial services.
- What is Dogecoin? Dogecoin was introduced in 2013 to bring a sense of humour into the cryptosphere - something that a lot of people could relate to. The idea centred on a blockchain platform where people could have a sense of belonging and fun. Dogecoin features a likeness of the Shiba Inu dog from the "Doge" internet meme as its logo.
- Dogecoin quickly developed its own dedicated online community and its market capitalisation rose accordingly.
- Compared with other cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin had a fast initial coin production schedule: 100 billion coins were in circulation by mid-2015, with an additional 5.256 billion coins every year thereafter. By mid-2015, the 100 billionth Dogecoin had been mined. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, where scarcity has a positive influence on value appreciation, Dogecoin is designed to depreciate, in the same way that quantitative easing (i.e. printing new money) impacts fiat currencies.
- While there are few mainstream commercial applications, the currency has gained traction as an internet tipping currency, by which social media users grant Dogecoin tips to other users for providing interesting or noteworthy content.
- Dogecoin is a decentralised, peer-to-peer digital currency that can easily be exchanged online. Dogecoin operates the proof of work (PoW) consensus mechanism.
- In 2020, Dogecoin gained significant attention after a TikTok user began urging followers to buy Dogecoin, claiming they could "all get rich" by pushing its value to $1 per coin. The #TikTokDogecoinChallenge has since attracted hundreds of thousands of views on the app and began trending on Twitter, pumping Dogecoin's volume and price. COR prediction: it'll all end in tears!
- Most recently, in the wake of the GameStop (GME) saga, with Reddit users on r/wallstreetbets (WSB) and Robinhood traders pumping the stock price, a similar surge took off with Dogecoin. Yet again, social media was awash with calls for people to buy DOGE and pump the price towards $1. DOGE surged over 300% in a day and even briefly made an appearance in the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap, overtaking Bitcoin in volume on the day! COR prediction: it'll all end in tears!
- XRP is a peer-to-peer powered cryptocurrency designed to allow fast, direct and secure payments on the internet. Founded in 2012, XRP aims to lower transaction costs for banks and payment providers, making cross-border payments more cost-effective as they don’t need lots of intermediary transfers. Their goal is to be able to move value around as quickly as information.
- XRP runs on the Ripple platform and protocol - a real time gross settlements exchange and money transfer system. Ripple operates on an open-source and peer-to-peer decentralised platform that allows for a seamless transfer of money in any form, whether USD, EUR or Bitcoin.
- Ripple transactions use less energy than Bitcoin, are confirmed in seconds and cost very little, whereas Bitcoin's proof of work transactions use more energy, take longer to confirm and include higher transaction costs.
- Unlike Bitcoin, XRP is not mined; instead, transactions are handled by validators who maintain a shared ledger. Each validator has a Unique Node List (UNL) of trusted validators. They each vote and if at least 80% vote valid, then the transaction is updated in the ledger. XRP is fast and scalable and can handle more transactions per second than Bitcoin.
- XRP has a maximum supply of 100 billion, i.e. 100 billion XRP existed in the genesis ledger. There is no way to create more. This total supply decreases over time as transaction fees attached to each XRP transaction are destroyed. Currently some 99.9933 billion XRP remain.
- XRP can be divided into 6 decimal places, with the smallest denomination called a ‘drop’.
USD Coin (USDC)
- USD Coin (USDC) is a stablecoin backed by US dollars, which are held in reserve by regulated financial institutions.
- In short, USD Coin is a service to tokenise US dollars and facilitate their use over the internet and public blockchains.
- The tokens themselves are also issued by regulated financial institutions and every token can be redeemed for one dollar — effectively providing a price stable cryptocurrency.
- USD Coin is an Ethereum token, so you can store it in an Ethereum-compatible wallet. USDC can be changed back to USD at any time. The execution of issuing and redeeming USDC tokens is ensured with ERC-20 smart contract.
- USD Coin is designed to let dollars move globally from your crypto wallet to other exchanges, businesses, and people.
- USDC was launched on in 2018 in collaboration between Circle and Coinbase.
- USDC is an alternative to other USD-backed cryptocurrencies like Tether (USDT).
- Polkadot was founded by British engineer, Dr Gavin Wood, who began originating blockchain technology as co-founder and CTO of Ethereum. Polkadot is a blockchain protocol that connects a group of specialised blockchains together into one network, with the goal of helping to put control of the web into the hands of individuals, instead of internet monopolies.
- Polkadot is built to connect private and consortium chains, public and permissionless networks, oracles, and future technologies that are yet to be created. Polkadot facilitates an internet where independent blockchains can exchange information and transactions in a trustless way via the Polkadot relay chain. Polkadot makes it easier than ever to create and connect decentralized applications, services, and institutions.
- DOT is the Polkadot network token.
- Polkadot allows each blockchain to have its own specialised design, so it can be modelled for specific use, increasing efficiency and security.
- It is a very scalable protocol, as the network can handle transactions on multiple chains in parallel, unlike blockchains in isolation that can only process a limited amount of transactions. Polkadot’s scalability creates the ideal condition for promising future adoption, innovation and growth.
- One major advantage of Polkadot is that unlike many other blockchains that require a hard fork to upgrade, Polkadot enables forkless upgrades, so it can run efficiently and stay up to date with the most recent technological improvements.
- Polkadot also allows cross-chain communication, so networks can share information without worrying about the use of their data by a central organisation, therefore paving the way for future decentralised economies.
- The blockchain protocol makes flexible improvements easy, as teams on Polkadot can make changes over time and adapt the blockchain’s governance to suit their needs.
- Chainlink (LINK) is an Ethereum token that powers the Chainlink decentralised oracle network.
- Chainlink is a platform which attempts to bridge the gap between smart contracts on the blockchain and real-world applications, i.e. off the blockchain.
- The LINK cryptocurrency uses ‘oracles’ which find and verify real-world data and bring it ‘on-chain’ to be integrated into smart contracts. This network allows smart contracts on Ethereum to securely connect to external data sources, APIs, and payment systems.
- The Chainlink developers believe that although smart contracts may revolutionise many industries by replacing the need for traditional legal agreements, the underlying consensus protocols related to blockchain technology result in smart contracts being unable to effectively communicate with external systems.
- Through the release of APIs and other platforms, the developers plan to enhance the applicability and usability of smart contracts across the business world.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Bitcoin Cash is a cryptocurrency created in 2017 by a fork of Bitcoin. This fork was proposed because suggested updates to the Bitcoin protocol were not universally accepted, consequently a hard fork was initiated and the new BCH coins came into existence.
- In 2018 Bitcoin Cash subsequently split into two altcoins: Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV).
- Bitcoin was originally created to act as a peer to peer payment system for daily transactions; however, it has limitations with speed and scalability. Transactions are not confirmed instantly and can get stuck in a long queue resulting in high transaction fees. This limits Bitcoin’s use as a payment system, instead becoming more of a store of value and investment.
- Bitcoin Cash increases the size of blocks, allowing more transactions to be processed per second. Bitcoin has a 1MB limit on block size, whereas Bitcoin Cash can accommodate an increased block size of 8 to 32MB.
- The increased volume of transactions per block will help Bitcoin Cash to compete with large multinational payment processors, who tend to charge high fees for cross border transactions.
- Bitcoin Cash also differs from Bitcoin in another respect. It does not incorporate Segregated Witness (SegWit), another solution proposed to accommodate more transactions per block.
- As with Bitcoin, the total supply of Bitcoin Cash is limited to 21 million.
- Launched in 2011, Litecoin is an alternative cryptocurrency based on the model of Bitcoin.
- Litecoin is based on an open source global payment network and is not controlled by any central authority.
- Litecoin is a popular and important cryptocurrency as it allows instant, borderless transactions globally, making it an effective online payment system.
- Litecoin differs from Bitcoin in features such as faster block generation rate and the use of script as a proof of work scheme. The Litecoin network generates a new block every 2.5 minutes, in comparison with Bitcoin that generates a new block every 10 minutes. Due to blocks being generated quicker, Litecoin can deal with more transactions than Bitcoin.
- The decentralised online payment system has very low transactions fees, regardless of the size of the transaction - far lower than payment systems such as PayPal.
- There is a limited supply of 84 million Litecoins. Blocks are verified using the mining software and the first miner to verify a block currently receives 12.5 Litecoins. However this value is halved every 4 years, with the next halving in 2023, until the final Litecoin has been mined. This information is visible to any miner.
- Consensus mechanism is Proof of Work.