30 Most Popular Cryptocurrencies to Invest In
Cryptocurrencies weren’t created to make people rich. Blockchains and digital currencies were created to disrupt the existing global financial system and give everyone access to inexpensive, fast, secure methods of exchanging and storing funds and data. Each coin is linked to a given blockchain (a ledger or database) or to a system that works on that platform. These crypto coins are used to pay fees or conduct transactions on a blockchain; however, they are also traded on their own.
Cryptocurrencies are unregulated by global financial systems and are typically not backed by a real-world asset, such as gold, making them highly volatile. While risks are high, rewards can be as well. Bitcoin, the top traded digital coin, has increased almost 40,000 percent in value since 2010. However, Bitcoin’s value has also crashed several times, and people have lost fortunes. Some newer digital currencies, such as GetGems, stopped trading, and investors lost all their money.
As lucrative and volatile as they are, digital currencies look set to stay with us — barring major government interventions, which is part of the risk. So, we ranked the top traded cryptocurrencies by their market capitalization (a measure of a coin's market value multiplied by the number of coins produced), according to Coinbase.
30. Algorand (ALGO)
ALGO is the native coin of the Algorand system. Algorand’s team contains advisors from Stanford, MIT and other leading universities around the world, including economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Milgrom. The system is continually upgraded to improve decentralization, security, scalability and transaction speed, the four crucial elements for a successful blockchain.
As Algorand’s ability to process seamless and fast transitions increases, this network is seen as one of the leading contenders to become Ethereum’s competition.
*Note: All prices are current at the time of writing, and we think it’s important to state that all investments in cryptocurrencies are considered high risk given their unregulated nature.
29. Amp (AMP)
AMP is the token for the Flexa System, on the Ethereum blockchain. Flexa is a go-between for slower cryptocurrencies and traditional (fiat) money. A key complaint about older cryptos is that transaction times can be long and expensive. A business needs to be able to validate a transaction quickly, in real time.
Flexa uses AMP as collateral for supported tokens and gives fiat currency to the business until the exchange can be confirmed on a blockchain. AMP fills a crucial niche in the crypto ecosystem and is expected to rise in value.
28. The Graph (GRT)
GRT is a token on the Ethereum system that powers The Graph. The Graph is a protocol that indexes blockchain data in the same way that Google indexes the web. The data is processed by independent, decentralized computer operators who are called “indexers.”
Indexers receive a portion of fees charged as a reward; the best indexers will be able to attract higher fees. The GRT coin is seen as a good investment as the price is currently low and expected to move higher.
27. Neo (NEO)
NEO is the native coin of the Neo system. Neo was established by two Chinese developers, Da Hongfei and Erik Zhan, and is often described as a Chinese version of Ethereum.
Neo is distinctly different from other blockchains in that it is “regulator friendly.” Each entity on the Neo system, whether an individual or a multinational company, must have a verifiable digital identity to engage in transactions. China’s government is critical of both the volatility and massive energy consumption of cryptocurrencies, but Neo’s unique structure may help it thrive in China.
26. Eos (EOS)
EOS is the native coin of the EOSIO system. EOSIO was designed for a variety of decentralized apps (dapps), everything from social media to healthcare. These apps are similar to internet-based apps, only they are blockchain-based. Dapp developers need to hold EOS coins to use the EOSIO system, and coin holders who aren’t using theirs can rent or give their blockchain bandwidth to others.
The number of dapps being developed is constantly increasing. As the EOSIO network can support thousands of dapps without bottlenecks, it’s becoming increasingly popular.
25. Aave (AAVE)
AAVE is the native token of the Aave system. Aave is a lending system on the Ethereum platform. People can lend, borrow and earn money on crypto assets through this decentralized lending system. Currently, individuals can lend or borrow up to 17 different currencies.
Borrowers must put up cryptocurrency as collateral but then can borrow a different one in the same amount, and depositors can earn passive income as their deposits are used for loans. Aave is the most active lending system on Ethereum, which has increased the value of its native coin, AAVE.
24. Terra (LUNA)
LUNA is the native coin of the Terra system and the brainchild of Terraform Labs. The developers behind Terra wanted to set up an intermediary system between conventional (fiat) money and cryptocurrencies to ensure that linked global payment systems would be price-stable. LUNA is a stablecoin that is tied to a world currency or real-world assets, such as an audited fund.
Stablecoins are becoming more popular as an alternative to cryptocurrencies that fluctuate wildly. Terra is growing in popularity with e-commerce companies, and LUNA is seen as a good investment.
23. Tron (TRX)
TRX is the native coin of the Tron system, which was set up by the nonprofit Tron Foundation. The goal of the Tron system is to create a free digital content system with decentralized storage so that digital content can be shared easily and at low cost.
Ideally, this would lead to consumers paying content producers directly, instead of having to subscribe to third-party companies, such as Netflix. Tron’s platform will offer financial rewards to both content creators and hosts, such as a tipping method, in the form of TRX coins.
22. Filecoin (FIL)
FIL is the native coin of the Filecoin system, created by Protocol Labs. Filecoin is a cloud-based data storage system that offers services similar to Dropbox or Apple, but at a fraction of the price. Filecoin’s system will be operated by individual users instead of a central company and disrupts existing data storage models.
This system offers better data security and avoids hacks of centralized storage facilities. More than 70 organizations are collaborating with Filecoin. FIL tokens are used as payment on the network. Despite its volatile price, FIL is one of the top 10 most popular crypto coins.
21. Dai (DAI)
DAI is a stablecoin used on the Ethereum platform. DAI is designed to keep its value and buying power stable, and its value is tied to the U.S. dollar.
So as the price won’t soar or crash, people will be more encouraged to spend DAI rather than hoard them against future increases. DAI is backed by assets held on the MAKER platform. Investors who hold DAI can exchange them for ETH coins on the MAKER platform.
20. VeChain (VET)
VET is the native token of the VeChain system. VeChain is disrupting traditional supply chain management, using decentralization and Internet of Things (IoT) technology. VeChain is designed to make supply chains more efficient, traceable and secure, while simultaneously reducing costs.
The system actually uses two native tokens, VET and VeThor (VTHO), to keep fees stable. VET is used for transactions and activities on the blockchain, while VTHO is used for fees. VET is seen as a good investment, as the price is still very low.
19. Internet Computer (ICP)
ICP is the token of the Dfinity Foundation, which is setting up an internet computer. This will be a public network that runs at web speed, can scale up and drastically reduces computing costs. The developers envision everything from DeFi (decentralized finance) services to social media to D-apps (decentralized apps) being used on the platform.
Co-founder Dominic Williams calls the project the “third major innovation in blockchain” after Bitcoin and Ethereum. ICP’s price has been highly volatile since it launched.
18. Theta (THETA)
THETA is the native token of the Theta network. Theta was developed as a decentralized video delivery network. The idea was to provide a blockchain that could solve streaming and cost issues associated with video delivery, whether it be movie streaming, chats or conference calls.
The technology works by allowing decentralized apps to “sit on” and use the Theta system for their service delivery. As Theta fills a unique niche and is also tied to the popular Ethereum blockchain, the THETA coin may become more important and more valuable over time.
17. Ethereum Classic (ETC)
ETC is the native coin of the Ethereum Classic platform. Ethereum Classic is a split (hard fork) from the Ethereum network that came about after a hacker exploited a weakness in the Ethereum code to steal $50 million worth of ETH. Developers were able to secure the network and recover the funds but only by splitting off a new network.
While both networks offer the same type of functions, Ethereum has emerged as the more trustworthy, while Ethereum Classic is plagued by security and scalability issues.
16. Stellar Lumens (XLM)
XLM is the native coin of the Stellar Development Foundation network, a nonprofit. The Stellar network is designed as a decentralized ledger system that connects banks, financial networks and people to allow universal access to the global financial system, especially for people in developing economies.
This will allow people to convert conventional money (fiat) to cryptocurrency and back with ease and speed. Stellar is one of the best-performing alt (alternate) coins of recent years. The Stellar Foundation partnered with IBM and has signed a deal with TransferTo for cross-border payments.
15. Polygon (MATIC)
MATIC is the native coin of the Polygon platform. (This was previously known as Matic Network, which is why the names don’t match.) The Polygon network is designed to help scale up the Ethereum blockchain by using “sidechain” technology (a Layer 2 scaling solution), similar to Polkadot, making transactions on the Ethereum blockchain faster and cheaper.
Ethereum’s popularity has lifted the value of other systems that work with its platform. MATIC coins are used to pay transactional fees on the Polygon network and are likely to increase in popularity and use.
14. Solana (SOL)
SOL is the native coin of the Solana blockchain. The Solana network offers a much faster transactional network than Bitcoin or Ethereum and can process sales in seconds, while maintaining strict security protocols. Solana’s network is able to process 50,000 transactions per second.
Because Solana’s transactions use far less energy than older blockchains, the network charges one of the lowest transaction fees available, less than $0.01. For these reasons, Solana is becoming more popular with merchants and the value of its coin, SOL, is likely to keep increasing.
13. Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin (LTC) was among the earliest cryptocurrencies to be launched in the first wave after Bitcoin started. It was created by Charlie Lee, a former Google engineer. Lee called Litecoin a light version of Bitcoin, hence the name.
Litecoin was designed to have faster transaction times than Bitcoin and a growing number of retailers accept it. The number of LTC coins will be capped at 84 million; however, as more currencies have flooded the crypto market, with faster transaction times and more scalability, Litecoin’s popularity has waned.
12. Chainlink (LINK)
Chainlink was designed as a link (hence the coin name) between a blockchain and outside data sources. The LINK token is used to pay for smart contracts on the Chainlink platform but can also be bought and traded.
Chainlink relies on trusted outside data sources (called “oracles”) to transmit data to a smart contract on its platform. One example is an agricultural contract that pays out insurance if a farmer loses their crop, based on weather data. There is a 1 billion LINK coin limit.
11. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
As cryptocurrencies are by their nature decentralized, any major changes to a blockchain’s code must be agreed by consensus among the developers and miners. When they can’t agree, one group splits off, causing a “hard fork” in which developers establish a new platform with updated or rewritten code, and a new coin.
This is how Bitcoin Cash (BCH) came to be, as a split from Bitcoin. The BCH coin and its blockchain are designed to be more scalable and sustainable than the original Bitcoin, with faster transaction times.
10. Uniswap (UNI)
Uniswap was designed to facilitate trades between different cryptocurrencies on the Ethereum platform. This allows people who may want to buy coins that aren’t available on standard crypto exchange platforms, such as Coinbase, to purchase and trade them. While UNI can be bought, sold and traded, its function is more to be a medium of exchange between other currencies.
Many experts think Uniswap has plenty of growth potential based on its widespread usage. The supply is capped at 1 billion coins, which will also increase the value of UNI over time.
9. Polkadot (DOT)
DOT is the native coin of the Polkadot system. This was set up by another Ethereum co-founder, Gavin Wood, who wanted an interoperable blockchain that could help secure other platforms. Polkadot’s system differs in that developers can create their own blockchain protocol in parallel to DOT’s (a parallel blockchain or “parachain”).
This gives a new startup the security of the larger platform (called “shared security”) instead of having to create one on its own, while still retaining independence and the ability to conduct transactions in its own native coins.
8. USDollar Coin (USDC)
USDC is a stable coin tied to the U.S. dollar. Anyone who holds this currency can always redeem it for $1, keeping the price stable, regardless of how the crypto market fluctuates. Centre, the coin producer, is a consortium that holds fiat assets equal to the market cap of the coin.
As previously mentioned, stablecoins are becoming more popular. People can send or receive this currency for a small transactional fee. This keeps the value of a transaction stable and predictable and allows extremely fast payments at low cost.
7. Dogecoin (DOGE)
Dogecoin, or DOGE, was launched as a joke, based on a popular internet meme with a Shiba Inu dog. While coins like Bitcoin will become scarce and expensive, Dogecoin was meant to be abundant. Ten-thousand new coins are produced (or mined) every minute, and there is no planned end date.
Dogecoin has a growing base of fans who are calling for DOGE to become widely accepted for everyday transactions. The coin exploded in popularity when billionaire Elon Musk got behind it, tweeting his support.
6. Ripple (XRP)
The XRP coin was intended to make cross-border (digital) payments fast, secure and inexpensive on the Ripple system and similar to a SWIFT bank transfer. However, since XRP’s launch, the company has been plagued with lawsuits, first from investors and now from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims that XRP should be regulated as an investment asset.
Many crypto exchanges have dropped XRP despite the fact that its price is rising. Despite price gains, Ripple (XRP) may not be around for long.
5. Cardano (ADA)
Cardano (ADA) is the brainchild of Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of Ethereum. Hoskinson designed Cardano to be a more efficient system that tackled issues that limited networks such as Ethereum, namely high energy usage, expensive transactions and slowing transaction times.
Cardano uses a more secure transactional system, called Proof of Stake (POS), which validates transactions using lower energy costs and better security. The system’s native coin is named after Ada Lovelace, the 19th-century mathematician. Cardano is growing in popularity and is sometimes called “The Ethereum Killer,” as people speculate it may overtake the Ethereum blockchain.
4. Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance Coin (BNB) is the native currency used for transactions on the Binance platform. It’s the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, with a trading volume roughly three times that of its nearest competitor. One BNB cost 15 cents when it first launched.
One unusual feature of Binance Coins is that Binance uses its profits to buy BNB back and destroy (burn) them. Eventually, only 50 percent of the total supply will remain, which will make BNB more rare and valuable.
3. Tether (USDT)
Tether (USDT) is a stablecoin that's tied to the U.S. dollar and traded on the Ethereum platform. USDT’s parent company claims that the dollar-denominated coins are backed by bank reserves in fiat currency and loans, which means Tether won’t fluctuate like other digital coins.
Investors buy Tether so they can exchange and store consistent value. In 2017, Tether’s parent company was hacked, and $31 million in coins were stolen. Tether executives are currently being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department on the grounds that the company may not hold sufficient assets.
2. Ethereum (ETH)
ETH (Ether) is the correct name for the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum platform. ETH is the world’s second-most traded cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin. Now that the coin is consistently worth around $2,200 and up, it’s hard to believe that it first traded for $2.77 at launch.
The Ethereum platform and currency is the brainchild of a teenage Russian tech genius, Vitalik Buterin. Ethereum’s popularity is due to its perceived stability versus Bitcoin’s wild fluctuations and the potential of the Ethereum platform for financial, data and contractual transactions.
1. Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin was the first digital coin created. Many people were quick to realize the value of a decentralized digital currency that provided anonymity. Bitcoin was initially favored by tech people and criminals, including the infamous Silk Road owners. However, as the price rose, Bitcoin became more widely accepted and was seen as a way to disrupt the global financial system.
Despite its volatility, Bitcoin has now outperformed every financial market and is called “digital gold.” Only 21 million Bitcoins will be produced.