From Bitcoin and Ethereum to Dogecoin and Tether, there are thousands of different cryptocurrencies, which can make it overwhelming when you get started in the crypto world. To help you get your bearings, here are the top 10 cryptocurrencies based on their market capitalization, or the total value of all the coins currently in circulation.
Created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin (BTC) is the original cryptocurrency. Like most cryptocurrencies, BTC runs on a blockchain, or ledger of transactions spread across a network of thousands of computers. Because additions to distributed ledgers must be verified by solving a cryptographic puzzle, a process called proof of work, bitcoin remains safe and protected from fraudsters.
The price of bitcoin has skyrocketed as it has become a household name. In May 2016, you could buy a bitcoin for around $500. On May 1, 2022, the price of a single Bitcoin was over $38,000. This represents a growth of more than 7,500%.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
Both a cryptocurrency and a blockchain platform, Ethereum is a favorite among program developers for its potential uses, such as so-called smart contracts that run automatically when the conditions are met and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Ethereum has also experienced tremendous growth. From April 2016 to early May 2022, the price rose from about $11 to over $2,700, an increase of nearly 25,000%.
Unlike some other forms of cryptocurrencies, Tether is a stablecoin, meaning it is backed by fiat currencies such as the US dollar and the euro and hypothetically has a value equal to one of those denominations. In theory, this means that Tether’s value is believed to be more constant than other cryptocurrencies, and it is favored by investors wary of the extreme volatility of other coins.
3. Binance (BNB)
Binance Coin is a form of cryptocurrency that you can use to trade and pay fees on Binance, one of the largest crypto exchanges (exchanges) in the world.
Since its launch in 2017, Binance Coin has grown beyond just facilitating trading on the Binance exchange. Now it can be used for commerce, payment processing or even travel booking. It can also be traded or exchanged for other forms of cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum or Bitcoin.
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The price of BNB in 2017 was only $0.10. By the beginning of May 2022, the price had risen to about $383, a gain of about 350,000%.
4. Solana (SOL)
Solana was developed to enable decentralized financial usage (DeFi), decentralized applications (DApps), and smart contracts. It operates on a unique hybrid proof-of-stake and proof-of-history mechanism that allows transactions to be processed quickly and securely. SOL, Solana’s native token, powers the platform.
At launch in 2020, the price of SOL was $0.77. On May 1, 2022, the price was about $87, a gain of more than 11,000%.
Created by some of the same founders as Ripple, a digital technology and payment processing company, XRP can be used on this network to facilitate trading of various types of currencies, including fiat currencies and other major cryptos.
In early 2017, the price of XRP was $0.006. As of May 1, 2022, the price has reached $0.59, which is equivalent to an increase of more than 9,800%.
6. Cardano (ADA)
A little later in the crypto scene, Cardano is known for its early adoption of proof-of-stake validation. This method speeds up transaction time and reduces energy consumption and environmental impact by removing the competitive and problem-solving aspect of transaction verification in platforms such as Bitcoin. Cardano also works like Ethereum to enable smart contracts and decentralized applications powered by ADA, its native currency.
Cardano’s ADA token has experienced relatively modest growth compared to other major cryptocurrencies. In 2017, the price of ADA was $0.02. On May 1, 2022, the price was $0.77. This is an increase of 3,750%.