Cryptocurrencies are gaining higher popularity with the accelerating investment interest. The term crypto refers to the complex cryptography that enables the development and processing of digital currencies as well as their transactions through decentralized systems, known as Blockchains.
Blockchain is simply defined as a decentralized database, managed by multiple participants known as Distributed Ledger Technology or DLT. A Distributed Ledger records the origin of a digital asset and transactions, like the exchange of assets or data, among the participants in the network.
A cryptocurrency is a digital asset that uses cryptography, an encryption technique for security. Cryptocurrencies are primarily virtual currencies designed to buy and sell goods or services. They lack the intrinsic value as they are not redeemable for another commodity, like gold for example.
Unlike traditional currencies, they are not issued by a central authority, which raises doubts about their legality and credibility among some investors. On the other hand, this defining feature of cryptocurrencies makes them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.
Cryptocurrencies are typically ranked by their market capitalization. The value of a cryptocurrency is considered a direct reflection of investment appetite in the currency. However, there are more complex stories about each cryptocurrency behind the value. Each cryptocurrency has its own technological properties and unique appeal to investors.
Top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have a record of increasing interest and value over time, while the less popular currencies are seen as speculative and unpredictable.
Top 10 Most Traded Cryptocurrencies In 2021
1. Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin is the first blockchain-based cryptocurrency, created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakomoto. Since then, bitcoin has been attracting millions of investors and became the largest cryptocurrency by market cap. The virtual currency operates on a peer-to-peer network, blockchain, allowing users to make digital financial transactions without the need for a financial institution.
Bitcoin’s market cap exceeds $832 billion with an average daily trading volume of $39 billion. Bitcoin has recorded its all-time high at $64,863 on April 14, 2021. The cryptocurrency is now trading around 44,000 levels.
As the original cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is also the most popular and highly valued, despite the high volatility that shaped its history. Bitcoin was initially created to be used as a digital payment system, but it was seen as too volatile to be used for that.
Read more on What You Need to Know Before Trading Bitcoin.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, behind Bitcoin. The value of Ethereum has risen sharply since its creation in 2013, to nearly $3,000 today.
As both a cryptocurrency and a blockchain platform, Ethereum is an open-source blockchain that boosts its appeal among developers due to its potential applications. It was built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, which operates smart contracts.
Ethereum has also experienced extensive growth. In just five years, the currency’s price jumped to over $3,000 from about $11, increasing roughly by more than 27,000%. The market cap of Ethereum is $375 billion.
The currency was created by Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer. Unlike Bitcoin, which is primarily considered as a store of value, the value of Ethereum derives from its enablement of smart contracts in decentralized applications.
3. Cardano (ADA)
Cardano was founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson, a computer scientist and co-founder of Ethereum. Also known as ADA, Cardano has been relatively growing compared to other major crypto coins. The currency’s price was $0.02 in 2017. As of September 2021, Cardano’s price is being traded at $2.40, marking an increase of over 10,000%.
Cardano became the third top traded cryptocurrency with a market cap roughly at $77 billion.
Similar to Ethereum, Cardano enables smart contracts and decentralized applications. It is secured by a proof-of-stake protocol named Ouroboros. It distributes network control across stake pools: node operators with the infrastructure required to ensure a consistent and reliable connection to the network.
4. Tether (USDT)
Tether was launched in 2014, is one of the first cryptocurrencies to be pegged to the US dollar. Previously known as Realcoin, Tether is the fourth-largest cryptocurrency in September 2021, with a total market cap of over $68 billion and a value of $1.00.
Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Tether is a stablecoin, meaning that it’s backed by fiat currencies like U.S. dollars. Tether is a stablecoin, which is a form of cryptocurrency that aims to keep prices stable, compared to the usual fluctuations seen in the prices of other common cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Tether’s value is more consistent than other cryptocurrencies, that’s why it is favored by investors who are wary of the extreme volatility of other cryptocurrencies.
5. Binance Coin (BNB)
The Binance Coin is a form of cryptocurrency that you can use to trade and pay fees on Binance, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world.
By September 2021, the currency was trading at $394 with a total market cap of $66 billion. Binance Coin has reached an all-time high at $504 in August 2021.
Binance coin was created by Changpeng Zhao, CEO, and Founder of Binance, a leading global cryptocurrency exchange. The currency was created to facilitate transactions on the Binance network. Since its launch in 2017, Binance Coin has expanded past facilitating payments, it can also be traded or exchanged for another cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum or Bitcoin.
6. Ripple (XRP)
Ripple is the native currency of the Ripple blockchain. A digital technology and payment processing company that was designed to serve as a currency of exchange. The supply of Ripple coins is limited to only 100 billion tokens. The RippleNet network is used by financial institutions like leading global banks and payment providers.
As of September 2021, the price reached $1 with a total market cap of $48 billion making it the sixth top traded cryptocurrency.
7. Solana (SOL)
Solana was created in 2020 using a unique hybrid proof-of-stake and proof-of-history mechanisms which help in processing transactions more quickly and securely. The Solana was launched at $0.77. By September 2021, its price reached $155 with a total market cap of more than $45 billion.
8. Polkadot (DOT)
Polkadot aims to integrate different blockchains to exchange information and transactions, by creating a cryptocurrency network that connects the various blockchains so they can work together. This integration may help change how cryptocurrencies are being managed. Since its launch in 2020, the price of Polkadot grew from nearly $4 to over $36 in September 2021, and the market cap is approaching $36 billion.
9. Dogecoin (DOGE)
Dogecoin was founded as a joke by software programmers who wanted to make fun of the rampant cryptocurrency speculation. However, it rapidly became a prominent cryptocurrency thanks to the attention brought by billionaires like Elon Musk.
On May 9, 2021, SpaceX announced a Dogecoin-funded journey to the Moon, making it the first cryptocurrency-funded space trip.
Unlike many cryptocurrencies, the number of Dogecoins that can be created is unlimited, which leaves the currency vulnerable to devaluation as supply increases. The market cap of the DOGE currency hovers around $30.6 billion.
10. USD Coin (USDC)
Just like Tether, the USD Coin is a stablecoin, backed by U.S. dollars which makes the currency more stable relative to other cryptocurrencies. The currency is tied at parity to the US dollar, meaning that 1 USDC should be equal to $1. The USD coin is powered by Ethereum, describing itself as the digital dollar, and can be used in global transactions. The market cap of the USDC is $29.3 billion as of September 2021.
The Bottom Line
The forex and crypto markets share some characteristics but they couldn’t have a more different risk-reward dynamic. If you are looking for a smooth, fairly predictable market with higher liquidity that rewards patience, then forex should be your choice. But if you enjoy a higher risk appetite and are looking forward to seizing longer trends and higher volatile prices, then trading cryptocurrencies will suit you better.
Read more on Forex vs Crypto Trading: What Is Your Best Choice?
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