Top 5 cryptocurrencies that you should know about!

top 5 cryptocurrencies

If you had a dollar for every time someone commented, “I wish I had bought cryptocurrency a decade ago…”, you would be pretty wealthy right now, without even investing in any digital assets. Cryptocurrency FOMO is real. It is everywhere! We would call it a pandemic, but we have learnt the hard way not to use that term lightly anymore. Do you know what else should not have been taken lightly? Cryptocurrencies. Investing in a coin like Bitcoin many years ago could have meant a windfall in the millions today. While writing this article, the total market value of all cryptocurrencies is $1.97 trillion. Sounds unreal, but it isn’t!

Whether you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrencies or are just curious about the best cryptocurrencies out there, we have you covered.

Bitcoin (Price: $44,669.30)

The answer to “Which cryptocurrency is the best?” always leads to Bitcoin, the true-blue pioneer of the crypto world. It has a market cap of nearly $850.8 billion. Its primary source of value lies in its restricted supply (there are only 21 million bitcoins in the world) and increasing demand. Econ 101!

What makes it particularly ‘cryptic’ is its mysterious origin story. Created in 2008 by an individual or a group of individuals under the pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, Bitcoin sashayed into our lives like a real enigma. Though there have been numerous speculations about who this person(s) is/are, nobody knows for sure.  

The finite number of Bitcoins sets it apart from traditional money since it cannot simply be “printed”. Once the limit is reached, no new Bitcoins will be available. This scarcity thus controls inflation that could arise due to an unlimited supply. It is no wonder that Bitcoin mining has become no less than a gold rush. 

But, let buyers beware! As valuable as it is, Bitcoin comes with its own share of baggage. Demonstrating the see-saw nature of the crypto market, Bitcoin was termed ‘The best investment of 2013’ and ‘The worst investment of 2014’ in successive years by Forbes and Bloomberg, indicating inconsistency and shiftiness. 

Ethereum (Price: $3,251.51)

Did you know that the name Ethereum was inspired by anime? The Japanese anime “Laputa: Castle In The Sky” served as an inspiration for Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s inventor. In the anime series, ‘Etherium’ is a source of ultimate power. Ethereum, second only to Bitcoin, is a glowing example of what crowdfunding can accomplish in today’s world. What makes Ethereum unique is its massive ecosystem of 1,296 full-time developers working on the platform. If this number does not quite impress you yet, knowing that this is six times more than Bitcoin’s definitely ought to.

Ethereum’s real-world utility lies in its smart contract feature. This feature helps create innovative applications in finance, identity management, web browsing, gaming, the music industry, and even supply chain management. The possibilities are endless!

As many as 32 of the top 50 billion-dollar companies integrate blockchain technology into their operations using Ethereum. Not only that, this cryptocurrency, which powers more than 2,900 decentralised applications, is emerging as the preferred enterprise in the blockchain network. It is therefore hardly surprising that everyone wants to cash in on Ethereum, be it global banks or video game publishers.

Ethereum’s blockchain is also the primary building block for crypto projects that are gaining traction, such as NFTs and DeFi. In case you didn’t know, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique digital assets, while decentralised finance (DeFi) is an umbrella term for financial services that allow peer-to-peer lending, borrowing, and trading of cryptocurrencies. 

“No other blockchain network has been as ‘beta tested’ as Ethereum.”- Nicolas Pouard, Co-founder, The Sandbox. 

A table that lists the details of the top 5 cryptocurrencies.

Tether (Price: $1) 

Invented in 2014 by Craig Sellars, Brock Pierce, and Reeve Collins, Tether was initially known as RealCoin. What ‘tethers’ it to the pre-crypto world is that, unlike other cryptocurrencies, Tether has the backing of fiat currencies such as the US dollar and Euro. The value of this stablecoin cryptocurrency is more predictable and much less volatile than other cryptocurrencies, making it an investor-favourite. 

Tether (often called USDT) allows for a wide array of essential functions. The coolest part is that it also allows users to use fiat-backed tokens on blockchains through ATMs. Apart from being the third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation ($80.1 billion), it is also a safety net of sorts. Serving as a good substitute for the dollar, Tether is also a major source of liquidity, making it a true heaven-send in the eyes of many.

Solana (Price: $121.34)

Solana was founded in 2017 by Anatoly Yakovenko, Greg Fitzgerald, Stephen Akridge, and Raj Gokal. Yakovenko’s paper on the ‘Proof of History’ technique that enables blockchains to become 10,000 times faster was the inspiration behind Solana. No wonder Solana is the fastest crypto and one of the most highly-used blockchains today! It can handle 65,000 transactions per second, in contrast to Bitcoin and Ethereum, which carry out 7 and 13 transactions per second, respectively.  

You may want to keep a lookout for this crypto! A true dark horse, Solana is poised to grab a considerable share of the decentralised apps market and is expected to release a total of 489 million tokens in the market. 

“The next phase is onboarding a billion users,” says Yakovenko, CEO and co-founder of Solana Labs. 

Dogecoin (Price: $0.13)

Considered the first ‘meme coin’, it is inspired by the ‘doge’ meme that features a Shiba Inu dog with meaningless, absurdist phrases. Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus started Dogecoin as a joke in 2013. And, what a sense of humour indeed, it is currently one of the largest digital coins in the world. What sets it apart is that, unlike other cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin does not follow rules of limited supply! But if you recall Econ 101 (read: inflation!), you know that minting unlimited amounts of Dogecoin is no joke. 

Perhaps the perfect fit in the era of influencers and cancel culture, celebrity hype drives Dogecoin’s surges and dips. For example, Elon Musk tweeted, “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto,” in February 2021. This tweet saw a 20% increase in Dogecoin’s value. He even tweeted that he would eat a Happy Meal if McDonald’s began accepting Dogecoin for payment. Mark Cuban, a billionaire businessman and one of the sharks from Shark Tank US, soon jumped on the bandwagon with the tweet, “Doge is the one coin that people actually use for transactions.” Perhaps it is the perfect cryptocurrency for those who want to try it just for kicks or enjoy the rollercoaster ride that is crypto investing. But, thanks to its volatility, we think that loving Dogecoin sure requires a healthy sense of humour!

What lies ahead

The cryptocurrency market is a virtual war zone. Each platform tries to one-up the other in speed, scalability, and mainstream adoption. Even so, we think despite everything, the OG cryptocurrency Bitcoin asserts its dominance in usage and economic value. 

A word to the wise–if crypto investments interest you, only invest money you can afford to lose. Try to have a long-term investment mindset to see significant gains. One can only speculate which cryptocurrency will grow the most, so make sure to diversify your crypto portfolio. 

If you are already a cryptocurrency investor, all we have to tell you is, “Just HODL it.” 

Disclaimer: All the prices of various cryptocurrencies and their market capitalisations mentioned above are in US dollars. The prices are based on their values at the time of writing this article. 

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