Despite the recent crypto slump, Bitcoin (BTC) still has a market capitalisation of US$570bn. But, the world’s oldest crypto isn’t the only cryptocurrency worth billions of dollars.
So, which cryptocurrencies are currently top, with a market cap of over US$10bn? And what attracts traders, investors and crypto proponents to these currencies over the rest?
Where to buy Crypto in NZ
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|Provider||Fiat Currencies||Bitcoin||Other Currencies||Est.|
|Easy Crypto||NZD, AUD||Yes||100+||2018|
|Independent Reserve||NZD, AUD, USA||Yes||24||2013|
This information is not an endorsement by Canstar of cryptocurrency or any specific provider. Canstar is providing factual information supplied by providers. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks. Canstar is not providing a recommendation for your individual circumstances or in relation to any particular product or provider.
What are the best cryptocurrencies?
As there are now over 4000 cryptocurrencies, it can be hard to decipher which ones will generate the biggest returns for investors. And, of course, there can be a lot of volatility in the crypto market. However, as of the time of writing, these are the biggest cryptos, with a market cap of over US$10bn.
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Tether (USDT)
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Binance Coin (BNB)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Binance USD (BUSD)
- Solana (SOL)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Weth (WETH)
Correct as of June, 2022
1. Bitcoin (BTC) – market cap of US$570,518,391,282
The world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks.
Bitcoin is open-source and is designed to be public, meaning no single person owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Stored and exchanged securely on a digital ledger known as a blockchain, Bitcoin has many unique properties, including its rarity. There will only ever be 21 million Bitcoin in existence.
It’s been an interesting year for Bitcoin. From around $30,000 last July, its price soared to over $68,000 last November, only to fall back down again to its current price of approx $30,000.
→ Related article: How to buy Bitcoin in New Zealand
2. Ethereum (ETH) – market cap of US$215,219,810,959
The second biggest cryptocurrency, Ethereum is a decentralised platform that runs smart contracts. These are essentially apps that run without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.
These smart contract applications run on a custom-built blockchain, which enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past, as well as issue new cryptocurrencies, known as Ethereum tokens.
Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum plans to clean up its carbon footprint and go green. In what it calls The Merge, Ethereum plans to slash its energy consumption dramatically. The plan involves an upgrade that aims to reduce Ethereum network’s energy use by over 99%.
Like Bitcoin, it’s seen its price rise and fall over the past year. It, too, is back to around the same price it was trading last July, currently approx US$1786.
3. Tether (USDT) – market cap of US$80,648,060,776
Tether is a secure and transparent stablecoin pegged to the value of the US dollar. It was designed to form a bridge between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, to offer stability and minimal transaction charges for users.
Controlled by one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges by volume in the world, Bitfinex, Tether faced some legal challenges in February 2021, when the New York Attorney General’s office said Bitfinex used funds from Tether to cover up to $1.2bn in alleged losses.
Since then, despite being banned in the state of New York, Tether has exploded in popularity. It has almost trebled its market cap and expanded into a range of new blockchains, including Avalanche.
→ Related article: Cryptocurrency: What is a Stablecoin?
4. USD Coin (USDC) – market cap of US$53,933,573,125
USD Coin is an ERC-20 token that is pegged to the US dollar. As the world’s second-largest stablecoin, each USD Coin is theoretically backed by one US dollar.
USD Coin is minted by Centre, which was founded by Circle and crypto exchange Coinbase to allow currency to easily move globally from crypto wallets to other exchanges, businesses and individuals.
Last August, as part of its commitment to trust and transparency, Centre announced that it would change the make-up of its reserves entirely to cash and short-duration US Treasuries.
5. Binance Coin (BNB) – market cap of US$47,213,567,005
Initially created in 2017 as an Ethereum-based token, Binance then migrated and became the native currency of Binance’s own blockchain, the Binance Chain. It has a finite supply of 200 million tokens.
Like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Binance Coin has peaked and slumped over the past 12 months, from around US$260 to over US$650 and back down to US$290.
6. Cardano (ADA) – market cap of US$19,673,733,806
Cardano is an open-source and patent-free blockchain platform built on a proof-of-stake consensus protocol known as Ouroboros, which validates transactions without the associated high energy costs.
The crypto asset was developed to address restrictive oversight while maintaining user safety and reliability. It brings together such disciplines as distributed systems, mechanism design and cryptography.
Since it introduced the ability to run smart contracts, Cardano’s competitiveness with rival Ethereum has increased, which has also driven its price growth.
Two years ago it cost just US$0.08, and last September it hit a high of US3.10. However, since then, it’s fallen back down to just over US$0.62.
7. XRP (XRP) – market cap of US$19,314,389,981
XRP is the native cryptocurrency used by the Ripple Payment Network. Originally built for enterprise use, XRP aims to be a fast and cost-efficient cryptocurrency for cross-border payments.
Unlike many cryptos that peaked towards the end of last year, XRP hit its 2022 high of $1.41 in mid April. Since then the cryptocurrency has dropped in price to US$0.40.
However, XRP hit its all-time high of over US$3 back in 2018, after it received recognition from some of the world’s biggest banks and financial institutions, including Bank of America, Santander and American Express.
8. Binance (USD) – market cap of US$17,990,812,351
Binance USD (BUSD) is a USD-denominated stablecoin that unlike Tether is approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services. It was launched in partnership with Paxos and Binance.
Although primarily designed for use on the Paxos platform, because BUSD follows standard ERC-20 protocol, it can be used wherever ERC-20 tokens are accepted.
So far this year its market cap has increased by around US$4bn, as investors have sought safe haven for their crypto investments.
9. Solana (SOL) – market cap of US$13,848,249,065
Solana is an open-source project that aims to be the world’s first web-scale, high-performance, permissionless blockchain. It uses a Proof of History, which gets rid of the need for blockchain members to have to solve and verify complicated mathematical puzzles (Proof of Work) by using a digital timestamp.
By removing performance bottlenecks, it allows transaction throughput to scale proportionally with network bandwidth. Solana can be earned by staking coins for validators who run the network, or by providing computing resources to validate transactions.
Solana’s price peaked last year, partly due to the increased interest in the NFT space, hitting US$260 in November. It’s now trading at just over US$40.
→ Related article: What is a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)
10. Dogecoin (DOGE) – market cap of US$10,726,197,974
Created as a lighthearted alternative to traditional cryptocurrencies, one of Dogecoin’s appeals is its abundant supply, as over 10,000 new coins can be mined every minute.
Talked up and down by Elon Musk, and despite being criticised by one of its own co-founders, Australian Jackson Palmer, Dogecoin remains widely popular.
Its price spiked mid last year at close to US$0.70. Although due to the recent crypto slump, its price now sits around $US0.22.
11. Weth (WETH) – market cap of US$10,252,302,676
Weth is a type of Ethereum (ETH) that allows ETH to be traded on its own platform, as ETH isn’t compliant with its own ERC-20 standard. It represents ETH 1:1 and converts, or wraps, your ETH into a Weth, allowing you to trade. Once the deal is done, you then convert your Weth back into ETH.
As merely a way of trading ETH, Weth’s popularity is directly linked to that of Ethereum, and is worth the same price. However, there are plans to update the ETH codebase to make it compliant with its own ERC-20 standards, which will remove the need for Weth.
About the author of this page
This report was produced by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce began his career writing about pop culture, and spent a decade in sports journalism. More recently, he’s applied his editing and writing skills to the world of finance and property. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.
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