Did you know that the first Bitcoin transaction was made in 2010, when a Florida man bought two pizzas using the now infamous cryptocurrency?
At the time, two pizzas cost 10,000 Bitcoins. Today, that amount of Bitcoin is worth upwards of $80 million.
This now legendary transaction is a perfect illustration of how the value of Bitcoin has skyrocketed since its inception and answers the question, “Why is cryptocurrency popular?”
By now just about everyone’s heard of Bitcoin, but what are the other most popular cryptocurrencies? Let’s take a look.
What Is Cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is digital or virtual money that is manifested in the form of tokens or coins. Most cryptocurrencies are completely intangible, while a few have entered into the physical world through forms like credit cards.
Within the concept of cryptocurrencies is a shared commitment to decentralization. They are nearly always designed with the goal of being free from government control and manipulation. The currencies that have been created in the image of Bitcoin are known as “altcoins”.
Given the recent explosion of digital currency, what are the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies?
The 11 Most Popular Cryptocurrencies
Below I explain the eleven most popular types, including how they were created, their unique advantages, and current market cap.
1. Bitcoin (BTC)
No list of popular cryptocurrencies would be complete without the famous Bitcoin. Invented in 2008 by an anonymous person using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto and released in 2009, Bitcoin was the first decentralized cryptocurrency.
In 2017, the cryptocurrency market really blew up. In March of 2017, the market cap of all cryptos was about $21 billion while it’s now at about $237.1 billion.
Currently, the market cap of bitcoin is $197,938,034,234 USD.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
This cryptocurrency is a decentralized software platform that allows for Decentralized Applications and Smart Contracts to be created and run without fraud, downtime, control, or interference from a third party. This is currently the second-largest digital currency by market cap after Bitcoin. Even so, the market cap of Ethereum is only about one-fifth of the size of Bitcoin’s market cap.
Currently, the market cap of Ethereum is $39,654,299,061 USD.
3. Ripple (XRP)
Ripple is different from other cryptocurrencies in that its method of conformation doesn’t require mining. In fact, all of its tokens were pre-mined before the crypto launched, meaning that more can’t be created over time. Since Ripple is a cryptocurrency that isn’t created by mining, it minimizes network latency and the usage of computing power.
Currently, the market cap for Ripple is $11,255,320,876 USD.
4. Litecoin (LTC)
This cryptocurrency was one of the first to hop on the coattails of the rising star of Bitcoin. Launched in 2011 and created by a former Google engineer and MIT graduate named Charlie Lee, Litecoin is similar to Bitcoin but offers faster transaction confirmation time.
Currently, the market cap for Litecoin is $3,006,552,757 USD.
5. Tether (USDT)
If you’re wondering what are the most popular cryptocurrencies that fall in the stablecoins category, you’ll want to look into Tether. Stablecoins have the goal of pegging their market value to an external reference point in order to reduce their volatility.
Most cryptocurrencies have experienced frequent periods of extreme volatility. Tether and the group of other stablecoins try to attract users who are interested in investing in crypto but are afraid of too much volatility.
Currently, the market cap of Tether is $15,624,453,888 USD. More details about Tether’s price can be found here.
6. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
This is one of the most successful and earliest released hard forks of Bitcoin itself. A fork in the cryptocurrency world occurs when miners and developers disagree and can’t come to an agreement. Since digital currencies are decentralized, the idea is that wholesale changes to the code must be made based on general consensus.
When a consensus can’t be met, the currency is sometimes split with an original form and a copy containing the proposed changes. Bitcoin Cash is the result of a split such as this. With Bitcoin Cash, the block size is increased with the hope it will lead to faster transaction times.
Currently, the market cap of Bitcoin Cash is $4,089,421,980 USD.
7. Libra (LIBRA)
Libra has only recently launched but it’s still one of the most-hyped cryptocurrencies. Developed by social media giant Facebook, Inc., this cryptocurrency is being overseen by a financial services outfit named Calibra which is a new Facebook subsidiary.
8. Monero (XMR)
This private, untraceable, and secure currency was launched in April 2014. Developed completely through donations, the main focus of Monero is scalability and decentralization. Through its use of the technique known as “ring signatures,” Monero is completely private and secure.
Currently, the market cap for Monero is $1,893,876,329 USD.
9. EOS (EOS)
Another newer cryptocurrency, EOS was created by crypto pioneer Dan Larimer and launched in June 2018. The initial coin offering was one of the most profitable and the longest in history. Through crowdsourcing efforts that lasted a year, EOS raked in $4 billion in investor funds.
The goal of EOS is to have a network that is more decentralized and democratic than other cryptocurrencies.
Currently, the market cap for EOS is $2,350,127,884 USD.
10. Bitcoin SV (BSV)
Another hard fork, this time of Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV is the attempt to restore the original Bitcoin protocol of Satoshi Nakamoto. At the same time, they wanted to allow for an increase in stability and scalability for new developments.
Currently the market cap for Bitcoin SV is $3,012,956,835 USD.
11. Binance Coin (BNB)
This is the official token used as a part of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange platform. The largest exchange of its kind throughout the world in terms of the overall trading volume, it was founded in 2017.
Currently the market cap of Binance Coin is $4,103,672,266 USD.
The Most Popular Cryptocurrencies, Summarized
Unfortunately, none of us can go back in time to buy 10,000 Bitcoin in 2010. Luckily, though, the world of cryptocurrency continues to expand and change, so you can still invest in crypto and have substantial upside potential.
Of course, there’s constantly other interesting altcoins to learn about too, such as Shiba’s Wife, for example. This coin is helping to fund a global movement against the violation of women’s rights by donating 10% of every transaction fee to this important cause.
Wondering how to get started? Check out how to buy cryptocurrency here.