From Bitcoin and Ethereum to Dogecoin and Tether, there are thousands of different cryptocurrencies that can make it difficult to get started in the cryptocurrency world. To help you get your bearings, here are the top 10 cryptocurrencies based on their market capitalization or the total value of all coins currently in circulation.
Bitcoin (BTC), created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, is the original cryptocurrency. Like most cryptocurrencies, BTC runs on a blockchain, or ledger of transactions, distributed over a network of thousands of computers. Since additions to distributed ledgers must be verified by solving a cryptographic puzzle, a process called proof-of-work keeps bitcoin safe and fraud-free.
The price of bitcoin has skyrocketed since it became a household name. In May 2016, you could buy Bitcoin for around $500. As of May 1, 2022, the price of one bitcoin was over $38,000. This means an increase of more than 7500%.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
Both a cryptocurrency and a blockchain platform, Ethereum is a favorite among software developers due to its potential applications such as so-called smart contracts that are automatically executed when conditions are met, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Ethereum has also shown huge growth. From April 2016 to early May 2022, its price rose from around $11 to over $2,700, an increase of nearly 25,000%.
Unlike some other forms of cryptocurrencies, Tether is a stablecoin, which means that it is backed by fiat currencies such as the US dollar and Euro and hypothetically has a value equal to any of those denominations. In theory, this means that the value of Tether should be more constant than other cryptocurrencies, and is preferred by investors who fear 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 cryptocurrency exchanges (exchanges) in the world.
Since its launch in 2017, Binance Coin has gone beyond simply facilitating trading on the Binance exchange. Now it can be used to trade, process payments, or even book trips. It can also be sold or exchanged for other forms of cryptocurrency such as Ethereum or Bitcoin.
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The price of BNB in 2017 was only $0.10. In early May 2022, its price rose to around $383, up 350,000%.
4. Solana (sun)
Designed to enable decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized applications (DApps), and smart contracts, Solana uses a unique hybrid stake-verification and history-verification mechanism to help process transactions quickly and securely. SOL, Solana’s native token, supports the platform.
At launch in 2020, SOL was priced at $0.77. As of May 1, 2022, its price was around $87, up 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 the trading of various types of currencies, including fiat currencies and other major cryptocurrencies.
At the beginning of 2017, the price of XRP was $0.006. As of May 1, 2022, its price has reached $0.59, which is equivalent to an increase of more than 9800%.
6. Cardano (ADA)
A little later in the crypto scene, Cardano is known for its early implementation of Proof-of-Stake verification. This method speeds up transaction times and reduces energy consumption and environmental impact by eliminating the competition and problem solving aspect of verifying transactions found on platforms like bitcoin. Cardano also works like Ethereum, enabling smart contracts and decentralized applications based on ADA, its native currency.
The Cardano ADA token has shown relatively modest growth compared to other major cryptocurrencies. In 2017, the price of ADA was $0.02. As of May 1, 2022, its price was $0.77. This is an increase of 3750%.