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12 most popular types of cryptocurrency

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Although Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, there are many other digital currencies available, known as “altcoins” or alternatives to Bitcoin. Bitcoin often overshadows these options in media coverage and discussions.

Although Bitcoin was the first major cryptocurrency to emerge in 2009, many other digital currencies have gained significant popularity since then, even if they are not as large as Bitcoin.

These are the top cryptocurrencies ranked by their market capitalization, which is the total value of all the coins in circulation, as of March 8, 2023, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com.

Largest cryptocurrencies by market cap

1. Bitcoin (BTC)

  • Price: $27,487
  • Market cap: $532 billion

Bitcoin, which was introduced by its mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, is considered the pioneer of cryptocurrencies. Although its value has fluctuated since then, it wasn’t until 2017 that it gained widespread attention and became a common point of reference when discussing digital currency.

2. Ethereum (ETH)

  • Price: $1,837
  • Market cap: $226 billion

The cryptocurrency platform known as Ethereum is highly recognizable in the crypto space. It enables you to utilize its currency, ether, for various purposes. Ethereum’s smart contract feature contributes to its widespread popularity.

3. Tether (USDT)

  • Price: $1.00
  • Market cap: $83 billion

Tether is a stablecoin and its value is always fixed at $1 per coin. This stability is achieved by tying the value of Tether to the U.S. Dollar. Tether is commonly used as a bridge currency when trading between different cryptocurrencies instead of converting back to dollars. However, there are concerns that Tether may not be fully backed by reserves in dollars and instead may rely on unsecured debt in the short-term.

4. BNB (BNB)

  • Price: $315.70
  • Market cap: $49 billion

Binance, one of the biggest crypto exchanges globally, has created a cryptocurrency called BNB. Initially designed as a token for reduced trade fees, Binance Coin can now be utilized to make payments and buy different products and services.

5. USD Coin (USDC)

  • Price: $1.00
  • Market cap: $30 billion

USD Coin is a stablecoin similar to Tether, which means its value should remain stable and not fluctuate. According to the currency’s founders, it is backed by fully reserved assets or those with an equivalent fair value. These assets are held in regulated U.S. institutions.

6. XRP (XRP)

  • Price: $0.4273
  • Market cap: $22 billion

XRP, previously known as Ripple, was created in 2012. It enables payments in a variety of real-world currencies and can be beneficial for cross-border transactions. XRP uses a trust-less mechanism to facilitate payments.

7. Cardano (ADA)

  • Price: $0.3712
  • Market cap: $13 billion

The name of the cryptocurrency is ADA, and Cardano is the platform it operates on. The creator of Ethereum also created Cardano. Smart contracts are used on Cardano, which allows for identity management.

8. Dogecoin (DOGE)

  • Price: $0.07275
  • Market cap: $10 billion

Dogecoin was initially created as a humorous response to the rise in Bitcoin’s popularity, and it’s named after a Shiba Inu dog meme commonly found on the internet. Unlike most digital currencies that have a finite number of coins in circulation, Dogecoin can be endlessly produced. It serves as a means of payment and a way of sending money.

9. Solana (SOL)

  • Price: $21.45
  • Market cap: $8 billion

Solana is a recently introduced cryptocurrency that emphasizes its fast transaction processing and a platform that can handle large volumes of traffic. The available supply of currency, known as SOL, is limited to 480 million coins and was launched in March 2020.

10. Polygon (MATIC)

  • Price: $0.8698
  • Market cap: $8 billion

Polygon is a type of cryptocurrency aimed toward digital app creators that enhances the scalability of Ethereum. Originally called Matic, it was established in 2017 and underwent a name change to Polygon in 2021.

11. Litecoin (LTC)

  • Price: $88.28
  • Market cap: $6 billion

Litecoin, a cryptocurrency based on Bitcoin’s source code, was introduced in 2011. It is one of the oldest digital currencies and is widely available for trading at various brokers. Despite not being cryptocurrency specialists, brokers offer Litecoin trading. The maximum supply of Litecoin is fixed at 84 million coins.

12. Polkadot (DOT)

  • Price: $5.39
  • Market cap: $6 billion

Polkadot is a digital currency that was launched in May 2020 and links blockchain technology from various cryptocurrencies. One of Ethereum’s co-founders helped create Polkadot, and some analysts think it aims to surpass Ethereum’s popularity.

Bottom line

While the U.S. government is taking a more active role in overseeing the crypto space, the cryptocurrency market is still an unregulated frontier. Therefore, it is essential for those speculating in these digital assets only to invest an amount they can afford to lose. Although the beginning of 2023 has seen some instability in trading and prices, crypto investments have been under downward pressure for much of 2022. Furthermore, it is crucial to consider that novice investors often trade against highly sophisticated players, making it a challenging and risky experience.

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