Bitcoin has been around since 2009, paving the way for decentralized technology and thousands of cryptocurrencies. BTC is appealing to both the crypto community and the general public because it is the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and has a limited supply.
However, putting all your eggs in one basket is rarely a good idea. So, let’s look at what the cryptocurrency market has to offer now, over a decade after Bitcoin’s debut.
Different Types of Crypto
Cryptocurrencies were initially created to replace centralized, government-controlled fiat. But some developers have ventured even further, creating additional utility and setting their coins apart from Bitcoin. Here’s where they differ:
- Cryptocurrencies – digital money that transmits value across a decentralized network of users. They can act as either a means of payment or a store of value.
- Tokens – blockchain-based coins that can serve other or additional purposes: represent a stake in a project, act as securities, or even enable transactions.
Differentiating between the types of crypto allows long-term investors to make data-driven decisions based on more than the current hype and market volatility, considering the token’s potential utility in the future.
- Ethereum (ETH)
The second-largest crypto by market cap, Ether (ETH), is the driving force behind Ethereum, a technology for enabling smart contracts, building decentralized apps (dApps) and organizations, and holding assets without any interference from a third party. While both the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains allow you to use digital money, Ethereum is programmable, which means people can build and deploy their own dApps on the network.
2. Tether (USDT)
Tether (USDT) was one of the first cryptocurrencies whose value was directly linked to a reserve asset—the US dollar (USD). The coin allows users to benefit from blockchain technology while avoiding the dramatic volatility of the market. Tether is currently the third-largest crypto by market capitalization.
3. USD Coin (USDC)
USD Coin (USDC) is another stablecoin that pegs its price to the USD and is the fourth-largest crypto by market cap. Launched by Coinbase and Circle, which are based in the U.S., USDC is subject to government regulation.
Once an ERC-20 token operating on the Ethereum blockchain, today Binance Coin (BNB) has its own blockchain and holds the fifth place in the crypto ranking by market cap. In essence, BNB is a utility token first, as it is required for trading on the Binance Exchange. The company’s decentralized exchange operates on the same blockchain as Binance Coin.
5. Binance USD (BUSD)
The sixth largest crypto, yet another USD-pegged regulated stablecoin on the list, is Binance USD (BUSD). Launched in 2019 by Binance in partnership with Paxos, BUSD aims to combine the stability of the United States dollar with the possibilities of blockchain technology.
XPR is a native token of the XPR Ledger, an open-source, permissionless, and decentralized technology that claims to be a faster and more energy-efficient alternative to the Bitcoin blockchain. Since its launch in 2012, it has grown to offer a wider variety of use cases, including micropayments and DeFi.
7. Dogecoin (DOGE)
Since its dramatic price surge in 2021, what began as a “memecoin” in 2013, has been a resident in the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Its popularity today is closely tied to its “godfather” and biggest fan, Elon Musk.
Cardano (ADA) and its blockchain were created through in-depth research by engineers, cryptography experts, and mathematicians. Often dubbed as an “Ethereum-killer”, it has beaten the network to the Proof-of-Stake consensus model but is still in the early stages of development when it comes to dApps.
9. Solana (SOL)
Solana (SOL) is a native token of the Solana blockchain that, similarly to Ethereum, uses smart contracts and supports dApps. Lower transaction fees and higher transaction-per-second ability attract blockchain developers, with many new DeFI projects starting out on Solana instead of Ethereum.
10. Polkadot (DOT)
The Polkadot protocol, home to DOT, is designed to enable the connection between permissioned and permissionless blockchains and oracles. The technology allows developers to create their own blockchains within the Polkadot ecosystem, utilizing its security.
As of December 20, 2022, more than 22,000 different crypto coins are available on the market, as opposed to just one back in 2009. Bitcoin may yet surrender its place as the largest crypto, but numerous coins have ventured beyond its technology when it comes to utility. Explore the market and its top offerings to try and take advantage of the intricate volatility or make long-term investments with an outlook for the future of blockchain.