When it comes to cryptocurrencies most of the people have heard of Bitcoin, but in fact there are thousands of other options when it comes to digital currencies and assests. They are usually called 'Altcoins'.
Although Bitcoin was the first major cryptocurrency - created in 2009 - many others have also become very popular. Here are the largest cryptocurrencies by the total dollar value of the coins in existence, also called market cap. (Source: CoinMarketCap.com, as of Feb. 2022)
Largest cryptocurrencies by market cap
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Market cap: $840 billion
Bitcoin hit the markets in 2009 created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then there has been a lot of volatility but Bitcoin still is the most popular cryptocurrency until today.
- Ether (ETH)
- Market cap: $380 billion
Ether is the native token of the Ethereum Blockchain. Ethereum is most popular for its smart contracts which allow the users of its network to perform a wide range of functions.
- Tether (USDT)
- Market cap: $78 billion
Tether is a so-called 'Stablecoin' and is pegged to the US-Dollar. While 'Stablecoins' can be pegged to a range of specific assets, Tethers ties to the USD has it anchored at the price of $1 per coin. Although Tether is the most popular Stablecoin a lot of people are concerned about its safety since Tether is not backed by dollars held in a reserve but by short-term unsecured debt.
- Binance Coin (BNB)
- Market cap: $70 billion
Binance Coin is the native currency of the Binance Smart Chain issued by the worlds biggest crypto exchange Binance. Initially, BNB was created as a token to pay for discounted trades but can be now used for payments as well as purchasing various tokens of other projects based on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC).
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Market cap: $52 billion
USD Coin is also a stablecoin like Tether pegged to the US-Dollar, meaning that its price should stay at $1. The currency is fully backed by reserved assests or those with 'equivalent fair value' and those assests are held in accounts with regulated U.S. institutions.
- XRP (XRP)
- Market cap: $42 billion
XRP was formerly known as Ripple and was created in 2021. XRP offers a way to pay in many different real-world curriencies. XRP's usecase are cross-border transactions and it uses a trust-less machanism to facilitate payments.
- Cardano (ADA)
- Market cap: $40 billion
ADA is the native currency of the Cardano platform. It was created by the co-founder of Ethereum and uses smart contracts as well.
- Solana (SOL)
- Market cap: $36 billion
The platform of Solana was just launched in 2020 and is best known for its speed at completing transactions and the ability of scalability. SOL is used as the native currency.
- Terra (LUNA)
- Market cap: $23 billion
Terra is a platform that helps backstop a range of stablecoins based on real currencies such as the US-Dollar or the Euro. Terra stabilizes the price of stablecoins through various technical aspects, and it also supports smart contracts.
- Avalanche (AVAX)
- Market cap: $22 billion
Avalanche acts as a fast and low-cost smart contracs-based blockchain. Its main focus is on building decentralized apps (DApps) and facilitating the creation of custom blockchains (Subnets). The native token is AVAX.