Last Updated on Feb 28, 2022 by Gayathri Ravi

Cryptocurrency is essentially digital money – or currency with no physical equivalent. Most cryptocurrencies are, in fact, characterised by the absence of fiat currency (or traditional, physical money) that needs to be centralised to control its printing/ minting. 

Cryptocurrency uses what is known as blockchain technology, which makes it impossible to counterfeit. A blockchain is basically a ledger that stores data about who owns cryptocurrency and who sold the currency. Instead of a regular ledger that stores and displays data in columns and tables, a blockchain stores data in digital blocks and displays them as lines of code. 

You may have heard of Bitcoin, the world’s most well-known and first-ever cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is only one among over 8000 cryptocurrencies out there.


With such a wide variety, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are often unsure of which one they should invest in.  Are you trying to figure out which cryptocurrency you should buy? Well, that’s a potentially million-dollar question (quite possibly literally, given the extent to which some cryptos have appreciated). 

Let’s discuss some important currencies and their market cap to know more. 

This article covers: 

Top 15 cryptocurrencies according to market cap 

Today,  the global crypto market stands at a market cap of $2.11 tn. India, for context, is a $3.1 tn economy. This is enough proof of the popularity of these currencies and their potential future. Below are the top 15 cryptocurrencies in view of the market cap. 

But before we dive in, you need to familiarise yourself with the term ‘stable coin’ as the list may contain quite a few of them. 

A stable coin can be described as a cryptocurrency aimed to reduce volatility by pegging to a stable asset. Fiat currency makes the most popular choice for these stablecoins. It tracks the most popular national currencies like the Dollar, Euro, and even the British Pound.

Now, let’s get started!

1. Bitcoin (BTC)

The world’s most well-known cryptocurrency is worth $41,876.60 (as of 18 January 2022), standing at a market cap of $792,845,499,073, the highest amongst all coins. During its launch about 14 years ago, the value of Bitcoin was less than a dollar. 

The coin is the most debated in light of its usage and potential future, thanks to the threat from Ethereum and its growing popularity.  Also, China banning the mining/trading of Bitcoin clubbed with various geopolitical decisions on cryptos, taxes, etc., could significantly affect this coin’s value. 

2. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is the world’s best-known cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, and its popularity is rather evident in its value, that as of 18 January 2022, is  $3,157.27. The market cap of this coin stands at $376,436,972,880. 

While Bitcoin trades at nearly 13x of Ethereum, the latter’s potential as a coin and blockchain is arguably the best around the globe. Most experts feel that Ethereum may soon surpass Bitcoin price and become the number one cryptocurrency.

3. Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance Coin (BNB) is an exchange token established and distributed by Binance. BNB was first launched as a token on the Ethereum blockchain in July 2017 and then transferred to Binance Chain in February 2019 to become Binance Chain’s native coin. It is currently trading at $467.58 with a current market capital of $78,55,87,13,662.

4.Tether USDT

There is a lot of talk among crypto investors that one should use Tether to protect yourself against volatility. It is one of the stable coins with a market cap of $77,999,183,564, trading at $0.99. The launch price in 2014 (when its name was RealCoin), the launch price was a little less than a dollar. 

5. Cardano (ADA)

Cardano has been gaining traction amidst the tremendous backlash that cryptocurrencies are receiving for having a high carbon footprint. Cardano uses a mining technique that is supposedly less energy-intensive. Cardano OR ADA value as of today is about $1.53. Interestingly, it started out at about $0.09 (against dollar value today)  when it was launched.  It sits on a market cap of $49,057,230,760 as of 18 January 2022. 

6. USD Coin (USDC)

USDC is a fully collateralized stable coin backed by the US dollar. USDC serves as a link between dollars and cryptocurrency trading. It stands at $1.01 as of today and holds a market cap of $45,796,499,638. 

7. Solana (SOL)

Solana is a high-throughput blockchain based on the Proof of History (PoH) and Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms. Solana, like Ethereum, is a general-purpose blockchain. It has a current market cap of $43,358,856,453 and currently is trading at $137.87.

8. Ripple (XRP)

Ripple is a privately held fintech business that uses its patented Ripple Network payment to deliver a global payment solution. Ripple, unlike most cryptocurrencies, was designed to connect banks, payment providers, and digital asset exchanges, enabling real-time settlement expeditions and lower transaction rates. Its current market cap is around $35,674,575,621, and it trades at $0.749363 as of 18 January 2022. 

9. Terra (LUNA)

Terra is a public blockchain bringing DeFi to the common public. It is an industry-leading decentralised stable coin trading currently at $75.92 with a market cap of $27,102,192,623. 

10. Polkadot (DOT)

Polkadot is one of the most famous cryptocurrencies. It helps enable the cross-blockchain transfer of data, assets, and not just tokens. It trades at $24.88 and holds a market cap of $26,681,352,566 as of 18 January 2022. 

11. DOGE (Dogecoin)

This cryptocurrency that started as a joke no longer remains one (a joke). Tweets from Elon and Doge communities have pushed its price up, and now it is one of the most heavily traded cryptocurrencies out there. Currently, it trades at $0.166 and has a market cap of $22,318,832,066. It once hit a near high of a dollar. With Tesla recently accepting Doge as payment, one may be intrigued on what lies in the future for this meme coin. 

12. AVAX (Avalanche)

This crypto is an open, smart contracts platform designed for decentralised applications. It is touted as the fastest smart contracts platform in the blockchain world. Its currency trades at $86.06 with a market cap of $21,003,770,377. 

13. SHIB (Shiba Inu)

Like Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, too, started out as a joke. It is considered a counter coin to Dogecoin, supported heavily by online communities. It trades at $0.00002816 and boasts a market cap nearing $15,617,802,204 as of 18 January. 

14. MATIC (Polygon)

Polygon is arguably amongst the most reliable crypto. It is gaining immense popularity because it enables communication between some blockchain networks and is being touted as the gateway to cross-chain from blockchain. Today, its price is $2.16, and the market cap is valued at $14,820,092,050. When it was launched, the value of the Polygon network (MATIC) – was less than Rs 1. Investors might also want to know that Polygon is an India-founded cryptocurrency, which various state governments like Maharashtra are currently employing for Covid-19 related activities. 

15. BUSD (Binance USD)

Binance USD, another stable coin, is digitalised US dollars that are always purchased and redeemed at 1BSUD=1US dollar. Its market value currently is $14,234,150,793.

Conclusion

While we discussed 15 of the world’s most significant cryptocurrencies in terms of market cap, you should know that the behaviour of cryptocurrency is unpredictable in the same way that share prices are unpredictable. Also, limited historical information gives investors limited ability to understand how cryptocurrency will play out as an investment. It is one of the riskiest assets, so do your research, gauge your risk appetite and only then invest in cryptos. 

Aradhana Gotur

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