Top cryptocurrency 2021 by value: Bitcoin, Ether, Dogecoin, BinanceCoin and more

It’s pretty easy to find out what the top cryptocurrency is at any given time: essentially, it’s Bitcoin.

That’s because while we all know about Bitcoin and how rich we’d be today if we’d invested in it 10 years ago, there are hundreds, if not thousands, or other cryptocurrencies.

Whether you’re thinking of investing or are just intrigued by this new financial world, it’s well worth finding out what the top cryptocurrency performers are.

So, which is the top cryptocurrency right now? One approach is to look at market capitalization — essentially the total dollar value of a company’s shares of stock.

You can also look at the price of an individual cryptocurrency share, or coin, which is useful for knowing how well a crypto is performing, but it doesn’t always tell the full story.

That said, many of the other crypto projects listed below are super interesting and certainly worth looking further into.

In fact, cryptocurrency is in some ways more of a risk than other investments, due to the huge rises and falls in the value of even the top cryptocurrencies.

The Bitcoin story: Bitcoin has been around since 2008 and is the blue chip cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin was created by an unknown person or group who goes by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Think of Bitcoin instead like the gold of the future: not really useful for daily transactions, but you want to have some for its stored value.

In late 2020 it began skyrocketing again, this time from around $10,000 to a high of more than $60,000, before dropping steeply this week.

How to buy Bitcoin: Bitcoin can be purchased on crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken; at Bitcoin ATMs; on PayPal; and on Robinhood.

In Ethereum’s case, its currency is called Ether, and it can be used in applications run on the Ethereum platform.

Ethereum is the leader in what’s known as these “smart contract” platforms. While Bitcoin was created for one use case — as a currency — Ethereum was founded by Vitalik Buterin in 2015 with bigger and broader ambitions.

Ethereum performance history: In the past year, Ethereum’s price has shot up from around $200 to well over $3,000.

BinanceCoin can be used to pay transaction fees on the Binance exchange, to trade for other cryptocurrencies, and to pay for some goods and services.

BinanceCoin performance history: Since launching in 2017, BinanceCoin has made a long, slow climb to about $60 a coin, before shooting upwards in February 2021.

The Cardano story: Cardano, founded in 2017, is another Ethereum-like contender for the top cryptocurrency crown: a blockchain platform that supports applications, systems, and real-life business use cases.

What makes Cardano unique is that it is the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach.

Cardano performance history: Cardano was cruising along at about $0.10 from its founding in 2017 until early 2021, when it jumped to well over a dollar and was recently trading at over $2.

Dogecoin has no real use , but it’s developed a growing fanbase that’s boosted the price of a Dogecoin from less than a penny a few months ago to about $0.50 today, making it one of the top cryptocurrency performers by market cap if nothing else.

Dogecoin performance history: In early 2021, Dogecoin crossed the $0.05 threshold for the first time, then went to the moon in April, recently trading at an all-time high of $0.70.

USD Coin is another stable coin, and many crypto folks think it’s a safer bet than Tether, citing a greater transparency.

The XRP/Ripple story: XRP’s claim to fame is that it’s the fastest digital asset, enabling near real-time global payments anywhere in the world.

XRP was launched in 2012 by a trio of developers, who then created a private company called OpenCoin, now called Ripple Labs, and gifted it 80 billion XRP.

Buyer beware: in late 2020, the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against Ripple and its two cofounders, claiming they raised over $1.3 billion through an unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering .

The Polkadot story: Lots of the top cryptocurrency projects have lofty goals, but Polkadot’s is one of the loftiest: to “enable a completely decentralized web where users are in control.” Launched in 2020, Polkadot is the flagship project of the Swiss Web3 foundation.

The Internet Computer story: Internet Computer only officially launched on May 10, 2021, but it immediately jumped into the Top 10 list of the biggest cryptocurrencies by market cap.

Bold claims, indeed, but ICP — which was created by tech startup Dfinity — is an ambitious project that seeks nothing less than the reinvention of the internet.

That said, it does owe its existence to the market leader, in that it was created by a group of developers intent on bringing down the cost of Bitcoin transactions.

After reaching a high of nearly $4,000 back in 2018, it then dropped considerably and settled to around $300-400 for the next couple of years.

The Uniswap story: Most cryptocurrency trading takes place on centralized exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken.

The Uniswap app can swap all different types of tokens but does not connect to the traditional financial network, meaning you can’t convert to USD or Euro or other fiat currencies.

Another difference: Litecoin has a supply cap of 84 million coins, exactly four times Bitcoin’s — this is what makes many investors think of Litecoin as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold.

Litecoin performance history: Litecoin spiked briefly over $300 in late 2017 before dipping as low as $25 in 2019.

Essentially — and this is necessarily a very stripped-back explanation — it’s a network that enables blockchains to interact with each other and with non-blockchain technologies.

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