What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital asset that has no physical equivalent. Their existence is enabled by blockchain technology. Crypto transactions do not 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 capitalization equals $995 billion. It is dominated by Bitcoin, having almost 39% of the market share. In total, stablecoins hold a 15.0% share of the total crypto market cap.
Here are the top 10 cryptocurrencies ranked by their market capitalization.
- 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-intensive proof-of-work mechanism to verify transactions. Over the years, BTC has been accepted as legal tender in El Salvador and Central African Republic (CAR) .
At the height of its popularity and investor optimism, Bitcoin reached an all-time high of $68,800 per token. As of October 2022, the price of one BTC is around $20K.
- Ethereum (ETH). Market cap: $167 billion
After the merger, the blockchain of Ethereum switched to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. It will reduce Ethereum's energy consumption by a whopping 99,95% compared to the previously implemented Proof of Work system. In addition to improving sustainability, the merger will facilitate widespread use of Ethereum's computing power and blockchain-based applications. The upgrade resulted in a slight increase in price – ETH is now worth around $1370.
Since the merger, ETH transactions have also become cheaper. Charges figures show that so-called gas charges fell by around 61% after the event. Furthermore next planned upgrades will further reduce fees. However, blockchain will now face increased scrutiny from the SEC. The crypto staking process enabled by the merger is very similar to traditional lending, making digital assets securities under the jurisdiction of the SEC.
- Tether (USDT). Market cap: $68 billion
Tether is the most valuable stablecoin on the market. It is backed by US dollar reserves, which include traditional currency and cash equivalents, as well as other assets and loan receivables from third parties. As with other fiat-backed stablecoins, the price of USDT is tied to the value of one US dollar.
At the same time, Tether's fixation has been repeatedly questioned by regulators and market experts. For example, the Wall Street Journal assumes , that the stablecoin's "thin equity cushion" could cause market turmoil if USDT's liabilities exceed its assets.
- Binance Coin (BNB). Market capitalization: $47 billion
BNB is the proprietary coin of the popular crypto exchange Binance . It is currently priced at $295, down 57% from the all-time high of $690 recorded in May 2021.
Since its launch in 2017, BNB has expanded its use from settling Binance transaction fees to trading itself, purchasing goods and services, processing payments, and even booking travel.
- Dollar coin (USDC). Market cap: $46 billion
USD Coin is another USD-backed stable coin. Therefore, its token price is aiming for a ratio of 1 USD to 1 USDC. USDC is powered by Ethereum and you can use it to make global transactions.
The Center consortium behind this asset has two founders: the P2P payment services company Circle and the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. Both firms have achieved regulatory compliance and claim that the stablecoin's cash reserves are audited by a major accounting firm.
- XRP (XRP). Market cap: $25 billion
The cryptocurrency XRP is often referred to as Ripple just like the company behind its blockchain platform. The XRP Ledger, which is the backbone of Ripple's open source payments protocol, uses a specific consensus mechanism called the Byzantine fault tolerance agreement.
RippleNet customers can use XRP to provide liquidity for cross-border transactions instead of pre-funding. It can serve as an intermediary exchange mechanism between two currencies or networks as a temporary settlement layer. The cryptocurrency has a low price of $0.5. At the same time, it reaches an impressive market capitalization due to the large circulating supply.
- Binance USD (BUSD). Market cap: $21 billion
Binance USD (BUSD) is a fiat-backed stablecoin founded by Paxos and Binance. Like other stablecoins, BUSD enables traders to engage in transactions with other crypto assets while minimizing the risk of volatility.
The BUSD ecosystem grew exponentially in 2021 from a market cap of around $1 billion to over $14.6 billion. This growth is largely due to greater user adoption as wallets, platforms and services, DEX and CEX started supporting BUSD. Apart from trading, BUSD can be used for income cultivation and lending.
- Cardano (ADA). Market cap: $14 billion
Cardano is a decentralized blockchain platform started by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson. It is very valuable for implementing environmental and social projects. After unlocking the ability for smart contracts, developers were given the ability to create their own tokens, multi-asset ledgers, and even issue stablecoins. Thus, many prominent projects have started to join the Cardano ecosystem.
Also, the latest Cardano upgrade, Vasil , is expected to bring “significant improvements in performance and capabilities” to the blockchain. At the same time, Cardano's ADA token has seen relatively modest growth over the years compared to other major crypto coins. Now worth $0.43.
- Solana (SOL). Market cap: $12 billion
Solana is the fastest growing crypto ecosystem. Not only is it widely perceived as one of Ethereum's main competitors with its support for smart contracts, but the blockchain also has a steady expansion of innovative features such as blockchain gaming.
Today, SOL is worth $34, growing by 17,500% in 2021. Also the adoption of Solana (SOL) significantly surpasses Ethereum . Between April and June, the Solana blockchain witnessed 40 million transactions per day compared to 1 million recorded by Ethereum.
- Dogecoin (DOGE). Market cap: $8 billion
One of the most popular "meme coins" popularized by Elon Musk, Dogecoin has rapidly developed its own online community, reaching a market capitalization of over $85 billion in 2021. Despite the ongoing decline of the crypto market, the cryptocurrency is still among the top 10 digital assets by market capitalization.
Dogecoin price in 2017 was $0.0002. By October 2022, its price stands at $0.06, an increase of 29,900%.